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Metallographic Assessment of Extrudability and Comparative Testing of 6xxx

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Predictive Metallographic Assessment of Extrudability and Comparative Testing of 6xxx Aluminum Alloy Billets

R. M. Kelly , P. F. Chaveriat, Werner Company, Greenville, PA 16125, USA
K. P. Wardlow, S. R. Claves, W. Z. Misiolek, Institute for Metal Forming, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA 18015, USA


ABSTRACT --- Billet quality is extremely important to extrusion performance with respect
to speed, surface finish, and mechanical properties. With the high cost of electron
microscopy time, it is essential to find alternative, less expensive means to characterize
materials’ microstructures. In this study, basic metallographic inspection, including light
optical microscopy (LOM), was used to assess billet quality. Several 6xxx aluminum alloy
billets with similar chemistries, from different sources, were extruded using a structured
test protocol that was developed for extrudability evaluations. Representative billet slices
were prepared for basic metallographic inspection and microstructural variations were
recorded in order to predict the relative extrusion performance, thus establishing billet
rankings. The metallographic and extrudability tests were executed independently to
ensure unbiased results. This blind experiment was evaluated after all tests were
completed. Metallographic predictions were compared with the actual extrudability data,
in terms of relative speed. A strong correlation existed for all billets, thereby confirming
the validity of the metallographic tests and evaluation criteria.

© 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.