Modeling of the Stainless Steel Tube Extrusion Process
Abstract: Seamless tubes of stainless steel can be extruded using glass as a lubricant in the Ugine-Sejournet process. The process is performed at high temperature and is associated with large deformations and high strain rates. The use of finite element modeling (FEM) in the analysis and design of extrusion and other metal forming processes is constantly increasing. Computer models that with adequate accuracy can describe the material behavior during extrusion can be very useful for product and process development. The process development in industrial extrusion today is, to a great extent, based on trial and error. This often involves full size experiments which are expensive, time consuming and interfere with the production. It would be of great value if these experiments could be performed in a computer. In this work, FE models of the stainless steel tube extrusion process were developed and used. Simulations were carried out for different tube dimensions and three different materials: two austenitic stainless steels and one duplex (austenitic/ferritic) stainless steel. The models were validated by comparing the predicted values of extrusion force with measurements from production presses. A large number of input parameters are used in a FE analysis of extrusion. This includes boundary conditions, initial conditions and parameters that describe the mechanical and thermal properties of the material. The accuracy of the extrusion simulation depends, to a large extent, on the accuracy of these parameters. Experimental work, both in the form of material testing and production trials, was performed in order to give an accurate description of the input parameters in these extrusion models. A sensitivity analysis was performed for one of the models and the results showed that the initial billet temperature is the parameter that has the strongest impact on the extrusion force. In order to study the temperature evolution in the billet during manufacturing, the entire process chain at extrusion of stainless steel tubes was simulated using FEM. This process flow model includes sub-models of induction heating, expansion and extrusion. The work includes the use of a dislocation density-based material model for the AISI type 316L stainless steel. It is expected that this physically based model can be extrapolated to a wider range of strains, strain rates and temperatures than an empirical model, provided that the correct physical processes are described by the model and that no new phenomena occur. This is of interest for steel extrusion simulations since this process is carried out at higher strains and strain rates than what are normally used in mechanical laboratory tests. The developed models have given important contributions to the understanding of different phenomena that occur during extrusion of stainless steel tubes, and can be used to analyze how different process parameters affect the extrusion process.
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