As-Cast Residual Stresses in an Aluminum Alloy AA6063 Billet: Neutron Diffraction Measurements and Finite Element Modeling
The presence of thermally induced residual stresses, created during the industrial direct chill (DC) casting process of aluminum alloys, can cause both significant safety concerns and the formation of defects during downstream processing. Although numerical models have been previously developed to compute these residual stresses, most of the computations have been validated only against measured surface distortions. Recently, the variation in residual elastic strains in the steady-state regime of casting has been measured as a function of radial position using neutron diffraction (ND) in an AA6063 grain-refined cylindrical billet. In the present study, these measurements are used to show that a well-designed thermomechanical finite element (FE) process model can reproduce relatively well the experimental results. A sensitivity analysis is then carried out to determine the relative effect of the various mechanical parameters when computing the as-cast residual stresses in a cylindrical billet. Two model parameters have been investigated: the temperature when the alloy starts to thermally contract and the plasticity behavior. It is shown that the mechanical properties at low temperatures have a much larger influence on the residual stresses than those at high temperatures.