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QUENCH FACTOR ANALYSIS: STEP-BY-STEP PROCEDURES FOR EXPERIMENTAL DETERMINATION

G.E. Totten and G.M. Webster

Union Carbide Corporation Tarrytown, NY

ABSTRACT

There have been a number of

procedures reported for the prediction of physical properties of aluminum based on cooling rate data.

the

cooling rate calculation procedure

described by Fink and Willey in their now-classic work on 7075 characterization. Staley has more recently described the use of

to

better predict various properties of

aluminum which is the subject of this paper. A discussion of the

and

the experimental procedure used for QFA determination from cooling curve data will be provided here. The generation of the multiparametric C T

function from cooling curves will also be discussed.

INTRODUCTION

Fink and Willey performed an extensive study on the effects of quenching on the strength of 7075-T6 and corrosion behavior 2024-T4.[1] This was done by constructing C- curves which were plots illustrating the times required to precipitate sufficient alloy content to change the strength by a certain amount (7075) or change the corrosion from pitting to intergranular (2024). The "critical temperature range", that temperature range that provided the highest precipitation rates was identified.[2] Figure 1 illustrates Fink and Willey's C-Curve for 7075. Figure 2 is a C-Curve similar to one

principles of the calculation

One

of

the most

common is

"Quench Factor

Analysis" (QFA)

C.E. Bates

University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL

Willey

critical

temperature range for the transition

intergranular

corrosion for 2024.[3]

Various studies were conducted after Fink and Willey's work to determine the relative quench rate sensitivity to yield different

properties

of

to

reported earlier illustrating the

by

pitting

for

various

alloys.

Figure 3 illustrates the effect of cooling rate on tensile strength for different aluminum alloys and

tempers.[2]

strength for different aluminum alloys and tempers.[2] Figure 1 - C-Curves illustrating the effect of alloy

Figure 1 - C-Curves illustrating the

effect

of

alloy

precipitation on

tensile

strength

for

7075-T6

generated

by

Fink

and

Willey.(Reference 1)

Figure 2 - C-Curve for 2024-T4 illustrating   the critical temperature   and

Figure

2

-

C-Curve for

2024-T4

illustrating

 

the

critical

temperature

 

and

cooling

time

transition

for

pitting

to

intergranular corrosion.

transition for pitting to intergranular corrosion. Figure 3 function average cooling rate. - Tensile strength

Figure 3

function average cooling rate.

- Tensile

strength as

a

The “average cooling rate” in Figure 3 is determined by dividing 200 o F by the time difference, in seconds, to cool from 750 o F to 550 o F which will yield an "average" cooling rate in o F/s. An approach such as this can provide only an approximation of the actual cooling process for the quenchant and cross- section size of interest which may, in fact, be non-linear, interrupted or delayed quench. Therefore, it is desirable to utilize a process that integrates a cooling curve for the quenching process and cross-section size being used with a C-curve (Time-Temperature-Property) curve for the specific alloy of interest.

A numerical process that has been developed which fulfills these objectives is the Quench Factor Analysis (QFA) procedure which was developed by Evancho and

Staley.[2,4] The principles of the QFA calculation and the experimental procedures used for QFA determination from cooling curve

The

data will be discussed here.

generation of the multiparametric C T function from cooling curves will also be provided.

DISCUSSION

Calculation of Quench Factors from Precipitation Kinetic Data

The properties of aluminum alloys are dependent on the amount of alloy precipitation that occurs during cooling. The rate law for isothermal precipitation kinetics

is:[5]

The rate law for isothermal precipitation kinetics is:[5] (1) where: precipitation which has occurred in is

(1)

where:

precipitation which has occurred in

is a temperature-

time

of

ζ

is

the

fraction

(t)

and

k

independent constant. The value of k

depends

on

the

degree

of

supersaturation

and

the

rate

of

diffusion and is estimated from:[6]

and the rate of diffusion and is estimated from:[6] where: (2) C T to = critical

where:

(2)

C T

to

= critical time required

constant

precipitate

a

amount

(the

locus

of

the

critical

line

is

the

C-

curve).

k 1 = constant which equals the

natural

fraction untransformed (1 -

the

logarithm

of

fraction

defined

by

the

C-

curve).

k 2 = constant related to the

reciprocal of the number nucleation sites,

of

the C-curve.

k 3 = constant related to the

energy

required

to

form

a

nucleus,

As

illustrated

in

Figure 4

k 4 = constant related to the solvus temperature,

k 5 = constant related to the

activation

energy

for

diffusion,

R

= 8.3143 J.K -1 .mol -1

T

= temperature in o K.

From these relationships, it

is possible to redefine the equation

for

precipitated during the quench (ζ) which can be calculated :[2]

solute

the

amount

of

( ζ ) which can be calculated :[2] solute the amount of (3) the transformation kinetics

(3)

the

transformation kinetics for non-

isothermal conditions, such as those

that would

typical quenching process, may be

a

described by: [6,7]

Cahn

has

be

shown

present

that

during

a described by: [6,7] Cahn has be shown present that during where: (4) C T =

where:

(4)

C T = critical time from the C-

curve,

t = time from the cooling

curve,

t 0 = time at the start of the

quench,

t f = time at the finish of the

quench,

τ = measure of the amount transformed (quench factor).

When τ=1, the fraction transformed equals the fraction represented by

is

obtained by combining the cooling curve for the quenching process with

the C-curve and the value for τ is obtained by:[2]

[5],

the

quench factor

(τ)

for τ is obtained by:[2] [5], the quench factor ( τ ) (5) Figure 4 -

(5)

τ is obtained by:[2] [5], the quench factor ( τ ) (5) Figure 4 - Determination

Figure 4 - Determination of quench factor (τ) by the combination of a

quenchant

cooling

curve

and

a

C-

curve.

A graphical representation of

a quench factor determined earlier

by

Kim,

Hoff

and

Gaskell

is

illustrated in

Figure

6.[5]

The

quench

factor

shown

is

the

area

projected on to the 1/C T - 1 plane.

factor shown is the area projected on to the 1/C T - 1 plane. Figure 5

Figure 5 - Graphical representation

of the quench factor as the area of the "cliff" projected on to the 1/C T - t plane [5].

Experimental Determination of Quench Factors

illustrates the

superposition of a cooling curve on

a C-curve.[8] Experimentally,

cooling curves

acquiring time-temperature data over

is

determined by the data acquisition

rate.

temperature

finite time

are generated by

Figure

6

steps

(t i )

which

The

average

between each time step interval is then calculated. The C T value is then

step interval is then calculated. The C T value is then (7) Effect of Time Step

(7)

Effect of Time Step (t) Selection

the

effect of the size of the time step on the quench factor calculation,

factors for 7075-T73

the quench

quenched in 100 o F (38 o C) water at 50 ft/min (0.25 m/s) was studied.

The results of this study are

shown in Table 1. These data show that time step changes in the range

of

seconds caused no

In

order

to determine

0.1

to

0.4

calculated

for

each

average

appreciable change in the calculated

temperature

using

the

above

quench factor.

However, time step

equation.

The

ratio

of

the time

variations between 0.5 to 0.8

step

length

used

for

data

seconds caused considerable scatter

acquisition, (t i ) is divided by the

C T

provide

factor" (q).[8]

quench

that temperature to

value

at

an

"incremental

quench that temperature to value at an "incremental (6) Figure 6 - Schematic illustration of the

(6)

quench that temperature to value at an "incremental (6) Figure 6 - Schematic illustration of the

Figure 6 - Schematic illustration of the experimental method used for calculating a quench factor.

To obtain the overall quench

above

equation), the incremental quench

are progressively as the part is cooled through the precipitation range, -

summed

factor,

factor values

Q

(or

τ

in

the

normally about 150 o C) as

800-300 o F (425

shown in Figure 5.[8]

in the calculated quench factor (Q).

may

result in an inadequate number of data points to properly calculate transition in the critical portion

is

suggested that the time step

such

that the average temperature drop is not greater than 75 o F (25 o C) over the critical cooling range for the alloy of interest.

interval should be selected

Excessively

(knee)

of

long

the

time

steps

It

C-curve.

Table 1

Effect of Time Step Magnitude on Quench Factor Calculation

1 Effect of Time Step Magnitude on Quench Factor Calculation Property Calculation The tensile strength of

Property Calculation

The tensile strength of the

alloy after

predicted from the quench factor -

Q:[2]

be

proper

aging

can

predicted from the quench factor - Q:[2] be proper aging can (8) where: σ y =

(8)

where:

σ y = predicted yield strength,

σ max = yield strength after an infinite quench (and aging cycle),

e = base of the natural logarithm,

K 1 = ln (0.995) = -0.00501

Q = quench factor The relationship between quench factor and yield strength for 7075-T73 is shown in Figure 7.[8]

and yield strength for 7075-T73 is shown in Figure 7.[8] Figure aluminum 7075-T73 as a function

Figure

aluminum 7075-T73 as a function of quench factor of the material.

of

7

-

Yield

strength

Low values of Q are associated

with high

precipitation during cooling and

high yield strengths. Conversely, higher Q-values are obtained with

are

quench rates, minimum

slower quench

rates

and

associated

with

lower

strength

values.

An alloy with a low rate of precipitation will produce a lower

quench factor (Q) than an alloy with

a high precipitation rate at the

same cooling rate. Quench factors calculated for different alloys might be different even if similar section sizes are cooled in the same quenchant, because quench factors take into account individual alloy precipitation kinetics by means of the equation describing the C-curve (C T function) for each alloy.

are

precipitated during cooling from the solution treating temperature at "high" Q-values. As a consequence,

an improperly quenched alloy may not

properly harden during aging, and it

may be susceptible to intergranular

Solute

elements

corrosion,

exfoliation.

stress

corrosion

or

Experimental Apparatus

The quench factor provided by

a

particular

quenchant

can

be

determined

experimentally

using

parts or probes instrumented with

and

apparatus in which

testing

the quenchant

and

temperature can be controlled. In

principle, any quenchant bath could

concentration,

thermocouples

a

flow

rate,

be

used, including the commercial

bath

used

in

practice.

Figure

8

illustrates one

system

that

has

performed

well

in

the

laboratory.[10]

However,

it

is

important

to

note

that different

agitation

systems

will

yield

different results due to differences in the directionality and turbulence of fluid flow.

An illustration of a bar and

sheet probe

used for laboratory

testing is provided in Figures 8 and 9 respectively.[10] A computerized data acquisition system is used to

collect

and

store

the

time-

temperature

data

from

the

instrumented probes or parts during

quenching.[11]

the instrumented probes or parts during quenching.[11] Figure laboratory quench bath capable of providing a

Figure

laboratory quench bath capable of providing a controlled uniform flow

a

8

-

Illustration

of

rate

temperature.

at

a

reasonable

constant

rate temperature. at a reasonable constant Figure 9 - The construction of a 25 mm round

Figure 9 - The construction of a 25 mm round bar probe.

Figure 9 - The construction of a 25 mm round bar probe. Figure 10 - Illustration

Figure 10 - Illustration of a sheet probe.

The part or probe is solution heat treated at the proper

and

quenched into the bath containing

the quenchant being evaluated at the desired concentration and flow rate. The cooling curves are recorded and

the

quench factors calculated as

temperature for

the

alloy

described above.

C-Curve Availability

There are a number of problems that have prevented widespread acceptance of quench factor analysis procedures by the general heat treating industry. One of the most often encountered criticisms of the

quench factor unavailability performing

Although it is true that there is

calculation is the

for

of

C-curves

QFA

calculations.

not extensive of

many

data,

C-curves for

commonly

the

more

encountered

alloys

have

been

published. Some of the C-curves that

have

illustrated in Figures 11-15.

are

been

reported to

data

have illustrated in Figures 11-15. are been reported to data Figure yield strength. (Reference 3). 11

Figure

yield strength. (Reference 3).

11

- C-Curve

for 7075-T6

yield strength. (Reference 3). 11 - C-Curve for 7075-T6 Figure 12 - C-curves for 2024-T851, 7075-T6

Figure 12 - C-curves for 2024-T851, 7075-T6 and 7075-T76 aluminum alloys. (Reference 9)

3). 11 - C-Curve for 7075-T6 Figure 12 - C-curves for 2024-T851, 7075-T6 and 7075-T76 aluminum

Figure 13

-

(Reference 7)

C-Curve for 6351-T6.

Table 2

Coefficients for Calculating Quench Factors at 99.5% of Attainable Yield Strength

Quench Factors at 99.5% of Attainable Yield Strength Figure 14 - C-Curves for 7075, 2017, 6061
Quench Factors at 99.5% of Attainable Yield Strength Figure 14 - C-Curves for 7075, 2017, 6061

Figure 14 - C-Curves for 7075, 2017, 6061 and 6063. (Reference 12).

- C-Curves for 7075, 2017, 6061 and 6063. (Reference 12). Figure 15 - C-Curves for 7075-T6

Figure 15 - C-Curves for 7075-T6 and 7050-T73 (Reference 2)

C-curves have been reported for other alloys but are not shown here. These include: 2219-T87, 2024-T851, and 2024-T351.[7] Unfortunately, no C-curves for quench hardenable aluminum casting alloys have been published.

C T

constants for a limited number of alloys and tempers which can be used

Bates

has summarized

the

in quench factor calculations.[8,9]. These values are summarized in Table

2.

C-Curve Parameterization

equation of the C-curve

was shown previously. However most of the constants for these equations are not available which will permit the calculation of the C T function.

Instead, the C T function is calculated by fitting the equation shown (Equation 2) to the C-curve

using non-linear regression analysis

k 2- k 5 values

and

until minimum error is obtained by a

optimization

process.[13] In this way, a C T

can available C-curve.

CONCLUSIONS

In this paper, the traditional approach to calculating average cooling rates by the Fink and Willey procedure and the deficiencies of this procedure was discussed. An alternative procedure, Quench Factor Analysis, developed by Evancho and

Staley,

integration of the time-temperature- property (C-curve) for the desired aluminum alloy and the cooling curve shape in the critical temperature region was provided. Experimental procedures for the necessary cooling curve data acquisition and subsequent calculation procedure was also provided. The more common C-

an

any

The

solving

for

the

self-directing

function

be written

for

which

provides

curves that have been published were shown. A description of a

non-linear

regression analysis procedure to calculate the equation of the C-

curve,

multiparametric

C T

function, was briefly

discussed. With this information, it is possible for the reader to perform QFA analysis on the more commonly available wrought aluminum alloys that may be encountered. Unfortunately similar data is not available for cast aluminum alloys, although the approach is equally applicable. QFA procedures have been utilized by numerous workers in the field to solve various problems encompassing a wide variety of both spray and immersion quenching procedures. [15-19]

REFERENCES

1. W.L.

Fink

and

L.A. Willey,

Properties and Minimize Distortion

Heat

Treat. of Metals, 1988, No. 4, p.

89-97.

9. C.E. Bates, "Quench Optimization

for Aluminum

Transactions, 1994, 93-25, p. 1045-

1054.

10. G.E. Totten, C.E. Bates and L.M.

Jarvis, "Cooling Curve and Quench Factor Characterization of 2024 and 7075 Aluminum Bar Stock Quenched in Type I Polymer Quenchants", in Heat Treating - Proceedings of the 16th

Conference, Ed. by J.L. Dossett and

R.E.

Luetje, 1996, ASM

Alloys", AFS

in Aluminum-Alloy Parts",

International, Materials Park, OH,

"Quenching of 75S Aluminum Alloy", Trans. AIME, 1948, Vol. 175, p. 414-

p.

221-229.

427.

11.

G.M. Webster and G.E. Totten,

2. J.W. Evancho

"Kinetics of Precipitation in Aluminum Alloys During Continuous Cooling",Metallurgical Transactions, 1974, Vol. 5, January, p. 43-47.

3.

in

and

J.T. Staley,

"Quench

Factor

Analysis"

"Cooling Curve Analysis - Data Acquisition", in Heat Treating - Proceedings of the 16th Conference, Ed. by J.L. Dossett and R.E. Luetje, 1996, ASM International, Materials Park, OH, p. 427-434.

12. T. Sheppard, "Press Quenching of

Aluminum Properties and Physical Metallurgy, Ed. by J.E. Hatch, 1984,

Aluminum Alloys", Materials Science and Technology, 1988, Vol. 4, July,

ASM International, Materials Park, OH, p. 159-164.

p.

635-643.

13.

K.B. Orzak, "The Programs CT and

4. J.T. Staley, "Modeling Quenching

of Precipitation Strengthened Alloys: Application to an Aluminum- Copper-Lithium Alloy", Ph.D. Thesis, Drexel University, 1989.

5.

J-S.

Kim,

R.C.

Hoff

and D.R.

Quench for Calculating CT-Curve Parameters and Quench Factors for Aluminum Alloys”, Unpublished Report. For a copy, contact Dr. George E. Totten, Union Carbide Corporation, 777 Old Saw Mill River Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591.

Gaskell, "A Quench Factor Analysis of the Influence of Water Spray

14.

P. Archambault, J.C. Chevrier,

Quenching on the Age-Hardenability

G.

Beck

and

J. Bauvaist,

Heat

of Aluminum Alloys", in Materials

Treatment

'76,

Proceed.

of

16th

Processing in the Computer Age, Ed.

International

Heat

Treatment

by R. Voller, M.S. Stachowicz and

Conference, 1981, Metals Society

B.G. Thomas, 1991, The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society, p.

(London), p. 105-109.

 

203-221.

6. J.W. Cahn, "The Kinetics of Grain

Boundary Nucleated Reactions", Acta Met., 1956, Vol. 4, p. 449-459.

7. J.T. Staley,

Analysis of Aluminum Alloys", Materials Science and Technology, 1987, Vol. 3, November, p. 923-935.

"Quench Factor

15. P. Archambault, J.C. Chevrier

and G. Beck, "A Contribution to the

Optimization of the 7075 Heat Treatment", Materials Science and Engineering, 1980, Vol. 43, p. 1-6.

16. C.E. Bates, T. Landig, and G.

Seitanakis, "Quench Factor Analysis:

A Powerful Tool Comes of Age", Heat Treating, 1985, December, p. 13-17.

8.

C.E. Bates

and

G.E. Totten,

17.

P. Archambault, F. Moreaux and

"Procedure

for

Quenching

Media

G.

Beck, "Decomposition of the Solid

Selection

to

Maximize

Tensile

Solution During the Quench Cooling

of 7075 Alloy. Cooling Rate and C- Curves", in Aluminum Technology,

1986,

The

Institute of Metals,

(London), p. 408-413.

18. S. Tsuchida, H. Yoshida ans S. Hirano, "Heat Treatment of Aluminum Alloys", Sumitomo Light Met. Tech. Rep., 1990, Vol. 31(2), p. 28-45.

19. J.T. Staley, "Using Simple Kinetic Equations in Heat Treating Aluminum", Technical Bulletin, Alcoa Laboratories, Alcoa Technical Center, Alcoa Center, PA.