Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering

First Advisor

Riahi, Reza

Second Advisor

Hunter, John


Aluminum Alloys, Forming, Material Transfer, Near-surface, Surface Defects




Near-surface deformed layers developed on aluminum alloys significantly influence the corrosion and tribological behavior as well as reduce the surface quality of the rolled aluminum. The evolution of the near-surface microstructures induced on magnesium containing aluminum alloys during thermomechanical processing has been investigated with the aim generating an understanding of the influence of individual forming parameters on its evolution and examine the microstructure of the roll coating induced on the mating steel roll through material transfer during rolling. The micro-mechanisms related to the various features of near-surface microstructure developed during tribological conditions of the simulated hot rolling process were identified. Thermomechanical processing experiments were performed with the aid of hot rolling (operating temperature: 550 to 460 °C, 4, 10 and 20 rolling pass schedules) and hot forming (operating temperature: 350 to 545 °C, strain rate: 4 × 10-2 s-1) tribo-simulators. The surface, near-surface features and material transfer induced during the elevated temperature plastic deformation were examined and characterized employing optical interferometry, SEM/EDS, FIB and TEM. Near-surface features characterized on the rolled aluminum alloys included; cracks, fractured intermetallic particles, aluminum nano-particles, oxide decorated grain boundaries, rolled-in oxides, shingles and blisters. These features were related to various individual rolling parameters which included, the work roll roughness, which induced the formation of shingles, rolling marks and were responsible for the redistribution of surface oxide and the enhancements of the depth of the near-surface damage. The enhanced stresses and strains experienced during rolling were related to the formation and propagation of cracks, the nanocrystalline structure of the near-surface layers and aluminum nano-particles. The mechanism of the evolution of the near-surface microstructure were determined to include grain boundary sliding which induced the cracks at the surface and subsurface of the alloy, magnesium diffusion to free surfaces, crack propagation from shear stresses and the shear strains inducing the nanocrystalline grain structure, the formation of shingles by the shear deformation of micro-wedges induced by the work roll grooves, and the deformation of this oxide covered micro-wedges inducing the rolled-in oxides. Magnesium diffusion to free surfaces was identified as inducing crack healing due to the formation of MgO within cracks and was responsible for the oxide decorated grain boundaries. An examination of the roll coating revealed a complex layered microstructure that was induced through tribo-chemical and mechanical entrapment mechanisms. The microstructure of the roll coating suggested that the work roll material and the rolled aluminum alloy were essential in determining its composition and structure. Subsequent hot forming processes revealed the rich oxide-layer of the near-surface microstructure was beneficial for reducing the coefficient of friction during tribological contact with the steel die. Damage to the microstructure include cracks induced from grain boundary sliding of near-surface grains and the formation of oxide fibres within cracks of the near-surface deformed layers.