Friction stir back extrusion has recently been identified as a method for manufacturing stronger, more ductile seamless tubes. However, most of the work to date has investigated tubes with low length to diameter ratios and there has been little work investigating the change in grain through the thickness of the tube wall. The current project presents preliminary results in an investigation of the effect of the stirring process on developing ultrafine grain through the tube wall. The long term goal of the project is to miniaturize the process in order to produce highly ductile microscale tubes for biomedical applicaions, microscale heat exchangers, and fuel cell manufacturing applications.

Friction stir back extrusion is a variation of friction stir processing and friction stir welding in that the end of a non-cutting tool rotates against a metal work piece, heats the work piece, and creates an ultrafine grain structure. The work described here considers tool speed and diameters when forming tubes from A1100-O aluminum work pieces. It was found that for rotations varying from 750 RPM to 2000 RPM that the maximum stir zone was approximately 250 μm at the bottom of the tube and approximately 50 μm in the walls. The outside diameter of the tubes was 12.5 mm and inside diameters of 6.35 mm and 9.3mm were produced.

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