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Modelling of the age-hardening behavior in AA6xxx within a through-process modelling framework
The manufacturing of AA6xxx car body panels typically consists of rolling, ageing and forming processes. Thus, multiple simulation tools can be coupled to set up a through-process modelling (TPM) framework for predicting the evolution of microstructure and the final mechanical properties of these products. In order to realize such a TPM concept, various industrial processing phenomena were studied and modelled in the open innovation research cluster “Advanced Metals and Processes” (AMAP♯). This work focuses on the age hardening behavior which takes place during the industrial paint bake process. To reflect the microstructure evolution of this processing step, a multi-component precipitation model is developed. So far, the influences of thermomechanical processes, i.e. annealing temperature on the kinetics of MgxSiy precipitates during artificial aging were implemented. The precipitation model was linked to a yield strength model in order to simulate the evolution of mechanical properties within the TPM framework. For validation, the evolution of microstructure and mechanical properties of an AA6016 alloy during artificial ageing was investigated via transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and tensile testing. The simulation results are in agreement with experimental observations.