Titanium alloy microstructure fingerprint plots from in-process machining

Suárez Fernández, D. and Wynne, B. P. and Crawforth, P. and Jackson, M. (2021) Titanium alloy microstructure fingerprint plots from in-process machining. Materials Science and Engineering A, 811. 141074. ISSN 0921-5093 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.msea.2021.141074)

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Titanium alloy components require several machining stages of forged billets which are supplied in a range of annealing conditions. Generally, the machining performance is influenced by the heat treatment and changes in billet microstructures are often overlooked by tool manufacturers and machinists. Due to the non-linear strain path during primary forging, titanium alloy billets are anisotropic in nature and require ex-situ non-destructive evaluation (NDE) during the manufacturing stages to ensure excellent service performance, particularly in safety-critical aerospace components. In this study, the local analysis of the fluctuations presented in the force response during face-turning operations is directly linked to the billet heat treatment condition and presented as microstructure fingerprint plots. The evolution of cutting forces in four different billet conditions of the alpha + beta titanium alloy Ti–6Al–2Sn–4Zr–6Mo (Ti-6246) was measured. The magnitude and fluctuations in force were directly correlated to microstructural features derived from the heat treatments. In addition, local spatial high-resolution synchronization of the cutting forces was used to determine the effects of microstructure from the heterogeneous upstream forging process and subsequent heat treatment. These rapidly produced microstructure fingerprint plots are an important development step for providing manufacturers with an in-process machining NDE method: this will help to qualify material upstream prior to expensive secondary forging or finish machining stages.