Dipl.-Ing. Dr.mont. Stefan Pogatscher
The conventional heat treatment strategy for wrought products of the 6xxx-series (e.g. plates) is a time, energy and cost-consuming process. After hot rolling, most products undergo several different heat treatment steps, like a solution treatment and artificial aging, to achieve the high requirements on strength and elongation. Therefore new heat treatment strategies are being developed to shorten the production process and achieve better material properties of 6xxx-series plates. Controlled quenching directly after hot rolling can shorten the heat treatment route significantly, by saving a separate solution treatment.
In order to increase the precipitation kinetics and age hardening response, the time-temperature-regime of quenching and artificial aging is studied. By controlling the quenching process, a formation of certain metastable nanosized precipitates should be promoted early in the process chain. This leads to a significantly shorter time required for artificial aging or a completely new strategy, totally avoiding a separate artificial aging step.
Improved energy efficiency, production capacity profitability and achievable strength are the major advantages of the heat treatment technology under investigation, which would guarantee a more sustainable production of 6xxx-series plates.
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