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Lus M.M. Alves, Paulo A.F. Martins, Jorge M.C. Rodrigues

Institute Superior T ecnico, Departamento de Engenharia Mec anica, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal

Abstract

Densication of sintered copper under uniaxial compression is analyzed by means of three different plasticity criteriaShima and Oyane [S.

Shima, M. Oyane, Plasticity theory for porous metals, Int. J. Mech. Sci. 18 (1976) 285291], Doraivelu et al. [S.M. Doraivelu, H.L. Gegel, J.S.

Gunasekera, J.C. Malas, J.T. Morgan, J.F. Thomas, A new yield function for compressible P/M materials, Int. J. Mech. Sci. 26 (9/10) (1984)

527535] and Lee and Kim [D.N. Lee, H.S. Kim, Plasticity yield behaviour of porous metals, Powder Metall. 35 (1992) 275279]. Theoretical

predictions are compared with experimental data and served as a basis for developing a new yield function for compressible P/M materials. The

proposed yield function is not only capable of providing a better agreement with the experiments as its implementation into an existing nite

element computer program proves to be successful for the numerical modelling of a powder forged component.

2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Powder forging; Finite element method (FEM); Experimentation

1. Introduction

Recent advances in computing technology and reduction in

the associated costs are presently extending the availability of

computer programs tosimulate complexP/Mformingprocesses.

At present time computer programs have the potential to accu-

rately model complex three dimensional P/M processes without

the need to take advantage of possible geometrical and material

ow simplications.

Most of the scientic and numeric ingredients which are

necessary to develop and utilize these programs (discretization

procedures, solution techniques, contact algorithms and remesh-

ing schemes) are now nearly established but other important

ingredients, probably even more relevant than the former, to

the progress of numerical simulation, still deserve attention.

The yield function and its associated constitutive equations for

porous materials [1,2] is one of these ingredients because it plays

a crucial role in the overall performance of the computer pro-

grams.

This paper is based on a comprehensive investigation of the

commonly used yield functions due to Shima and Oyane [3],

Doraivelu et al. [4] and Lee and Kim [5]. The main objective

was to characterize and understand its limitations but also to

develop a new more accurate one if necessary.

E-mail address: jrodrigues@ist.utl.pt (J.M.C. Rodrigues).

The most important drawback in the utilization of the above-

mentionedyieldfunctions is due tothe fact that the initial relative

density does not explicitly inuence the geometric hardening of

the base material and the plastic Poisson coefcient. Some of

the yield functions cannot even be used when the initial relative

density of the preforms is low.

The paper deals with these problems and proposes a new

yield function for powder materials that takes into account the

initial relative density of the preform. Newtesting procedures for

characterizing the mechanical behaviour of the base material are

also introduced in order to obtain a more accurate stressstrain

curve of the powder material.

The implementation of the new proposed yield function into

an existing nite element computer program is also briey con-

sidered and assessment is provided by means a numerical and

experimental study of a powder forging process. To this end, a

laboratory controlled test comprising the forging of a sintered

copper perform was designed in such a way that material ow

behaviour, geometric prole, distribution of relative density and

forging load, could be reproduced and compared against numer-

ical estimates.

2. Theoretical background

The yield function for porous materials differs from the von

Mises function for dense materials due to the changes produced

in the volume of the porous bodies during plastic deformation.

In general, considering that the material is isotropic, and that the

0924-0136/$ see front matter 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.jmatprotec.2006.03.091

L.M.M. Alves et al. / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 179 (2006) 3643 37

Table 1

The parameters A, B and for different porous yield functions

A B

Shima and Oyane [3]

3

1+(2.49/3)

2

(1R)

1.028

(2.49/3)

2

(1R)

1.028

1+(2.49/3)

2

(1R)

1.028

R

5

1+(2.49/3)

2

(1R)

1.028

Doraivelu et al. [4] (2 +R

2

)

(1R

2

)

3

(2R

2

1)

Lee and Kim [5] (2 +R

2

)

(1R

2

)

3

(RRc)

2

(1Rc)

2

deformation does not produce anisotropy, the yield function for

porous materials must include the rst invariant I

1

of the stress

tensor and the second invariant of the deviatoric stress tensor J

2

[1,2],

AJ

2

+BI

2

1

=

2

0

=

2

R

(1)

The yield function for porous materials represents in the prin-

cipal stress space, the surface of an ellipsoid that is symmetrical

with respect to the three principal stress axes and has a major

axis that coincides with the mean stress axis. The parameters

A, B and are to be determined from experimental work and

must be expressed as functions of the relative density R (ratio

of the volume of the base material to the total volume of porous

material). The symbol

R

denotes the apparent yield stress of

the porous material which depends on the yield stress

0

of the

base material and the relative density R.

Considering the porous material as a continuum medium,

the strain-rate components can be obtained from the associated

porous ow rule (1) as follows [7],

ij

=

R

R

_

A

2

ij

+(3 A)

m

ij

_

(2)

where

m

is the apparent mean stress and

R

is the apparent

effective strain rate of the porous material given by,

R

=

_

2

A

ij

2

+

1

3(3 A)

2

v

_

1/2

(3)

The symbol

v

=

R/R refers to the volumetric strain-rate

(ratio of the rate of variation of the relative density to the relative

density) and the apparent effective stress

R

is determined by,

R

=

_

(AJ

2

+BI

2

1

) (4)

The plastic deformation of a porous material includes two

different forms of hardening; (i) geometric hardening due to

material densication (parameter in Eq. (1)) and (ii) material

hardening due to changes in the mechanical properties of the

base material (the yield stress

0

of the base material). The

relation between the apparent strain and strain-rate and those of

the base material can be obtained by combining the plastic work

rate,

w =

R

R

V

R

=

0

0

V

0

=

0

0

RV

R

(5)

with the geometric hardening parameter resulting from mate-

rial densication,

0

=

R

0

=

_

t

0

0

dt =

_

t

0

R

0

dt (6)

Table 1 summarizes the parameters A, B and of the yield

functions that were proposed by Shima and Oyane [3], Doraivelu

et al. [4] and Lee and Kim [5]. These functions are commonly

utilizedinthe numerical simulationof porous metal formingpro-

cesses and turn into the conventional von Mises yield function

for dense materials as the relative density R approaches unity.

In these limiting conditions ( =1), the total apparent energy

of deformation becomes equal to the elastic energy of distortion

(because A=3andB=0). It is alsoimportant tonote fromTable 1

that the yield function proposed by Doraivelu et al. cannot be

applied for values of the relative density R

c

1/2

= 0.71

and that the yield function due to Lee and Kim makes use of

a critical relative density R

c

that needs to be determined from

experiments.

The numerical simulation of P/M metal forming processes

starts from the following weak variational form expressed

entirely in terms of the arbitrary variation in the velocity u,

=

_

V

R

R

dV

_

S

F

i

u

i

dS = 0 (7)

where V is the control volume of the porous body limited by

surfaces S

u

and S

F

, where velocity u

i

and traction F

i

are pre-

scribed, respectively. The solution of Eq. (7) by the nite element

method requires subdivision of the control volume V by means

of M elements linked through N nodal points. In each element

the velocity distribution can be represented in the vectorial form

as,

u = Nv (8)

where N is the matrix containing the shape functions N

i

of the

element and v is the nodal velocity vector. The strain rate vector

can be obtained from,

= Bv (9)

where B is the velocity strain rate matrix. Substituting Eqs. (8)

and (9) into Eq. (7) at the elemental level and assembling the

element equations with global constraints, it follows,

M

m

__

V

(m)

R

R

Kv dV

_

S

(m)

NFdS

_

= 0 (10)

where K=B

T

DB and D is a matrix resulting from the inversion

of the porous constitutive Eq. (2). Further details on the imple-

mentation of the nite element method for P/M metal forming

processes can be found elsewhere [6,7].

38 L.M.M. Alves et al. / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 179 (2006) 3643

Fig. 1. Scanning electron micrographs of the copper powder utilized in the experiments: (a) undeformed copper grains (magnication of 1000); (b) compacted and

sintered copper grains (magnication of 4000).

3. Experimental work

3.1. Uniaxial compression test

The material employed in the experiments was a pure copper powder (99.5%)

withanapparent densityof 2.86 g/cm

3

andthe followingdistributionof grainsize

(obtained by means of sieve analysis): 94.92%45 m, 5.08%45 m and

0%75 m. Fig. 1 presents two photomicrographys of the material showing

the original (Fig. 1(a)) and the deformed powder grains (Fig. 1(b)) after being

compacted and sintered at 825

0.55 mbar.

The experimental work was performed in a 500 kN computer-controlled

hydraulic press under a very slowspeed. The cylindrical compacted and sintered

specimens utilized in the uniaxial compression tests were produced in a double

effect tool, lubricated with zinc stearate, under different applied pressures in

order to ensure a good homogeneity and to obtain test specimens with different

values of the initial relative density R

0

. Fig. 2 presents some of these specimens

before and after being deformed.

In order to allow load recording during the test, force was applied to the

upper compression plate through one load cell based on traditional strain-gauge

technology in a full Wheatstone bridge. Displacements were measured using a

laser-based optical displacement transducer and a PC-based data logging system

was used to record and store loads and displacements. In addition to this, dimen-

sions and density of the compression test specimens were also measured at each

step of deformation. Density was measured by means of a submersion technique,

using a precision balance with an accuracy of 0.0001 g, and the specimens had

to be previously waterproof sealed with a varnish of known density.

The compression tests were initially performed with the objective of inves-

tigating the consistency and accuracy of the aforementioned porous plasticity

criteria (Table 1) and of identifying a criterion to subsequent implementation

into an existing nite element computer program that is currently being devel-

oped within the research team. However, the study of the main features of these

criteria combined with some discrepancies that were found during its exper-

imental assessment stimulated the authors to develop a new porous plasticity

criterion. The criterion, entitled the initial density criterionIDC, considers,

Fig. 2. Compression test specimens made from compacted and sintered copper

powder before and after deformation. The labels 15 refer to specimens with

different values of the initial relative density R

0

.

as the name indicates, the inuence of initial relative density R

0

of the sintered

parts and will be presented in detail in the following sections.

3.2. Mechanical characterisation of the base material

The approach followed by the authors for the mechanical characteriza-

tion of the base material diverges from the commonly utilized methodology of

employing a wrought material with identical chemical composition because the

metallurgical conditions play a crucial role in the overall mechanical response

of the materials. As shown in Fig. 3 the grain size of the wrought electrolytic

copper is much bigger than that of the compacted and sintered copper powder

with the same level of purity. Actually, this is one of the main advantages that

are usually attributed to the structural components produced by means of P/M

processes, because the reduced size of the powder grains is capable of ensuring

better mechanical properties whenever the overall level of porosity is reduced.

In order to overtake the inherent difculties of obtaining the mechanical

characteristics of the base material by means of direct methods, it was decided to

develop a new indirect method based in compression tests, without friction, that

employs cylindrical specimens with different values of the initial relative density.

The compression tests are performed in such a way that each increment of stroke

Fig. 3. Micrographs showing the structure of: (a) a wrought electrolytic copper and (b) a sintered copper powder with equal purity. The magnication is equal to

400 in both cases.

L.M.M. Alves et al. / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 179 (2006) 3643 39

Fig. 4. Mechanical characterization of the base material. (a) Evolution of the

apparent axial stress with the relative density for different values of the initial

relative density. (b) Stressstrain curves of the fully dense copper powder (base

material) and of the wrought electrolytic copper.

is restricted to a predened level of the apparent effective strain

R

. Fig. 4(a)

shows the evolution of the apparent axial stress

3

with the relative density R for

different values of the initial relative density R

0

of the sintered copper specimens.

The experimental data suggests the existence of a linear relationship between

the apparent axial stress and the relative density for each predened level of the

apparent effective strain. Thus, by extrapolating these lines to the limiting case

of R=1 it is possible to obtain the stressstrain curve of the base material. The

result of the new proposed indirect technique for determining the mechanical

characteristics of the base material is plotted in Fig. 4(b). The stressstrain curve

derived from alternative compression tests performed with electrolytic copper

specimens is only included in the gure for comparison purposes.

3.3. Plastic Poisson coefcient for sintered materials

The porous plasticity criteria listed in Table 1 consider the plastic Poisson

coefcient to be independent from the initial relative density R

0

of the sintered

parts. This assumption suffers from both theoretical and experimental lack of

insight/validation and it is usually expressed in order to simplify the mathemat-

ical treatment and the experimental procedure associated with each plasticity

criterion. Therefore, the effectiveness of the assumption requires a detailed anal-

ysis by plotting the evolution of the plastic Poisson coefcient with the relative

density R for different values of the initial relative density R

0

.

The starting point of this evaluation is to express the increment of the appar-

ent axial strain d

3

in terms of the relative density R and the plastic Poisson

Fig. 5. Plastic Poisson coefcient of the sintered copper powder. (a) Evolution of

the exponent d of the law of variation of the plastic Poisson coefcient =0.5R

d

with the initial relative density R

0

. (b) Evolution of the plastic Poisson coefcient

with the relative density for different values of the initial relative density R

0

.

coefcient . This can be obtained by combining the increment of the volumet-

ric strain d

v

with the denition of the Poisson coefcient =d

2

/d

3

, and it

is given by,

d

3

=

dR

[R(1 2)]

(11)

Substituting the law of variation of the plastic Poisson coefcient with the

relative density, =0.5R

d

that was proposed by Khun and Downey [1] and

Zhdanovich [9] into Eq. (11) and integrating, it follows,

3

=

_

ln

_

R

R

0

_

+

1

d

ln

_

1 R

d

0

1 R

d

__

(12)

Applying Eq. (12) to the compression tests that were previously described

in Section 3.2 and plotting the exponent d of the law of variation of the plastic

Poisson coefcient =0.5R

d

against the initial relative density R

0

(Fig. 5(a)) it

is possible to rewrite the law of variation in order to include the inuence of the

initial relative density R

0

of the sintered materials, as follows (Fig. 5(b)),

v =

1

2

R

(4.15R

0

1.23)

(13)

Table 2 summarizes the values of plastic Poisson coefcient that are utilized

by the plasticity criteria listed in Table 1. As shown, the initial density criterion

(IDC) is the only plasticity model to consider the inuence of initial relative

density R

0

on the plastic Poisson coefcient, because the other criteria simply

make use of an average value of the exponent d that in most cases is only

acceptable for relative densities R>0.8.

Table 2

Plastic Poisson coefcient of the plasticity criteria under investigation

Shima and Oyane [3] Doraivelu et al. [4] Lee and Kim [5] IDC

Poisson coefcient,

1

2

_

1

2

9f

2

_

/

_

1 +

1

9f

2

_

with f =

1

2.49(1R)

0.514

1

2

R

2 1

2

R

2 1

2

R

d

with d = 4.15R

0

1.23

40 L.M.M. Alves et al. / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 179 (2006) 3643

Fig. 6. Theoretical vs. experimental evolution of the apparent axial stress with the apparent axial strain for the porous plasticity criteria under investigation. (a) Shima

and Oyane, (b) Doraivelu et al., (c) Lee and Kim and (d) Initial density criterion, IDC.

3.4. Geometric hardening

The theoretical estimates of the evolution of the apparent axial stress with the

apparent axial strain, that is provided by the porous plasticity criteria of Shima

and Oyane, Doraivelu et al. and Lee and Kim, discloses some discrepancies with

the experimental measurements in the case of the compression test specimens

having a lowvalue of the initial relative density (refer to Fig. 6). This fact warned

the authors to the possibility of obtaining incorrect predictions of the force and

energy that are necessary to apply in order to successfully convert a sintered

perform into a structural component, and a latter stage stimulate the authors to

develop the initial density porous plasticity criterionIDC.

The starting point of the above mentioned problem requires the substitution

of the uniaxial compression test conditions

1

=

2

=0,

3

=

R

, J

2

= 1/3

2

R

and I

1

=

R

into the yield function for porous materials (1) in order to obtain the

well-known relationship,

2

R

=

2

0

(14)

also known as the densication law. This relationship separates the two hard-

ening mechanisms that are associated with the plastic deformation of sintered

materials; the geometric hardening (expressed in terms of the parameter ) and

the material hardening (expressed in terms of the yield stress

0

of the base

material). The latter was analyzed during the mechanical characterization of the

base material (Section 3.2) while the former can be computed from the experi-

mental data provided by the uniaxial compression tests. The following empirical

relationship is proposed for computing the geometric hardening in accordance

to the IDC criterion,

=

CR

x

0

R

CR

x

0

R +(1 R)

(15)

The proposed equation takes into account the initial relative density R

0

of the

sintered material and ensures the limiting condition =1 whenever the relative

density R approaches unity. The parameters C and x can be obtained from the

experiments.

In order to determine the parameters Cand x it is necessary to rewrite Eq. (15)

as a function of the apparent variables of the compression test and to take into

account the stressstrain behaviour of the base material

0

= k

n

0

, and the rela-

tionship between the effective and the apparent effective strain

0

= (

/R)

R

of the powder material,

R

= k()

(n+1)/2

_

R

R

_

n

(16)

This equationmaybe regardedas a general analytical expressionthat governs

material densication during the uniaxial compression test under homogeneous

deformation. Its utilization for each of the porous plasticity criterion under inves-

tigation simply requires the parameter to be replaced by its corresponding value

included in Table 3. It is worth mentioning, that the critical relative density of

the plasticity criterion due to Lee and Kim was obtained by extrapolation and

that the parameters C=0.343 and x =2.988 of the IDC criterion were obtained

by least-square tting of Eq. (16) to the experimental data.

Fig. 6 presents the theoretical and experimental evolution of the apparent

axial stress with the apparent axial strain for the uniaxial compression test for

Table 3

Geometrical hardening parameter of the plasticity criteria under investigation

Shima e Oyane [3] Doraivelu et al. [4] Lee and Kim [5] IDC

R

5

[1+(2.49/3)

2

(1R)

1.028

]

(2R

2

1)

(RRc)

2

(1Rc)

2

where R

c

= 0.529

0.343R

2.988

0

R

0.343R

2.988

0

+(1R)

L.M.M. Alves et al. / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 179 (2006) 3643 41

Fig. 7. Powder forging of a copper anged component. (ac) Initial, intermediate and nal geometry of the anged P/Mcomponent. (d) Correlation between measured

and computed geometrical prole of the cross section of the ange at three different stages of deformation.

all the porous plasticity criteria under investigation. The investigation made

use of test specimens with different initial densities and as it can be seen the

initial density criterion (IDC) is the only model that accurately reproduces the

mechanical behaviour of the sintered material for the test specimens with low

values of the initial relative density R

0

(Fig. 6(d)). In the case of the Doraivelu

et al. porous plasticity criterion it is not even possible to get an estimate for the

experimental test case performed with R

0

=0.686 because the critical relative

density of this criterion is higher R

c

=0.707 >0.686.

4. Powder forging of a anged component

This section deals with the numerical modelling of the cold

powder forging of a copper anged component and it was

included in the paper with the objective of validating the numer-

ical predictions provided by the nite element computer pro-

gram (modied in order to include the IDC porous criterion)

with the experimental measurements obtained from laboratory-

controlled conditions. Assessment is performed in terms of

material ow, geometrical prole, relative density and forging

load.

On account of rotational symmetry it was possible to carry

out the numerical simulation of the process under axisymmet-

rical modelling conditions. The initial cross section of the sin-

tered preform (with an initial relative density R

0

=0.79) was

discretized by means of a mesh consisting of 584 four-node

axisymmetric quadrilateral elements. Larger elements were used

to ll the body and the initial free regions of the preformwhereas

the surfaces of interest (where contact is expected to occur) were

meshed with smaller elements in order to obtain more accurate

results on the lling behaviour. The contour of the dies were

approximated by means of contact-friction linear elements and

the friction factor was found to be equal to m=0.2 in accordance

toa calibrationprocedure basedonthe conventional ring-test [8].

Fig. 7 shows the geometry of the compacted and sintered pre-

forms that were used for producing the powder forged anged

components together with deformed parts corresponding to the

intermediate and nal stages of deformation. Geometry and rel-

ative density was also measured at these stages of deformation

and latter compared with the numerical estimates derived from

Fig. 8. Powder forging of a copper anged component. (a) Computed and exper-

imental evolution of the load vs. displacement; (b) computed and experimental

evolution of the average relative density vs. displacement.

42 L.M.M. Alves et al. / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 179 (2006) 3643

nite elements. As seen from Fig. 7(d) the agreement between

the theoretical and experimental proles is a very good.

Further assessment between computed and experimental

results can be found in Fig. 8, where the estimates of the

forging load and average relative density are plotted against

the correspondent experimental values. In case of the forging

load the agreement is excellent. Two different stages can be

identied; an initial stage where the evolution of the load is

Fig. 9. Computed and experimental distribution of the relative density. (ab) Computed distribution of the relative density at an intermediate stage of deformation

and at the nal stage of deformation. (c) Micrographies showing the porosity in selected regions of the cross section of a component at the nal stage of deformation.

Labels 115 refer to positions indicated in (b).

L.M.M. Alves et al. / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 179 (2006) 3643 43

smooth and similar to what is generally obtained for head-

ing operations with at punches (although some radial ow

into the bottom of the preform begins at the early stages of

deformation), and a nal stage where the forging load increases

sharply. The later starts when the die cavity commences to be

lled.

In what concerns the average relative density there is also

a good agreement between theory and experimentation but the

number of measurements and the average (integrator) charac-

teristics of the parameter are not adequate to conclude about the

overall quality of the nite element distribution of the relative

density R inside the workpiece.

The above-mentioned limitations stimulated the authors to

perform a set of micrographies in selected regions of the cross-

section of the nal anged component and to compare theoreti-

cal predictions withexperimental observations. Acloser analysis

of Fig. 9 enables to conclude that there is a good agreement

between the theoretical and experimental distribution of density

inside the workpiece and proves that the initial density criterion

IDC can be successfully applied in the numerical modelling of

P/M metal forming processes.

5. Conclusions

The porous plasticity criteria of Shima and Oyane, Doraivelu

et al. and Lee and Kim present difculties in modelling the

mechanical behaviour of sintered parts with low values of the

initial relative density. This is due to the inuence of the initial

relative density in the geometric hardening of the base material

and in the plastic Poisson coefcient.

The initial density criterion (IDC) that was proposed by

the authors takes this inuence into account and proved to

be able to provide better estimates of the apparent eld vari-

ables during the uniaxial compression of sintered copper powder

specimens.

A new indirect method for determining the stressstrain

behaviour of the base material was also proposed as an alter-

native to the commonly utilised approximate procedures based

on the utilization of wrought materials with similar chemical

compositions.

The implementation of the initial density criterion (IDC)

in a nite element computer program that is currently being

developed by the authors proved to be successful in the numer-

ical modelling of a powder forged component. Assessment is

provided by comparing nite element predictions of the mate-

rial ow, geometrical prole, relative density and forging load

against experimental measurements obtained from laboratory-

controlled conditions.

References

[1] H.A. Kuhn, C.L. Downey, Deformation characteristics and plasticity the-

ory of sintered powder materials, Int. J. Powder Metall. 7 (1971) 15

25.

[2] R.J. Green, Aplasticity theory for porous solids, Int. J. Mech. Sci. 14 (1972)

215224.

[3] S. Shima, M. Oyane, Plasticity theory for porous metals, Int. J. Mech. Sci

18 (1976) 285291.

[4] S.M. Doraivelu, H.L. Gegel, J.S. Gunasekera, J.C. Malas, J.T. Morgan, J.F.

Thomas, Anewyield function for compressible P/Mmaterials., Int. J. Mech.

Sci. 26 (9/10) (1984) 527535.

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