Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
UANANISA, H.J.; SIYASIYA, C.W.; STUMPF, W.E. and PAPO, M.J.. The influence of thermomechanical processing on the surface quality of an AISI 436 ferritic stainless steel. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2015, vol.115, n.10, pp. 981-986. ISSN 2411-9717. http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2411-9717/2015/v115n10a13.
The need to reduce weight while maintaining good mechanical properties in materials used in the automotive industry has over the years seen an increased exploitation of various steels to meet this new demand. In line with this development, the ferritic stainless steel family has seen a wide application in this industry, with the AISI 436 type increasingly being used for automotive trims and mufflers for exhaust systems, as well as a significant part of this steel's application being for the manufacture of wheel nuts and wheel nut caps in trucks, mainly through the deep drawing process. However, there have been reports of some poor surface roughening of this material during deep drawing, with tearing and/or cracking also reported in some instances. This has been suspected to possibly be associated with some local differences in localized mechanical properties between grains and grain clusters of the rolled and annealed material. In order to investigate the poor surface roughness exhibited by AISI 436 ferritic stainless steel (FSS) during deep-drawing, Lankford values (R-mean and Ar), grain size, and microtextures of various sheet samples from this steel were studied. The chemical composition range for the samples was 0.013-0.017% C, 17-17.4% Cr, 0.9-1% Mo, and 0.4-0.5% Nb. The steels were subjected to various hot and cold rolling processing routes i.e. involving industrial direct rolling (DR) or intermediate annealing rolling (IR), and the drawability and final surface qualities of the steels were compared. It was found that the DR route gave an average R-mean and Ar value of 1.9 and -1.4 respectively, while the IR route yielded an average R-mean and Ar value of 1.6 and 0.52 respectively. The high Ar value for the DR processing route had a substantial adverse effect on the drawability. IR samples exhibited a smoother surface finish on visual inspection, while clear flow lines were visible on the DR samples, despite the fact that DR is the preferred industrial processing route due to the reduced production costs it offers. This observation was also confirmed through SEM examinations. The difference in the surface quality was attributed to microtexture. However, the mechanism responsible for this difference still needs to be identified.
Keywords : ferritic stainless steel; formability; microtexture; EBSD.