The effect of microstructure on cavitation during hot deformation in fine-grained AA5083 aluminum alloy sheet material
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Aluminum alloys are of great interest to the automobile industry for vehicle mass reduction, which improves vehicle performance and reduces emissions. Hot forming processes, such as superplastic forming (SPF) and quick-plastic forming (QPF) have been developed to take advantage of the improved formability of certain aluminum materials at elevated temperature. Commercial fine-grained aluminum alloy AA5083 sheet is the most commonly used material in the SPF and QPF forming processes. Hot formability of AA5083 is often limited by material cavitation during forming, which makes understanding and controlling cavitation an issue of primary importance for improving hot sheet forming processes. The thermomechanical processing history of AA5083 can strongly affect superplastic performance, causing variations in formability between material lots. These variations are closely related to microstructure, and intermetallic particles are prime suspects for controlling cavitation behavior. However, there has been little more than anecdotal evidence available that these particles nucleate or influence cavitation. Interactions between intermetallic particles and cavities were, thus, analyzed using both two-dimensional (2-D) and three-dimensional (3-D) microstructure characterization techniques. Analysis of 3-D microstructures from AA5083 specimens deformed under conditions similar to the SPF and QPF processes provide conclusive proof that cavities form at specific types of intermetallic particles. Differences in cavitation between materials deformed under the SPF and QPF processes result from differences in deformation mechanisms. These differences are illustrated by the formation of filaments on fracture surfaces of superplastically deformed AA5083 specimens, which have been characterized.