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Journal of Materials Processing Technology 179 (2006) 3643

A new yield function for porous materials


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.

Corresponding author. Fax: +351 21 841 90 58.


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

C, during 30 min in a vacuum atmosphere of


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.
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