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The Role of Metallography in the Characterization of Aluminum Extrusion Defects

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The Role of Metallography in the Characterization of Aluminum Extrusion Defects and Failures

William L. Phillipson, Alcan Ingot

Track: EXTRUSION PROCESS - Metallurgy/Measurement

ABSTRACT --- Defects in aluminum extruded products can have a harmful effect on
quality and productivity. They can give rise to customer complaints resulting in loss of
good will. For us to be able to deal with customers’ complaints successfully and
efficiently, it is necessary for us to understand the causes of such defects, and to be able
to eliminate harmful conditions that produce them. Metallographic and optical techniques
are extremely important tools in our search for the causes of extrusion defects, and can
lead to successful characterization of defective extruded products. The focus of these
investigative techniques, applicable to extrusion defect characterization is three-fold:
firstly to confirm the existence of the defect; second to determine its cause; and third, to
identify methods of its avoidance in the future. This paper draws on valuable hands-on
technical experience in advanced metallographic and optical techniques gained in the
Alcan Primary Metal Group. This allows microstructural characterization of extrusion
defects and identification of the causes of failures at various stages of production, from
the homogenized billet to the finished extruded product. Several case studies are used
to illustrate these techniques.

© Extrusion Technology for Aluminum Profiles Foundation (ET Foundation). All rights reserved. No part of The Proceedings may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the ET Foundation.