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Al-Balqa Applied University/AL HUSON COLLEGE

Mechanical Department
Graduational Project 1
Effect of hardness test on precipitation hardening aluminum alloy 6061
Dr. firas al qur'an

Derar abdel-fattah Suleiman al rayyashi

Mustafa bani saeed
Ahmad al saleem
Mohammed bani amer

1. Abstract
The paper presents an experimental study on precipitation of aluminum alloy 6061-T6 to
determine the effect of artificial ageing on the hardness of aluminum alloy 6061-T6. The
precipitation hardening is a thermal treatment, which consists of a heat treatment,
quenching and artificial ageing process. The experimental study is focused on artificial
ageing upon which the temperature is varying between 175C-420C at different period of
time. The Vickers hardness test is to evaluate the hardness of aluminum alloy 6061-T6
before and after ageing process. The optimum ageing time and temperature is determined
at the end of this experiment to obtain reduction in energy and total cost. The study leads to
the conclusion that the optimum aged was achieved between 175-195C with 2-6 hours of
ageing time. The contribution of short time ageing is comparable th that of longer ageing
time from pervious studies.

2. Introduction
Aluminium is ranked after iron and steel in the metal market. The demand of aluminium
grows rapidly because it is a unique combination of properties, which make it as one of the
most versatile engineering and construction materials. Aluminium alloy become the
selection by designers and engineers as the material for different kind of applications.
Aluminium is light in weight, with specific gravity of 2.7; only 30% weight of copper and onethird weight of iron. Except for magnesium, aluminium is the lightest of all common metals.
Besides, it has good electrical and thermal conductivity and high reflectivity to both heat
and light. It is non-toxic and good in corrosion-resistant under many service conditions.
Aluminium provides a wide variety of surface finishes and it can be casted and worked into
different form. Aluminium has become prime importance as engineering material with all
these outstanding properties.

Generally, strength is further improved by cold working, grain size refining,

precipitation hardening and dispersion hardening. In this study, the strength of 6061-T6

aluminium alloy was improved by precipitation hardening. Precipitation hardening is a

process that enhances the strength and hardness of some metal alloys by the formation of
extremely small uniformly dispersed particle of a second phase within the original phase
matrix. The general requirement for precipitation strengthening of supersaturated solid
solution involves the formation of finely dispersed (ASM Handbook, 1991). The precipitate
particle nucleates and grows; by the diffusion of solute atoms into it from the matrix phase.
It is called precipitation because the small particles of the new phase are termed
precipitates (Jastrzebski, 1959). Artificial ageing will be accomplished not only below the
equilibrium solvus temperature, but below a meta-stable miscibility gap called GuinierPreston (GP) zone solvus line. The paper describes the metallographic analysis of 6061-T6
aluminium alloy under precipitation hardening process.

3. Method
The precipitation hardening process requires that the second component in the aluminum
alloy, is sufficiently soluble to allow extensive dissolution at an elevated temperature (solubi
lization treatment temperature) and that the solubility is considerably reduced at lower
temperatures, such is the case of Al-Cu alloys (Figure 1) [1]. According to Figure 1, to induce
precipitation hardening, the alloy is heated at a temperature higher than the solvus
temperature to produce a homogeneous solid solution , allowing dissolution of the second
phase and eliminates the segregation of the alloy. Once, the solubilization temperature is
reached, the alloy is cooling at high rate in order to limit the diffusion process of the atoms
toward potential sites of nucleation. Finally, the supersaturated solid solution ss is heated
at a temperature below the solvus temperature. At this temperature, the atoms have the
ability to diffuse at short distances. Because the ss phase is not stable, the atoms of Cu
diffuse at several sites of nucleation and a control precipitation could be formed.
Precipitation hardening in metals is performed to produce a particulate dispersion of second
phases to generate obstacles for the dislocation movement. The degree of hardening
depends of the metallic system, the volume fraction and size of the particles and the
interaction of the particles with dislocations. The interactions of the precipitated particles
with dislocations are very important in terms of the magnitude of hardening. Some
mechanisms have been estab lished, involving particle bypassing by Orowan looping,
bypass slip, or particle shearing. Figure 2, shows the forces acting on a mobile dislocation in
a stressed metal containing a dispersion of second phase particles.

4. The general use of 6061 aluminum alloy

6061 aluminum alloy is a precipitation hardening aluminum alloy, containing magnesium
and silicon as its major alloying elements. Originally called "alloy 61S" it was developed in
1935. It has good mechanical properties and exhibits good weldability. It is one of the most
common alloys of aluminum for general purpose use.
6061 aluminum alloy is commonly available in pre-tempered grades such as 6061-O and
tempered grades such as 6061-T6 and 6061-T651. 6061 is commonly used for the following:
4.1 Construction of aircraft structures, such as wings and fuselages, more commonly
in homebuilt aircraft than commercial or military aircraft. 2024 alloy is somewhat
stronger, but 6061 is more easily worked and remains resistant to corrosion even
when the surface is abraded, which is not the case for 2024, which is usually used
with a thin alclad coating for corrosion resistance.
4.2 Automotive parts, such as wheel spacers.

4.3 The manufacture of aluminum cans for the packaging of foodstuffs and
4.4 SCUBA tanks (post 1995)
4.5 Yacht construction, including small utility boats.
6061-T6 is used for:
1. The construction of bicycle frames and components.
2. The famous pioneer plaque was made of this particular alloy.
3. The secondary chambers and baffle systems in firearm sound suppressors
(primarily pistol suppressors for reduced weight and functionality)
4. The upper and lower receivers of many AR-15 variants.
5. Many aluminum docks and gangways are constructed with 6061-T6 extrusion, and
welded into place.

5. Conclusion
(1) The difference in the state of precipitates before cold rolling gives rise to differences in
the rolling texture and recrystallization texture.
(2) In the peak aged specimen, the hardness after rolling is almost the same as that before
rolling. This is because the effect of work hardening increases, while the effect of
precipitation hardening decreases.
(3) The recrystallizations in the solution treated and overaged specimens are completed
more rapidly than that in the peak aged specimen, because of pinning effect caused by fine
precipitates and difference in driving force of recrystallization

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