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Institute of Ferrous Metallurgy

RWTH Aachen

10.1 Cold rolling and recrystallization annealing


Introduction
Pickling & Cold rolling
Recrystallization annealing & skin pass
Cold rolled steels for automotive applications

Topic 10:
Metallurgical aspects during cold strip processing
Dipl.-Ing. Friedrich Luther

Outline

10.1 Cold rolling and recrystallization annealing


Introduction
Pickling & Cold rolling
Recrystallization annealing & skin pass
Cold rolled steels for automotive applications

Cold rolling mills are supplied with hot rolled coils of various
grades, depending on the final characteristics to be optained.
Cold rolling enables:
Attainment of the required final thickness which is not
possible to obtain by hot rolling, due to excessive cooling.
Achievement of the mechanical properties (drawability,
blankability, strength), by control of the microstructure.
Definition of the final surface appearance and properties
(aptitude for surface treatment, brightness, drawability), by
eliminating oxidized layers and inducing a controlled
roughness.
Attainment of the required flatness.

Source: Branger, G et al.: The Book of Steel, Lavoisier Publishing, Lavoisier, 1996.

Outline

Function of cold rolling

Thin strip is the general term used to desribe the coiled sheet
material used in the automotive industry (bodywork and
structural parts), domestic appliances, metallic furniture, the
building industry (sections, walling, etc.), and even in small
electric motors (low silicon steels).
These products are generally delivered to the customer in
thicknesses from 0.5 to 3 mm and in widths up to 1900 mm.
They are delivered either bare, i.e. protected only by a film of
oil, or coated.
The starting material for cold rolling is a coil of hot rolled strip,
of thickness between 2 and 6 mm.
Source: Branger, G et al.: The Book of Steel, Lavoisier Publishing, Lavoisier, 1996.

Thin strip

Source: Branger, G et al.: The Book of Steel, Lavoisier Publishing, Lavoisier, 1996.

Applications for thin strip

continuous
casting

hot rolling

pickling

cold rolling

batch
annealing

10.1 Cold rolling and recrystallization annealing


Introduction
Pickling & Cold rolling
Recrystallization annealing & skin pass
Cold rolled steels for automotive applications

continuous
annealing +tr

temper
rolling (tr)
elektrolytic
strip coating

hot dip metal


coating +tr

plastic
coating
arrangement +
dispatch

Outline

Processing of thin strip

The hot rolled strip is covered with scale, which is incompatible


with subsequent cold rolling, since it would behave as a
foreign body between the steel and the rolls.
The rolling force would mark the strip, or even perforate it, and
excessive surface roughness would cause a high and irregular
friction coefficient.
The scale must therefore be removed, and this is done by
pickling in an acid bath.

Source: Branger, G et al.: The Book of Steel, Lavoisier Publishing, Lavoisier, 1996.

The typical architecture of a pickling plant includes:


Entry section
- uncoilers
- flash welding station
- strip accumulator/ looping pit
Central pickling section
- oxide breaker
- tension levelers
- acid tanks
Exit section
- exit accumulator
- edge trimming shear
- inspection station
- oiling apparatus
- coilers
Source: Branger, G et al.: The Book of Steel, Lavoisier Publishing, Lavoisier, 1996.

Pickling

Pickling plant layout

In cold rolling, the pickled strip is fed between very hard rolls,
with both high roll forces and high tension.

Pickling line (Neuwied)


total length
thickness (hot strip)
width (hot strip)
speed (max.)
etchant
concentration
temperature
input power

Pickling line (Andernach)


190 m
1.5-5.0 m
610-1630 mm

entry section
270 m/min

pickling section
160 m/min
HCl
20-120 g HCl/l
65-75 C
3000 kVA

total length
thickness (hot strip)
width (hot strip)
speed (max.)
etchant
concentration
temperature
input power

207 m
1.5-3.0 m
600-1250 mm
entry section
610 m/min

pickling section
245 m/min
H2SO4
15-25 %
100-105 C
4800 kVA

This is performed either in a


single reversing stand, equipped with an uncoiler and a
coiler, by making several passes in alternate directions, or
more often,
in continuous tandem mills, where the strip is engaged in
several stands simultaneously, enabling high tension forces to
be applied. The productivity of continuous mills is much higher
than for reversing mills.

Source: Branger, G et al.: The Book of Steel, Lavoisier Publishing, Lavoisier, 1996.

Pickling line

Cold rolling

Source: http://www.thyssenkrupp.com/

Cold rolling mill

Continuous tandem mill

The rolling forces are very high, typically 700 to 1200 t/m of width. A mill
stand is composed of a housing with ring-shaped columns, which transmit
the rolling load to the rolls via chucks. In modern mills, screwdown is
obtained with the aid of hydraulic pistons with precise position control (1 to
2 m). The work rolls must have relatively small diameters and therefore
tend to bend. This is prevented by the use of large diameter back-up rolls.
Two types of stand are commonly encountered:
"Four-high" stands with two 500-600 mm diameter work rolls, which are
generally driven, supported by two 1400 to 1500 mm diameter back-up
rolls.
"Six-high stands, in which intermediate shift rolls are inserted
between the 300-400 mm diameter work rolls and the back-up rolls,
enabling the mill to be adapted to the strip width. This configuration
allows the use of smaller diameter work rolls, and makes it possible to
change the load distribution on the strip, depending on the position of the
ends of the intermediate rolls.
Source: Branger, G et al.: The Book of Steel, Lavoisier Publishing, Lavoisier, 1996.

Mill stands

In each stand n, the thickness is reduced from the entry value


en-1 to en at the exit. The reduction in thickness and increase in
length occur without significant lateral spread.
If vn-1 is the speed of the strip at the entry to stand n, and vn
that at the exit, conservation of mass flowrate leads to the
following relation:

vn-1 en-1 = vn en
The strip accelerates as it moves through the mill!
Source: Branger, G et al.: The Book of Steel, Lavoisier Publishing, Lavoisier, 1996.

Principle

Source: Branger, G et al.: The Book of Steel, Lavoisier Publishing, Lavoisier, 1996.

Cross section of six-high


and four-high stands

The rolling mill must transmit a very high pressure to the strip
via the rolls. This pressure depends on the flow stress of the
strip, the front and back tension forces, and the friction
between the rolls and the strip.
The rolling force per unit width is the integral of the pressure
along the contact arc, and will therefore increase with the
length of the roll bite.
The length of the roll bite increases with the diameter of the
work rolls, the strip thickness, the reduction ratio, and the
extent of roll flattening, which itself depends on the roll
pressure.
Source: Branger, G et al.: The Book of Steel, Lavoisier Publishing, Lavoisier, 1996.

Roll bite

Cold working is accompanied by an increase in the apparent


yield stress, or flow stress, which therefore rises as the metal
moves through the roll gap. In parallel, the ductility decreases,
and the metal tends to become brittle.
Source: Branger, G et al.: The Book of Steel, Lavoisier Publishing, Lavoisier, 1996.

Variation of rolling pressure and strip flow


stress with position in the roll bite

Source: Branger, G et al.: The Book of Steel, Lavoisier Publishing, Lavoisier, 1996.

Variation of metal flow stress due to cold


work for two steel grades

In the roll bite, the sheet undergoes cold working, involving the
creation and displacement of dislocations on preferred crystal
planes.

UTS, MPa

The microstructure is modified by elongation and rotation of


the grains, which become aligned along the rolling direction,
with the formation of a substructure of dislocation cells and
deformation bands.

ferritic
ferritic-bainitic
austenitic
pearlitic

The hard second phase particles (cementite and inclusions),


are unable to deform significantly and break up into strings
aligned in the rolling direction and separated by microcracks.
cold reduction, %
Source: Branger, G et al.: The Book of Steel, Lavoisier Publishing, Lavoisier, 1996.

Structure development in roll bite

Work hardening of
different microstructures

After cold rolling the strain hardened strip is not suitable for
forming processes.
10.1 Cold rolling and recrystallization annealing
Introduction
Pickling & Cold rolling
Recrystallization annealing & skin pass
Cold rolled steels for automotive applications

The purpose of recrystallization annealing is to produce a new


grain structure with an optimum grain size, in order to control
the yield strength, and in the case of steels for drawing
applications, to develop favorable crystallographic textures
corresponding to a high strain ratio r.

Source: Branger, G et al.: The Book of Steel, Lavoisier Publishing, Lavoisier, 1996.

Outline

Recrystallization annealing

The static recrystallization after heavy cold rolling reduction is


a thermally activated process, which can be characterized by
an activation energy, usually in the order of magnitude of 125
kJ/mole for rimmed steels, 160 kJ/mole for aluminium killed
steels and 350 kJ/mole for microalloyed steels including IF
steels.
Activation energies <200 kJ/mole in recrystallization can be
connected with the self-diffusion of iron, while the high
activation energies of microalloyed steels indicate
precipitation, possibly also particle growth as the
recrystallization controlling factor.

Source: A.R. Marder, Progress in Materials Science 45 (2000) 191-271.

Various metallurgical changes take place during the annealing


process including
recovery,
recrystallization and
grain growth as well as the
formation, growth or dissolution of precipitates or
transformation products.
It is the complex controlled interaction of these changes which
enables the wide range of combinations of properties to be
obtained depending on the composition of the steel and the
processing.
Source: A.R. Marder, Progress in Materials Science 45 (2000) 191-271.

Recrystallization

Metallurgical effects during annealing

batch annealing process

1
5

2
6

3
7

Cold rolling mill

continuous annealing line

1)
2)
3)
4)

batch-type annealing furnace


cooling
temper rolling mill
recoiling, trimming, inspection, oiling

5)
6)
7)
8)
9)

cleaning
annealing
cooling
temper milling
trimming, inspection, oiling

Source: A.R. Marder, Progress in Materials Science 45 (2000) 191-271.

Typical recrystallization
curves for IF steels

Traditionally, annealing has been usually carried out by batch


annealing in which several tightly wound coils are stacked on
top of each other. They are enclosed by a furnace cover which
contains a protective gas, nitrogen with 5% hydrogen or 100%
hydrogen, which is circulated to promote heat transfer from the
cover and into the steel.
The steel is slowly heated to a temperature between 600 and
700C, the lower temperature given by the required
recrystallization, the upper by the danger of sticking. The
improved heat transfer characteristics of hydrogen in
combination with improved fans and cooling devices are used
in high convection batch annealing, leading to shorter
annealing cycles and more uniform temperature distributions.
Source: A.R. Marder, Progress in Materials Science 45 (2000) 191-271.

Batch annealing

Batch annealing and


continuous annealing process

The other commonly used method of annealing is continuous


annealing, with a total cycle time of up to a few minutes. This
is carried out either in continuous annealing and processing
lines for uncoated strip or in hot-dip galvanizing lines.
The main difference is in the overaging part of the annealing
cycle. The main problem of continuous annealing is the high
cooling rate after soaking; by this carbon is supersaturated and
needs to be precipitated in order to control the aging properties
of the strip.
The precipitation behavior is dependent on the cooling and
overaging conditions applied during continuous annealing
treatment,
Source: A.R. Marder, Progress in Materials Science 45 (2000) 191-271.

Continuous annealing

batch-type annealing furnace

continuous annealing line


700-850C

ca. 10K/h

<150C

ca. 50K/h

10-100K/s

temperature, C

temperature, C

<720C

>10 K/s
300-400C
1000K/s
<40C

<40C
heating

soaking

1. cooling

2. cooling

heating soaking 1. cooling 2. cooling


overaging
time, <10min

time, up to 4 days

T-t-curve, batch annealing


and continuous annealing

Metallurgical effects
during continuous annealing

Batch annealing:
Low investment costs
Use of aluminum-killed steels which do not require vacuum
refining or stabilizing with titanium or niobium.
Reliable production of standard grades with reproducible
mechanical properties and good surface cleanness.
Continuous annealing:
Drastic reduction of stocks and lead times.
Production of high strength steels and "super-drawable"
grades with small scatter in mechanical properties.
The production of strip with very high surface cleanness.

Influence of different annealing cycles


on cementite distribution

Steel group
Unalloyed deep drawing
steel, batch annealed
Microalloyed deep
drawing steel
Unalloyed d eep drawing
steel, continuously
annealed
Microalloyed. steel for
cold deformation
Dual phase steel
TRIP steel
QT-steel,
soft annealed

Metallographic cold rolled


microstructure
ferrite,
pancake
ferrite,
equiaxed

Standard
DIN EN 10130

DIN EN 10130

Parameter of
microstructure
grain size number 7 -8
extension grade 4:1

grain size number 8 -9

ferrite,
equiaxed, fine grained

DIN EN 10149

grain size number 10

ferrite + martensite

SEW 097

5-15 vol% martensite

ferrite + bainite +
retained austenite
ferrite + pearlite,
spheroidised

--DIN EN 10083

40 vol% bainite,
10 vol% retained austenite
carbide formation
(SEP 1520)

Examples of typical microstructures


in cold strip

Comparison between batch and


continuous annealing

In steels containing interstitial elements (carbon and nitrogen),


the metal shows a yield point elongation effect after annealing,
due to initial pinning of residual dislocations by these species.
The purpose of skin-pass rolling is to introduce a sufficient
amount of strain to increase the dislocation density and
eliminate the yield point elongation, conferring stable
mechanical properties.
By appropriately texturing the rolls, it also ensures the
roughness required for the intended application and improves
the flatness.

Skin pass/ temper rolling

cold reduction, %

2-stand temper rolling mill

Influence of cold reduction


during temper rolling

10.1 Cold rolling and recrystallization annealing


Introduction
Pickling & Cold rolling
Recrystallization annealing & skin pass
Cold rolled steels for automotive applications

Outline

Cold rolled standard steel


for autobody sheets (compositions)

Cold rolled standard steel


for autobody sheets (properties)

Cold rolled special steel


for autobody sheets (properties)

Cold rolled special steel


for autobody sheets (compositions)