The Forging Foundation works with over 20 universities known as Magnet Schools where forging curriculum and experiential learning are encouraged. This issue’s column focuses on the University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton. 

Professors Pete Collins and Marcus Young of the university’s Materials Science Engineering Department, through a FIERF research grant,  are working with senior undergraduate Nathan Ley on a project titled, “New Forging Materials: Hybrid Titanium Alloys and High Entropy Alloys.” The task’s primary objective is to assess whether high-entropy alloys can be used for dies and how they compare when benchmarked against H13 steel.

Ley explained that the project “is focused on the forging of high-entropy alloys (HEAs), which are near equimolecular alloys. This means that if you had four alloying components, then each of them would make up about 25% of the alloy on an atomic scale. HEAs are a relatively new class of material that typically have a single phase at room temperature, exhibit super-plastic behavior (depending on processing) and often show phase stability at elevated temperatures. HEAs are being investigated as replacements for conventional alloys, which have one primary element as a base. The techniques we are currently looking at to join them to die heads are laser-engineered net shaping (LENS) and friction-stir processing (FSP). We have been able to characterize these materials using synchrotron X-ray diffraction.”

Ley further discussed the project.

“What I have gained by doing research is a deeper understanding of how the forging process works, as well as an opportunity to present my research,” Ley said. “Since my background is in mechanical engineering, I have learned a lot about materials science and how to conduct research that will get results. This opportunity will also give me the chance to attend a conference and present all the work I have done so far.”

According to Young, the next stage of the project “involves melting three new HEAs using arc melting and characterizing their microstructure, mechanical properties and processability. Lastly, we’ll start testing the HEAs as replacement die heads. The first step in this process is to look at two possible joining methods and assess their effectiveness.”

Young talked about how he got involved in the project.

“Assistant professor Peter Collins introduced me to FIERF and the forging technical conference, which I really enjoyed,” Young said. “In a previous R&D position at ATI Specialty Alloys and Components, I only worked a little on forging issues. Going to the industry technical conference really opened my eyes to all the activity in forging and got me excited about working in research on these types of problems. I was also impressed at the number of companies that are interested in improving their forging capabilities, and I hope to become more active in this area. Certainly, the FIERF grant has helped initiate these activities, and I hope our project is useful to the forging industry.”

Contact the Foundation Office at 216-781-6260 for more information on FIERF Magnet Schools or about current research projects.