Tailoring grain refinement through thickness in magnesium alloy via stationary shoulder friction stir processing and copper backing plate


To develop ultrafine grains (UFG) in 6.35 mm thick magnesium alloy, stationary shoulder friction stir processing (SSFSP) with steel and copper backing plates was conducted. Steel backing plate produced uniform fine grains (FG) size of 4.98, 4.75, 4.12 μm in top, middle, bottom of the stir zone (SZ), respectively. In contrast, copper backing plate tailored microstructure from FG (4.1 μm) in the top to UFG (0.96 μm) in the bottom of SZ. SSFSP produced uniform and gradient microstructures, altering temperature gradient by placing steel and copper backing plates, respectively. It is worth to note that UFG microstructure achieved without usage of external cooling, owning to the copper backing plate. Most of the grains found under ~2 μm size in UFG microstructure. FG and UFG microstructures contributed to the enhancement in the ductility and strength, respectively. UFG resulted in significant improvement in hardness and tensile strength by ~80% and 24% of the base material, respectively. The intensity of strong basal texture throughout the thickness found independent of the backing plate type. Microstructure evolutions across the SZ thickness for both processing conditions are discussed using electron back scattered diffraction (EBSD).
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