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Re-crystallization in metals by high-power ultrasonic waves

IME 874 Graduate Seminar

Review of

Re crystallization in metals by Inducing High power Ultrasonic Waves

Reviewed by
Ajit Kumar Kameshwararao-K733Y672
May 1, 2015
Prof: Dr. Wilfredo Moscoso-Kingsley

Re-crystallization in metals by high-power ultrasonic waves

Re crystallization in metals by Inducing High power Ultrasonic Waves



Ultrasound is acoustic (sound) energy in the form of waves

having a frequency above the human hearing range. The
highest frequency that the human ear can detect is
approximately 20 thousand cycles per second (20,000 Hz).
This is where the sonic range ends, and where the ultrasonic
range begins. Ultrasound is used in electronic, navigational,
industrial, and security applications. It is also used in medicine
to view internal organs of the body Ultrasound can be used to
locate objects by means similar to the principle by
which radar works. High-frequency acoustic waves reflect
from objects, even comparatively small ones, because of the
short wavelength.
The applications of ultrasonic waves are generally divided
into two groups: low and high intensity. Low-intensity
applications are those wherein the objective is to obtain
information about the propagation medium without producing
any modification in its state. On the contrary, high-intensity
applications are those wherein the ultrasonic energy is used to
produce permanent changes in the treated medium. Highpower ultrasound is the part of ultrasound devoted to highintensity applications. The limit between low and high intensity
is very difficult to fix, but it can be approximately established
for intensity values that, depending on the medium, vary
between 0.1 W=cm2 and 1 W=cm2 . The use of high-intensity
ultrasonic waves in industrial processing is generally based on
the adequate exploitation of a series of mechanisms activated
by the ultrasonic energy such as heat, agitation, diffusion,
interface instabilities, friction, mechanical rupture, chemical
effects, etc. These mechanisms can be employed to produce or
to enhance a wide range of processes such as plastic and metal
welding, machining, metal forming, etc., in solids or cleaning,
atomization, emulsification and dispersion, degassing,
extraction, defoaming, particle agglomeration, drying and
dewatering, sonochemical reactions, etc., in fluids
The power ultrasonic processes are very much dependent
on the irradiated medium. In fact, a typical characteristic of
high-intensity ultrasonic waves is their ability to produce
different phenomena in different media in such a way that
these phenomena seem to be opposite at times


There are different methods for the ultrasonics most

commonly used methods are

Mechanical Method


Piezoelectric generator


Magnetostriction generator
Mechanical method is one of the oldest methods for
producing ultrasonic waves up to 100kHz frequencies

using Galtons whistle. It was limited due to its limited

frequency range.

Piezoelectric Generator
This method is based on the piezoelectric effect and
was developed by langevin in 1917. The piezo electric
effect is used to provide e.m.f and the tuning is
achieved by a variable condenser as shown below

In the above fig Q is the crystal placed in between the

metals A and B this combination forms parallel condenser as
dielectric. The metal plates are connected to the primary circuit
of the transformer which is coupled to the oscillatory circuit of
the triode valve. If the natural frequency of the triode valve
coincides with the crystal frequency resonance will occur and
the crystal is set to mechanical vibrations due to piezoelectric
effect. Using a quartz crystal Ultrasonic frequencies of 540kHz
can be produced. Tourmaline crystal may be used to generate
frequencies of 1.5x10^8 Hz

Magnetostriction Generator
The principle of Magnetostriction effect is utilized in this
for production of ultrasonics, according to this effect a bar of
ferromagnetic material like nickel or iron changes its length
when it is placed in the strong magnetic field applied to its
length. A nickel rod placed in a rapidly varying magnetic field
alternately expands and contracts with twice the frequency of
the applied magnetic field. The expansion and contraction in
the rod produces ultrasonic sound waves in the medium
surrounding the nickel rod. The frequency of the ultrasonics
produced ranges from 8kHz to 20Khz and however the range
of frequencies depend on the mode of vibration of the
ferromagnetic material and may vary from few hundred to
300k Hz .
To generate the ultrasonics, the following circuit devised by
G.W. Pierce is used. The specimen rod AB normally invar is
placed inside a solenoid parallel to its axis. A high frequency
current is passed through the solenoid and consequently the rod
is magnetized ad demagnetized with varying current thus
producing ultrasonics.

Re-crystallization in metals by high-power ultrasonic waves

If the length of the rod is such that he frequency of its

vibration is equal to the frequency of the applied current
resonance and thereby the amplitude of the vibration is
increased. As shown in the figure above 2 co axial coils A1 and
A2 are wound on the same rod. The coil A1 is connected to the
grid and the coil A2 is connected to the plate of the triode
valve. The variable condenser is adjusted that it should produce
a periodically carrying magnetic field in it. This change in the
length of the rod is connected to the grid. As a result of change
in the magnetic flux, an induced e.m.f is produced in the coil
A1 fed to the grid. The change in the e.m.f in the grid circuit
produced large oscillatory current in plate circuit and hence it
increases the Magnetostriction effect in the specimen rod so
ultrasonics is produced

An ultrasonic generator converts ac voltage of 50 Hz

to high frequency voltage which is transmitted to the
transducer, where it transforms into mechanical vibrations.
When the transducer is submerged in liquid the vibrations
cause pressure to build up in the liquid, e.g. acoustic waves.
The generated acoustic waves at some critical intensity
generate acoustic streaming which then forms microscopic
bubbles. The bubbles expand during negative excursion and
collapse violently during positive excursion which is referred
to as Cavitation. Cavitation is formation of a gas bubble in
liquid during the rarefaction cycle. During the compression cycle
the gas bubble collapses. During the collapse, tremendous
pressure is built up. The pressure may be of the order of several
thousand atmospheres. Cavitation produces most of the
mechanical and chemical effects in the high intensity sound
application to various mediums.

III- Effect of ultrasonics in melts

Nucleation of the primary phase is the first step in the
transformation of molten alloys into the solid state. Generally,
any factor which increases the number of nucleation sites or
reduces growth rate, yields fine grains in the as-cast aluminum
alloys. Based on this, many techniques of grain refinement are
available in casting practices, such as rapid solidification
deliberate addition of inoculants and forced action upon melt
which includes mechanical or magneto-hydrodynamic stirring
and ultrasonic vibration. The main mechanism of these
techniques is increasing the number of nuclei by
heterogeneous nucleation during solidification. Ultrasonic
melt treatment (UST) is known to induce grain refining in
aluminum alloys. The basic principle is introduction of
acoustic waves with a frequency higher than 17 kHz into
liquid metal. High frequency and high amplitude oscillations
result in cavitation of the melt and also promote intense
mixing through agitation. The ultrasonic generator converts
the power supply (100-250 Volts, 50-60 Hz) into a 20 to 30
kHz, 800-1000 Volts electrical signal. This signal is applied to
piezo-electrical ceramics (included in the converter) that will
convert this signal into mechanical oscillations. These
oscillations will be amplified by the booster and converter,
thus creating a hammer. The converter converts electricity into
high frequency mechanical vibration. The active elements are
usually piezoelectric ceramics. The booster (optional) serves
as an amplitude transformer. Amplitude magnification or
reduction is achieved by certain design features or the
geometrical shape of the booster.

Grain Refinement through Ultrasonics

Grain size has a measurable effect on most mechanical
properties. For example, at room temperature, hardness, yield
strength, tensile strength, fatigue strength and impact strength
all increase with decreasing grain size. Machinability is also
affected; rough machining favors coarse grain size while
finish machining favors fine grain size. The effect of grain
size is greatest on properties that are related to the early stages
of deformation. Thus, for example, yield stress is more
dependent on grain size than tensile strength. Fine-grain steels
do not harden quite as deeply and have fewer tendencies to
crack than coarse-grain steels of similar analysis. Also, finegrain steels have greater fatigue resistance, and a fine grain
size promotes a somewhat greater toughness and shock
resistance. Steels made fine grained by addition of aluminum
have machinability inferior to those made without aluminum.
Also, cold working frequently alters grain size by promoting
more rapid coarsening of the grains in critically stressed areas.
The original grain size characteristics, however, can usually be

Re-crystallization in metals by high-power ultrasonic waves

restored by stress relieving. Coarse-grain steels have better

creep and stress rupture properties because diffusion at high
temperatures is impeded by sub grain low-angle boundaries
present in coarse-grain steels
Numerous researchers have proposed that vibrating a
liquid metal at ultrasonic frequencies (typically ~20 kHz)
causes cavitation, which can reduce the grain size by (a)
inducing local changes in the melting temperature due to the
collapse of bubbles (Clapeyron equation) (b) improving
wetting of insoluble nucleant particles; and (c) breakage of
crystals as they form caused by flow from acoustic streaming
or vibration of the horn. It has been demonstrated that the
application of ultrasonic vibrations to the solidifying alloys
prevents columnar grain formation, refines the equiaxed grains
and in some circumstances leads to the formation of nondendritic, globular grains. Alloys having the mentioned
microstructure are reported to possess both increased ductility
and increased strength. UST has been previously used in many
metals like aluminum alloys, copper, magnesium etc.
Experimental results show that the ultrasonic grain refining
effect is not only related to the size of particles which are
refined and/or dispersed by UST, but also related to an under
cooling available for activation of these particles in the
solidification process. Athermal heterogeneous nucleation
theory is considered to explain the effect of size and
distribution of substrate particles on the grain structure with
different undercoolings. The distribution of primary particle
sizes results in the distribution of required undercoolings.
Grain refining occurs when the undercooling is large enough
to activate the refined primary intermetallics or dispersed
inoculants. Effect of UST on grain structure of Aluminum
before and after application. Fig (a) Shows the grain structure
of a normal aluminum before UST application, in Fig(b) it is
clearly evident that the grains are more refined and the grain
size reduced from 90um to 65um.

Figure (a) represents the molecular structure of an aluminum

alloy prior applying the ultrasonic waves , fig (b) shows after
application of Ultrasonic waves. It is obvious that the grain
structure has a huge impact on ultrasonics.
The next figure shows the microstructure of
Aluminum alloy A356 after application of UST vibration
ranging from 15seconds to 180seconds. The longer the
application of UST the coarser the grain size gets

Additive Manufacturing
Additive Manufacturing refers to a process by which digital
3D design data is used to build up a component in layers by
depositing material. The term "3D printing" is increasingly
used as a synonym for Additive Manufacturing. However, the
latter is more accurate in that it describes a professional
production technique which is clearly distinguished from
conventional methods of material removal. Instead of milling
a work piece from solid block, for example, Additive
Manufacturing builds up components layer by layer using
materials which are available in fine powder form. A range of
different metals, plastics and composite materials may be
The technology has especially been applied in conjunction
with Rapid Prototyping - the construction of illustrative and
functional prototypes. Additive Manufacturing is now being
used increasingly in Series Production. It gives Original
Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in the most varied sectors
of industry the opportunity to create a distinctive profile for
themselves based on new customer benefits, cost-saving
potential and the ability to meet sustainability goals.
There are many ways product can be 3D printed, few of them
1) SLA:Very high end technology utilizing laser
technology to cure layer-upon-layer of photopolymer resin
(polymer that changes properties when exposed to light)

Re-crystallization in metals by high-power ultrasonic waves

2) FDM:Process oriented involving use of thermoplastic

(polymer that changes to a liquid upon the application of heat
and solidifies to a solid when cooled) materials injected
through indexing nozzles onto a platform. The nozzles trace
the cross-section pattern for each particular layer with the
thermoplastic material hardening prior to the application of the
next layer
3) MJM:Multi-Jet Modeling is similar to an inkjet
printer in that a head, capable of shuttling back and forth (3
dimensions-x, y, z)) incorporates hundreds of small jets to
apply a layer of thermo polymer material, layer-by-layer
4) 3DP: This involves building a model in a container
filled with powder of either starch or plaster based material.
An inkjet printer head shuttles applies a small amount of
binder to form a layer. Upon application of the binder, a new
layer of powder is sweeped over the prior layer with the
application of more binder.
5) SLS: Somewhat like SLA technology Selective Laser
Sintering (SLS) utilizes a high powered laser to fuse small
particles of plastic, metal, ceramic or glass. During the build
cycle, the platform on which the build is repositioned,
lowering by a single layer thickness. The process repeats until
the build or model is completed. Unlike SLA technology,
support material is not needed as the build is supported by
unsintered material.

rapid prototyping technique that allows manufacturers to proSLS on a DTM Sinter station 2000. The fragile green part
produced consists of steel powder held in a polymer matrix.
The second step in the process was a sintering furnace cycle.
In this step the green parts were placed into a furnace and
heated to 1120C with a heating rate of 2C/min. During the
heating phase the polymer was burned away leaving the steel
skeleton, which was then sintered traditionally to a porous
steel structure at 1120C for 3 h. The sintered parts were then
cooled to room temperature at a cooling rate of 3C/min. The
atmosphere in the furnace was inert gas with a mix of 30%
hydrogen and 70% nitrogen recommended. Finally this
structure was infiltrated with molten bronze, which was
absorbed from the base of the parts by a wicking action, which
drew the bronze through the porous matrix resulting in a near
fully dense composite. The furnace was held at 1050C for 3
h. The heating rate, cooling rate, and the atmosphere inside the
furnace were the same as for the sintering cycle.

Application of UST during DMLT

Application of Ultrasonic waves during Direct metal laser
sintering process: As shown in the below fig

Selective Laser Sintering

A variety of solid freeform fabrication (SFF) techniques have
been developed to produce prototype parts directly from a
computer-aided drawing (CAD) without any hard tooling, dies
or molds. An object is created by sequentially fusing thin
layers of a powder with a scanning laser beam. Each scanned
layer represents a cross section of the object's mathematically
sliced CAD model. This was developed like other
technologies to decrease cost and time. It produces a 3D part
layer by layer selectively sintering or partially melting a
powder bed by laser radiation. In direct SLS, a high-energy
laser beam directly fuses a metal or cermets powder to high
density (>90%), preferably with minimal or no postprocessing requirements. There are two kinds of selective
laser sintering process, Direct and Indirect.
In Indirect SLS a polymer coating is used for binding
metal powders and ceramics. The metal powers are coated
with polymer and when the laser melts the polymer thus
bonding the metal powder together ad forming a green part. A
post treatment is required in an oven at very high temperature.
Direct SLS processes use metal powders directly without any
binder. Direct SLS eliminates the need for post-processing.
Ongoing material and process developments have increased
the productivity of the systems and the quality of the resulting
parts. SLS can be used as a stand-alone production technique,
or combined with conventional too making processes. Direct
SLS of composite metal powder blends can be used to produce
metal parts. In such systems, a low melting point component is
melted and employed as a matrix in which the higher melting
point components sit. Direct SLS of metals is a promising

the microstructure of bronze, nickel and copper obtained by

DMLS process.UST has a potential application in refining the
grain structure and if UST can be applied during the DMLS
process the grain size can be further refined, as the temperature
reaches near melting point when the laser beam contacts the
metal powder and an instant fusion reaction takes place thus
binding the metal powders together. UST has a huge impact on
grain size especially during the phase transformation,
application of UST at the correct time and for right duration
can change the microstructure of the metal resulting in desired
properties such as increased hardness, yield strength,
malleability etc.

Conclusions and Future Work

Ultrasonic treatment of metals is very promising area of
research over the last decade. Engineering applications of
ultrasonic waves is growing day by day, a recent and very
interesting application of sound waves was used as a fire

Re-crystallization in metals by high-power ultrasonic waves

retardant by two students as a part of their project. In this

paper the potential use of ultrasonics was discussed and it is
evident that UST technique is used in metal processing for
grain refinement. The results showed that the ultrasonic
treatment is effective in controlling the morphology and size of
grains when applied between near melting point temperatures. A
proposal of using ultrasonic treatment during direct metals
laser sintering was made. Future work should include the use
of UST during the direct metal laser sintering process of 3D
printed part.
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Alloy Melts,Adv. Perform.Mater., vol. 4, issue 2, pp. 223-232 (1997)

[2] G. I. Eskin: Ultrasonic Treatment of Light Alloy Melts, 164,135240; 1998,

Amsterdam, Gordon & Breach

[3] Jian X, Xu C, Meek T T, Han Q. Effect of ultrasonic vibration

on the solidification structure of A356 alloy. AFS Trans., 2005,
113: 131-137

[4] Osawa Y, Sato A. Grain refinement of solidified structures by ultrasonic

vibration. J. JFS, 2000, 72: 733-738.
[5] Yoshiki Tsunekawa, Masahiro Okumiya, and Takahiro Motomuraon
Semisolid casting with ultrasonically melt-treated billets of Al-7mass%Si

[6] Ma Qian and A. Ramirez on An approach to assessing ultrasonic

attenuation in molten magnesium alloys
[7] Xiaoda Liu, Shian Jia, Laurentiu Nastac on ultrasonic Cavitationassisted molten metal processing of cast a356-nanocomposites.
[8] Mula, S., Padhi, P., Panigrahi, S.C., Pabi, S.K.,Ghosh, S., On Structure
and Mechanical Properties of Ultrasonically Cast Al-2% A1,03
nanocomposite,Mater. Res. Bull., vol. 44, pp. 1154-60 (2009)
[9]T. V. Atamanenko*1, D. G. Eskin2 and L. Katgerman, Temperature
effects in aluminium melts due to cavitation induced by high power
[10] N. U nal, H. E. C amurlu*, S. Kocak and G. Duztepe, Effect of
external untrasonic treatment on hyoereutectic cast aluminum silicon