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International Journal of Computer & Mathematical Sciences

IJCMS
ISSN 2347 8527
Volume 6, Issue 1
January 2017

Parametric Optimization of Gas Protected Stir Casting Process


(GPSCP) using Taguchi Method and Utility Concept

Amit Sharma1, R.M. Belokar2 and Sanjeev Kumar3


1,2,3
PEC University of Technology, Chandigarh, India

Abstract: In this paper optimization of the process parameters is carried out with the help of Taguchi method and Utility
concept. Al2024/red mud composite is prepared with the help of indigenously developed gas protected stir casting setup.
Reinforcement percentage, grain size and blade angle are chosen as the process parameters and their effects are studied
on the response variables such as tensile strength and microhardness. Taguchis L 9 orthogonal array is used to design
the experiment. Utility concept is used to develop a single response which was evaluated using Taguchi method using
higher the better criterion. ANOVA is applied to study the effect of individual factor on the Utility function and it was
found that reinforcement percentage was the most significant factor followed by grain size and blade angle. The applied
methodology resulted in improving the quality of the developed composite.
Keywords: Utility concept, Taguchi method, Al2024, Red Mud, MMC

1. Introduction
MMCs are the materials made of an elemental matrix in which a second phase reinforcement is placed and
uniformly distributed to achieve certain property enhancement [1]. At present, particles reinforced MMCs are
largely used for industrial application for their isotropic properties and ease of processing [2]. For the
fabrication of MMC materials that are commonly used are aluminium, titanium and magnesium, out of which
aluminium is of greater interest because of its light weight and low cost and find application in the field of
aerospace, medical, electronic and automobile [3]. There are several fabrication techniques available for
fabrication of composites out of which stir casting is widely employed by researchers all around the world
because of its simplicity and flexibility [4].
Red mud is emerging as reinforcement because of its low cost (almost free) as compared to the available
reinforcements and availability in huge quantity [5]. Red mud particulate contains oxides of silica, ferric, and
alumina. So it may be used as reinforcement to fabricate the MMCs. The advantages of red mud have
attracted many researchers to study the functional features, such as high strength, wear resistance, and
increased mechanical properties that are specifically required for aerospace and automobile applications [6].
Several authors have used the Taguchi based utility concept in optimizing process parameters effectively.
Yang and Hung used this methodology to optimize the thermoforming process of polymeric foams [7]. Author
concluded that the used methodology can provide an appropriate solution to yield a satisfactory product
quality for the multi response optimization problem. Surinder et al. used the methodology for optimization of
turning machining using uni-directional glass fiber reinforced plastic composite and carbide cutting tool [8].
Author concluded that the methodology was able to find the optimal solution to the multi response
optimization problem effectively. Pattnaik et al. used Utility-Fuzzy-Taguchi in investment casting process for
optimizing the multiple quality characteristics of wax patterns [9]. Author concluded that the proposed results
by the hybrid methodology compiled well with the experimental results. Gaitonde et al. used Taguchi based
Utility concept in optimizing the machining parameters in turning of free machining steel using a cemented
carbide tool [10]. Author concluded that the methodology was very helpful in optimizing several performance
characteristics simultaneously.
In the context of above discussion Taguchi method and Utility concept are used for simultaneously optimizing
the performance characteristics of Al2024/red mud metal matrix composite which is fabricated using
indigenously developed gas protected stir casting process (GPSCP). Reinforcement, grain size and blade angle

7 Amit Sharma, R.M. Belokar and Sanjeev Kumar


International Journal of Computer & Mathematical Sciences
IJCMS
ISSN 2347 8527
Volume 6, Issue 1
January 2017

are chosen as the input process parameters whereas tensile strength and microhardness are chosen as the
response variables. Taguchis orthogonal array (OA) is used to design the experiment and ANOVA is used to
analyze the results. Confirmatory experiments are performed and the results are in agreement with the
proposed results.

2. Experimental work
2.1 Material
In this paper Al2024 is used as the matrix material as it exhibits remarkable properties for use in aircraft
structural components, aircraft fittings, hardware, truck wheels and parts for the transportation industry. Red
Mud (an industrial waste) is used as the reinforcement and it is available free of cost. The elemental
composition of Al2024 and red mud are given in Table 1 and Table 2 respectively.
Table 1 Aluminium Alloy 2024 composition
Conc. Cu Mg Si Fe Mn Zn Ti Cr Al

% 4.29 1.29 0.07 0.2 0.54 0.03 0.06 0.01 Rem.

Table 2 Red mud composition

Conc. Al2O3 Fe2O3 SiO2 TiO2 Na2O CaO LOI

% 17-19 35-36 7-9 14-16 5-6 3-5 10-12

2.2 Plan of investigation


The factors and their levels considered in this study are shown in Table 3. Experiments are conducted with
three factors each at three levels, degrees of freedom (DOF) required for the design are six. The OA, which
satisfies the required DOF is L9. The experiments are conducted using L9 OA (Table 4) and the response
values obtained are given in Table 5.
Table 3 Process parameters and levels used in the experimentation
Process
Unit Levels
Parameters
1 2 3
Reinforcement % 5 10 15
Grain Size Microns 90 150 250
Blade Angle Degree 90 120 180

2.3 Description of experimental work


The MMC was manufactured using indigenously developed gas protected stir casting process (GPSCP). The
aluminium alloy was fed into the muffle furnace and was melted at 700oC. Temperature of the furnace was
lowered to 650oC, red mud of required wt% and with grain size of 90 was first preheated to 700 oC for 4 hrs
and then fed into the melt. Stirring was done at 700 rpm constantly with a stirrer under the influence of Argon
gas. Small amount of magnesium was added to increase the wettability. The developed slurry was then poured
into the prepared cylindrical mould. After pouring is over the melt was allowed to cool and solidify in the
mould. The same procedure was followed to prepare other samples of different wt % of red mud ranging from
5% to 15% with grain size of 90 and 250 respectively.

8 Amit Sharma, R.M. Belokar and Sanjeev Kumar


International Journal of Computer & Mathematical Sciences
IJCMS
ISSN 2347 8527
Volume 6, Issue 1
January 2017

3. Methodology
3.1 Taguchi method
Taguchis parametric design is an important tool for robust design. It offers a simple and systematic approach
to optimize design for performance, quality and cost. Taguchi method uses a special design of orthogonal
arrays to study the entire design space with a small number of experiments [11].
Taguchi method uses a statistical measure of performance called the signal to noise ratio (S/N ratio) to
evaluate the optimal parameter settings. S/N ratio is the ratio of mean to standard deviation. There are three
types of S/N ratio which are nominal the best, lower the best and higher the better [12]. In the present research
higher the better criterion is used for optimization process which is given below.
1 1
= 10 =1 2 (Eq. 1)

Where, : Observed value of the response characteristics,


: Number of tests in a trial
Table 4 Orthogonal Array (L9)
Trial Factors
No. Reinforcement Grain Size Blade Angle
1 2 2 3
2 1 2 2
3 3 2 1
4 1 3 3
5 3 3 2
6 3 1 3
7 2 1 2
8 2 3 1
9 1 1 1

3.2 Utility concept


A process or a product is normally evaluated on the basis of certain number of response characteristics,
sometimes conflicting in nature. The evaluation of process/product can be combined in a composite concept.
This composite concept has been termed as utility concept. The utility can be defined as the usefulness of a
process/product as per the expectations of the user [13]. The methodological basis for utility approach is to
transform the estimated response of each quality characteristics into a common index. Thus, the overall
usefulness of a process/product can be termed as utility [14]. It is the sum of the individual utilities of
various response characteristics of the process/product. The joint utility function can be expressed as:
1 , 2 , , = (1 1 , 2 2 , . , ) (Eq. 2)
Where is the measure of effectiveness of an attribute (response characteristics) i, n is the number of
attributes evaluating the outcome space. The overall utility function is the sum of individual utilities and is
given as follows:
1 , 2 , , = =1 (Eq. 3)
The attributes may be assigned weights depending upon the relative importance or priorities of the
characteristics. The overall utility function, after assigning the weights to the attributes can be expressed as:
1 , 2 , , = =1 ( ) (Eq. 4)
Where is the weight assigned to the attribute i. The sum of weights for all the attributes must be equal to
1.

9 Amit Sharma, R.M. Belokar and Sanjeev Kumar


International Journal of Computer & Mathematical Sciences
IJCMS
ISSN 2347 8527
Volume 6, Issue 1
January 2017

3.2.1 Determination of utility value:


A preference scale for each quality characteristics is constructed for determining its utility value [15]. Two
arbitrary numerical values 0 and 9 are assigned to the just acceptable and the best value of the quality
characteristics respectively. The preference number ( ) can be expressed on a logarithmic scale as follows:

= ( ) (Eq. 5)

Where is the value of any response characteristics or attribute i, is the just acceptable value of any
response characteristics or attribute i and A is a constant. The value of A can be found by the condition that
if = (where is the optimal or best value), then =9
9
= (Eq. 6)
log

The overall utility can be calculated as follows:
= =1 (Eq. 7)

Subject to the condition =1 = 1 (Eq. 8)
3.3 Optimization algorithm
1. Find optimal values of the quality characteristics using Taguchi method
2. Construct preference scale and derive values for each quality characteristics
3. Assign weights to the individual quality characteristics
4. Calculate utility values
5. Analyze the utility values using Taguchi method and find the optimal settings of process parameters
6. Calculate the mean and confidence interval based on the optimum settings
7. Conduct confirmatory experiments based on the optimal settings

4. Results and Discussion


In this paper Taguchi method and Utility concept is used for optimizing the tensile strength and microhardness
of the Al2024/red mud composite developed using gas protected stir casting process. The optimization is
carried out as per the steps provided in the optimization algorithm.
Step 1: The response values of the individual quality characteristics are represented in Table 5. These results
are analyzed using Taguchi method and the predicted values of the quality characteristics at the optimal
settings are mentioned in Table 6.

Table 5 Experimental results of tensile strength and microhardness


Tensile Strength Microhardness
Exp. S/N ratio S/N ratio
R1 R2 R3 R1 R2 R3
No. (dB) (dB)
1 142.14 155.83 159.9 43.67 74 71.2 72.8 37.23
2 141.88 149.66 156.63 43.48 72.1 74.8 75.3 37.4
3 176.53 187.59 184.65 45.24 79.4 78.3 78.2 37.91
4 115.43 130.56 128.21 41.91 68.4 67.5 64.7 36.51
5 160.86 166.23 171.18 44.08 76.2 74.8 75.2 37.55
6 162.25 175.2 179.72 44.73 79.5 78.4 77.8 37.91
7 155.32 165.31 166.37 44.2 75.1 74.4 75.8 37.51
8 141.47 151.86 152.12 43.43 72.2 69.4 69.8 36.96
9 151.52 160.35 154.66 43.83 73 74.1 73.1 37.31

10 Amit Sharma, R.M. Belokar and Sanjeev Kumar


International Journal of Computer & Mathematical Sciences
IJCMS
ISSN 2347 8527
Volume 6, Issue 1
January 2017

Table 6 Optimal values of process parameters

Serial No Response Variable Predicted Optimal Value


1 Tensile Strength 188.74
2 Microhardness 81.07

Step 2: Using the optimum values of the quality characteristics the preference scale are constructed for each
quality characteristics which are shown below.

= 41.82 log (Eq. 9)
115

= 87.65 log 64 (Eq. 10)
With the help of the preference scale the values of individual quality characteristics are evaluated which are
shown in Table 7.

Table 7 Derived values using preference scale


Tensile Strength Microhardness
Exp. No. R1 R2 R3 R1 R2 R3
1 3.85 5.52 5.99 5.53 4.06 4.90
2 3.81 4.78 5.61 4.54 5.94 6.19
3 7.78 8.89 8.60 8.21 7.68 7.63
4 0.07 2.30 1.97 2.53 2.03 0.41
5 6.10 6.69 7.22 6.64 5.94 6.14
6 6.25 7.65 8.11 8.26 7.73 7.43
7 5.46 6.59 6.71 6.09 5.73 6.44
8 3.76 5.05 5.08 4.59 3.08 3.30
9 5.01 6.04 5.38 5.01 5.58 5.06

Step 3: Next step is to assign weights to the individual quality characteristics. Values of the weights are based
on the experience and the end use of the product subject to the condition given in eq. 8 which must be
satisfied. In this paper equal weights are assigned to both the quality characteristics (Table 8) assuming both
the quality characteristics are equally important.
Table 8 Assigned values of weights
Serial No Response Variable Weight Value
1 Tensile Strength 0.5
2 Microhardness 0.5

Step 4: After the weights are assigned to individual quality characteristics, next step is to derive the utility
values using the preference scale as mentions in eq. 9 and 10. The derived utility values as shown in Table 9.

11 Amit Sharma, R.M. Belokar and Sanjeev Kumar


International Journal of Computer & Mathematical Sciences
IJCMS
ISSN 2347 8527
Volume 6, Issue 1
January 2017

Table 9 Calculated Utility values


Utility Values
Exp.
No. S/N ratio
R1 R2 R3
(dB)
1 4.69 4.79 5.45 13.93
2 4.18 5.36 5.90 14.23
3 8.00 8.28 8.11 18.20
4 1.30 2.17 1.19 3.82
5 6.37 6.31 6.68 16.20
6 7.25 7.69 7.77 17.58
7 5.77 6.16 6.57 15.81
8 4.18 4.07 4.19 12.35
9 5.01 5.81 5.22 14.56

Step 5: The derived utility values are analyzed with the help of Taguchi method using the higher the better
criterion as given in eq.1. The response table for means and S/N ratio based on the utility function are given in
Table 10 and Table 11. Figure 1 shows the effect of individual process parameter on the utility values. From
the figure it is observed that the optimal settings of process parameters are found to be A3, B1 and C2 which
results in the maximization of the utility values. Results of ANOVA are provided in Table 12 which reveals
that reinforcement (58.44%) was found to be the most significant process parameter followed by grain size
(31.41) and blade angle (9.48%). The average values of the individual quality characteristics at the optimal
settings are given in Table 13.
Table 10 Average values of Utility function
Response Table for Means
Level Reinforcement Grain Size Blade Angle
1 4.015 6.362 5.874
2 5.096 6.083 5.923
3 7.385 4.051 4.699
Delta 3.37 2.311 1.224
Rank 1 2 3

Table 11 Average values of S/N ratios based on Utility function


Response Table for Signal to Noise Ratios
Larger is better
Level Reinforcement Grain Size Blade Angle
1 10.87 15.98 15.04
2 14.03 15.45 15.41
3 17.33 10.79 11.78
Delta 6.46 5.19 3.63
Rank 1 2 3

12 Amit Sharma, R.M. Belokar and Sanjeev Kumar


International Journal of Computer & Mathematical Sciences
IJCMS
ISSN 2347 8527
Volume 6, Issue 1
January 2017

Figure 1 Main effect plot of the S/N ratios based on Utility function
Table 12 ANOVA table for Utility function
Analysis of Variance for Means
Source DOF Seq. SS Adj. SS V F-ratio % Contribution
Reinforcement 2 17.77 17.77 8.88 85.59 58.44
Grain Size 2 9.55 9.55 4.77 46.00 31.41
Blade Angle 2 2.88 2.88 1.44 13.88 9.48
Residual Error 2 0.21 0.21 0.10 0.68
Total 8 30.41

Table 13 Average values of the response variables at the optimum conditions


Tensile Strength Microhardness
Levels
(MPa) (HV)
A3 172.8 77.46
B1 165.6 75.58
C2 155.4 74.84

Step 6: Next step is to calculate the mean and the confidence interval of individual quality characteristics
using the optimal settings found in the previous step. The expected mean at the optimal settings () is
calculated by using the following model,
= 3 + 1 + 2 2 (Eq. 11)
= 3 + 1 + 2 2 (Eq. 12)

13 Amit Sharma, R.M. Belokar and Sanjeev Kumar


International Journal of Computer & Mathematical Sciences
IJCMS
ISSN 2347 8527
Volume 6, Issue 1
January 2017

Where 3 , 1 2 are the mean values of the tensile strength and microhardness at their respective levels.
and is the overall mean of average of tensile strength and microhardness.
Confidence interval (CI) is calculated with the help of the equation given below:
1 1
= 1,
+ (Eq. 13)

Where 1, is the F-ratio at a significance level of %, is the risk, fe is the error degrees of freedom, Ve
is the variance of error, neff is the effective number of replications and R is the number of confirmation tests.
=N/[1+total DOF in the estimation of mean] (Eq. 14)
Where N is the total number of results
Step 7: This is the final step of the optimization process. In this step experiments are conducted using the
optimal settings. The results of the confirmatory experiments at the optimal settings of process parameters for
tensile strength and microhardness are presented in Table 14. It can be seen that the average values of the
response characteristics falls well within the 95% CICE of the optimal range of the respective response
characteristics.
Table 14 Results of confirmation experiment

Optimum At 95% Confidence


Response Variable Average Values
condition Interval

Tensile Strength 180.35 MPa 176.17< <186.31


A3B1C2
Microhardness 82.1 HV 79.59< <82.54

5. Conclusion
The important conclusions drawn from the research work are mentioned below:
1. The quality of the casting can be improved with the help of Taguchi method and Utility concept.
2. From the ANOVA analysis it is observed that reinforcement percentage has the major effect on the utility
function followed by grain size and blade angle.
3. The optimum condition of the process parameters which were evaluated with the help of utility concept
were found to be A3, B1 and C2 where A represent reinforcement percentage, B represent grain size and
C represent blade angle.
4. The contribution of process parameters that resulted in higher value of utility function was found out to be
reinforcement (58.44%), grain size (31.41%) and blade angle (9.48%) with an error of 0.68%.

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14 Amit Sharma, R.M. Belokar and Sanjeev Kumar


International Journal of Computer & Mathematical Sciences
IJCMS
ISSN 2347 8527
Volume 6, Issue 1
January 2017

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15 Amit Sharma, R.M. Belokar and Sanjeev Kumar