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Journal of Materials Processing Technology 179 (2006) 23–29

Construction and validation tests of a torsion test machine

José Divo Bressan ∗ , Ricardo Kirchhof Unfer
Centro de Ciências Tecnológicas (CCT/UDESC), Campus Universitário, Bom Retiro 89223-100, Joinville, SC, Brazil

Present work aimed at developing, testing and operating a computerized prototype machine for performing cold plastic torsion tests. The operation
and project of this machine were carried out in the Laboratory of Metal Forming at UDESC, Joinville. The equipment consists of a horizontal
torsion machine composed of an electric motor, a wheel, a horizontal shaft and a control and acquisition data system. An encoder obtains the
torsion angle and the torque is measured by a load cell. Experimental tests were carried out at a constant angular speed that imposed a constant
shear strain rate to the test specimen. Setting the rotation speed to 60 RPM, it was possible to simulate the initial operation stage of sheet metal
rolling process that utilizes strain rate of about 2 s−1 . The torsion tests have been performed on annealed materials such as 1020 steel, brass, pure
copper and pure aluminum. The strain rate sensitivity parameter m has been evaluated from the equivalent stress versus strain curve from tensile
and torsion tests. The parameter m from tensile tests for brass and copper were 0, however, for 1020 steel and aluminum were 0.013 and 0.027,
respectively. In torsion tests the m-values were 0.072 and 0.045 for steel and brass. The fracture mechanisms were investigated in the rupture
surface using the scanning electron microscope. The main observed fracture mechanism for these metals was coalescence of pores and shear
© 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Torsion test; Plasticity; Work hardening; Equipment design

1. Introduction strain behavior at velocities similar to that occurs in the industry

processes of metal forming as the case of cold rolling and cold
The laboratory experimental method to investigate the mate- forging. Besides, to investigate the rupture mechanisms in cold
rial mechanical behavior is usually carried out by the mechanical shear stress.
tensile test machine. However, it has limitations mainly related
to the strain rate values and the uniaxial stress state. The strain
rates in tensile test machines are rarely greater than 10−2 s−1 . In 2. Analysis of the plastic torsion test
metal forming processes, as sheet metal rolling and upsetting,
the strain velocities are very high and can attain 10 s−1 , as in the The torsion tests are applied to materials with the aim to
final stage of sheet metal cold rolling. The metal plastic behav- determine the mechanical properties such us the elasticity shear
ior depends on the imposed strain rate value. Thus, in order to modulus G, shear strength, rupture shear strain and the work-
obtain an equation that represents the most real material plastic hardening law. However, they can also be used in solid bodies
behavior close to upsetting and rolling, it is necessary to use (wheel shafts, rods, bars, beams, etc.) to obtain the response to
high plastic strain rates. In this context, the torsion test machine torsion loads. The test is frequently used in cylindrical shafts by
has its application in investigating the plastic behavior in metal applying a torque in its longitudinal axis. The shear stress ver-
forming processes at high strain rates. sus shear strain curve can be determined from the simultaneous
The aim of the present work was to develop this torsion measurements of torque and the twist angle during the test for
machine and to carry out cold torsion tests in annealed metals the previously selected specimen length. Fig. 1 shows a cylin-
as aluminum, brass, copper and steel for simulating the plastic drical specimen of radius a under torsion load. The applied total
torque M is obtained from the analysis of the forces acting in a
cross section element located at r, as seen in Fig. 1. The force in
∗ Corresponding author. Tel.: +55 47 3431 7258; fax: +55 47 3431 7240.
the element of area dA is,
E-mail addresses: dem2jdb@joinville.udesc.br (J.D. Bressan),
rkunfer@hotmail.com (R.K. Unfer). dF = τdA and dM = rdF

0924-0136/$ – see front matter © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
24 J.D. Bressan, R.K. Unfer / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 179 (2006) 23–29

Fig. 2. Derivation of the mathematical relations for work-hardening Mo θLn in

torsion test.

Thus, rearranging Eq. (4) for the surface shear stress τ a ,

results as:
1 dM
τa = 3M + θL (5)
2πa3 dθL
The first term in Eq. (5) is the torque due to the maximum
shear stress τ a for a material under fully plastic strain. The terms
of this equation can be exactly derived from the curve of twist
angle versus torque as seen in Fig. 2. Thus, the second term is,
Fig. 1. A cylindrical solid element submitted to the torsion test.
θL = BC (6)
Thus, the total applied torque is, Substituting Eq. (6) in Eq. (5), results in:
 2π  a  2π  a
M = r dF ⇒ M = rτ dA ⇒ M τa = [3BA + BC] (7)
0 0 0 0 2πa3
 2π  a  2π  a Differentiating the torque power law for a work-hardening
= r 2 τ dθ dr ⇒ M = r 2 τ(r, θ, θ̇) dr dθ material:
0 0 0 0  
n dM nM
M = Mo θL ⇒ = (8)
In agreement with the theoretical torque analysis and con- dθL θ̇L θL
sidering the material work-hardening curve, according to Nadai
[1], the following equation for a solid specimen is obtained: Substituting Eq. (8) in Eq. (5), according to Canova et al. [4],
 a it is obtained:
M= τ2πr 2 dr (1) M
τa = [3 + n] (9)
0 2πa3
Changing the variable r in Eq. (1) by γ (γ = rθ/L) and the On the other hand, considering only strain rate sensitive mate-
shear stress τ = f(γ) in the surface of the specimen (with work- rial and a power law torque equation, according to McGregor
hardening), the following torque expression is obtained: [2] and Fields and Backofen [3], the derivative results as:
2πf (γ)γ 2 dγ dM mM
M= (2) M = Mo θ̇Lm ⇒ = (10)
0 θL3 dθ̇L θL θ̇L

Differentiating Eq. (2) in relation to θ L (θ L = θ/L), in the sur- Similarly to the previous material assumption (work-
face γ = γ a , it is obtained: hardening with power law), developing the derivative of torque
for constant angle (θ L ), result in the following equations for the
d(MθL3 ) = 2πf (γa )γa2 dγa (3) solid and tubular specimens (a1 : internal radius, a2 : external
radius), respectively:
At the specimen surface τ a = f(γ a ). In Eq. (3), substituting τ a
and γ a , comes: M M
τa = [3 + m + n] and τa = [3 + n + m]
2πa3 2π(a23 − a13 )
d(MθL3 ) = 2πτa a3 θL2 dθL (4) (11)
J.D. Bressan, R.K. Unfer / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 179 (2006) 23–29 25

Fig. 3. Dynamic torsion test machine with the main features.

Fig. 4. Specimens used in the experimental plastic torsion test.

where τ a is the surface shear stress in the plastic field, “n” the 4. Materials and experimental procedures
work-hardening coefficient and “m” is the strain rate sensitivity
coefficient. Cylinder bars of commercial 1020 steel, brass, copper and aluminum with
diameter of 19 mm were utilized for obtaining of specimens used in the plastic
The shear strains at surface (γ a ) for the solid and tubular
torsion and simple tension tests. These bars were cut into pieces and machined in
specimens with useful length (Lu ) are given, respectively, by: the specific format and dimensions according to the required common practice
and standard as seen in Fig. 4 and Table 1. The torsion specimen’s geometries are
aθ θ a1 + a 2 based on the work by Pöhlandt and Tekkaya [5]. The uniaxial tension specimens
γa = and γa = (12) were machined according to the ABNT standard. Therefore, it was used solid and
Lu Lu 2 tubular specimens in the torsion test and only solid in the tensile test. In Table 2,
the conditions of the annealing heat treatment of materials are presented.
In Figs. 5–8 the materials micrographs are shown, where it is possible to
3. The plastic torsion test machine observe the mean grain size and impurities. In Table 4 the mechanical properties
from tensile test are shown.
As seen previously, the aim of this machine development was In the plastic torsion and simple tension tests, specimens of annealed material
at the specific heat treatment condition for large ductility have been used and are
to perform torsion tests in metals, simulating the plastic strain shown in Table 2. Thus, the annealing treatments were aimed at obtaining large
behavior at the same speed that occur in industrial process of
metal forming as in the case of cold rolling and cold forging. The
equipment consist of a horizontal machine for torsion test, using
a driving electric motor, an inertia cylinder, a clutch, a shaft that
transmit the rotation to the specimen and an electronic control
system for test data acquisition. The twist angle is measured
by an encoder and the torque through a load cell as seen in
Fig. 3. An acquisition data system is attached to the equipment
which register the values of torque in “Nm” and the twist angle
in “degree” on which was possible to determine the curves of
the metal behavior through the plasticity equations, considering
different specimen geometries: solid and tubular specimens. For
these tests it is necessary that the specimen be submitted to a
constant strain rate which will provide a more reliable result for
the simulation of cold rolling process.
The maximum torque capacity of the present machine is
150 Nm and maximum rotation speed is 600 RPM which are
enough to simulate sheet metal rolling and bulk forging. Fig. 5. Micrograph of annealed 1020 steel. Magnification 200×.
26 J.D. Bressan, R.K. Unfer / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 179 (2006) 23–29

Table 1
Dimensions of the torsion test specimens
Specimen Tubular

Material/dimension Lu (mm) Ltotal (mm) D1 (mm) D2 (mm) Thickness (mm) R (mm) RPM

AISI 1020 steel, brass, copper and aluminum 16 50 8 12 2 5 61

8 42 8 12 2 5 61

Specimen Solid

Material/dimension Lu (mm) Ltotal mm) Duseful (mm) R (mm) RPM

Brass, copper and aluminum 16 50 12 5 61

AISI 1020 steel 16 50 10 5 54

Table 2
Annealing treatment parameters used in the present torsion and tension test specimens
Material Temperature (◦ C) Heating rate (◦ C/min) Time (min) Temperature variation Reduction or hardness after
during annealing (◦ C) the annealing treatment (%)

1020 Steel 930 10 150 2,5 27

Brass 550 10 60 4 35
Copper 450 10 60 5 19
Aluminum 450 10 40 6 33

ductility in order to investigate the plastic properties and the fracture mechanisms
in cold shear strain, considering different strain rates and tests.
A universal tensile test machine with maximum capacity of 30 t, made EMIC,
equipped with an extensometer was used for the tensile tests. For the torsion tests,
the automatic torsion machine developed at the Laboratory of Metal Forming at
CCT-UDESC Joinville was employed. The software Elipse was used for the data
acquisition of the parameters torque and twist angle and were generated in a excel
table containing three columns where the third column had the time in seconds
for each value of twist angle. Then, the values of the shear stress and shear strain
were calculated for each specimen under plastic torsion and the curves were
potted. In addition, the von Mises equivalent stress and equivalent strain were
utilized to plot the equivalent curves and to obtain the plasticity constitutive
equation of the tested metallic materials. In this case, the used equation were,
√ γa
σ̄ = 3τa and ε̄ = √ (13)
The plastic behavior of the annealed 1020 steel, brass, copper and aluminum
were obtained from the torsion and simple tension tests. The torsion tests were
carried out at a shear strain rate of 2 s−1 , whereas the simple tension tests at
Fig. 6. Micrograph of annealed brass. Magnification 200×. strain rate of 0.17 × 10−2 and 3.34 × 10−2 s−1 . The plastic properties of each
material can be observed in Tables 3 and 4. In the torsion tests, the specimens

Fig. 7. Micrograph of annealed copper. Magnification 200×. Fig. 8. Micrograph of annealed aluminum. Magnification 200×.
J.D. Bressan, R.K. Unfer / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 179 (2006) 23–29 27

Table 3
The plastic properties of annealed metals obtained from tensile tests at strain rate of 0.17 × 10−2 s−1 and at 3.34 ×10−2 s−1 for obtaining the strain rate sensitivity
parameter m
Material Young modulus Yield limit Strength limit Rupture limit Enlongation (%) Hardness (HV) Hardening equation
E (GPa) σ esc (MPa) σ t (MPa) σ rup (MPa) σ = K(ε0 + ε)n σ̇ m (MPa)

1020 steel 212 298 450 442 26 116 860(0.012 + ε)0.24 ε̇0.013
Brass 94 135 340 337 34 74 800(0.026 + ␧)0.48
Copper 82 182 257 289 21 66 450(0.025 + ␧)0.20
Aluminum 74 73 138 130 26 33 235(0.045 + ε)0.21 ε̇0.027

Table 4
Elastic and plastic properties for the torsion tests at the shear strain rate of 2 s−1
Material Shear modulus Yield limit Strength limit Rupture limit ma Hardening equation
G (GPa) τ esc (MPa) τ t (MPa) τ rup (MPa) τ = K(γ 0 + γ)n (MPa)

1020 steel 85 209 425 424 0.072 580(0.005 + ␥)0.20

Brass 37 149 283 283 0.045 435(0.02 + ␥)0.22
Copper 15 130 214 215 0 230(0.03 + ␥)0.16
Aluminum 6 28 98 98 0 130(0.015 + ␥)0.36
a Observation: m-value obtained from torsion test in relation to the tensile test.

were constrained at its ends, thus, specimen longitudinal elongations were not

5. Experimental results

In Figs. 9 and 11, the torsion curve results of the present torque versus the
twist angle for the plastic torsion tests for commercial pure aluminum and 1020
steel are shown. The graphs in Figs. 10 and 12 represent the shear stress versus
shear strain curves for these materials. The curves were determined from the
Eqs. (11) (shear stress for solid and tubular specimens) and (12) (shear strain
for solid and tubular specimens). In Table 4, the mechanical properties obtained
from the torsion tests of tubular specimens can be evaluated.
In Fig. 10, the difference between the solid and tubular specimens plastic
behavior can be observed. The solid specimen yields a lower curve and a larger
elongation or a shear strain to rupture. Thus, the hardening curves are different,
the solid specimen showing a lower work-hardening coefficient. In the tubular
specimen, the shear stress gradient across its thickness is negligible but in the
solid specimens are not. The shear stress rupture point shown in the plotted curve
is very clear. Thus, the tubular specimens are more reliable.
In Fig. 11, the plastic behavior for solid and tubular aluminum specimens
are quite diverse. The solid specimen has presented larger elongation and a
hardening curve with three maximum load points. Therefore, some softening has Fig. 10. Shear stress vs. shear strain experimental curves obtained plastic torsion
been present during the deformation process in the torsion test. This softening of test of the machine for the annealing steel 1020.
is possibly due to the onset of adiabatic shear bands. Furthermore, the solid

Fig. 11. Torque vs. twist angle experimental curve obtained for the plastic torsion
Fig. 9. Experimental torque vs. twist angle curves of annealed 1020 steel. test performed at shear strain rate 2 s−1 (61 RPM) for the annealed aluminum.
28 J.D. Bressan, R.K. Unfer / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 179 (2006) 23–29

Fig. 12. Shear stress vs. shear strain curve obtained from the plastic torsion test
of annealed aluminum.
Fig. 13. Equivalent stress vs. equivalent strain curves obtained from the plas-
specimen has apparently an increased ductility or elongation, although it has the tic torsion tests at shear strain rate 2 s−1 and tensile tests at strain rate
same useful length Lu as the tubular specimen. This maybe due to the specimen 0.17 × l0−2 s−1 for 1020 steel.
compression in its longitudinal axis as the specimen is constrained at its ends
and, generally, there is some axial strain [6]. For the tubular specimens, fracture
occurred at the point of maximum load or at the instability point, as seen in 6. Conclusions
Fig. 12. This phenomenon repeated and has occurred in all tested materials for
tubular specimens.
In Fig. 13, the equivalent stress versus the equivalent strain curves for tensile From the experimental results obtained from the present plas-
test and torsion test of 1020 steel can be observed. The plastic torsion tests were tic torsion and uniaxial tensile tests of annealed 1020 steel, brass,
carried out at the shear strain rate 2 s−1 and the tensile tests at the strain rate copper and aluminum, the following conclusions can be drawn:
0.17 × 10−2 s−1 . Thus, the torsion test curve is superior to the tensile test due
to its higher strain rate and the strain rate hardening mechanism or a positive
m-value. On the other hand, the rupture strain for the tensile test is greater than - The present torsion test machine can impose a constant shear
the torsion test. Therefore, higher strain rate has decreased the steel ductility or strain rate from 2 to 10 s−1 .
the rupture strain. Besides, the work-hardening coefficient n-value is different.
However, the situation was quite different for aluminum. The equivalent fracture
- Tubular torsion specimens with total length 50 mm and useful
strain for the torsion test was greater than the tensile test: about three times the length 16 mm by 12 mm external diameter are sufficient to
fracture strain in tensile test. obtain a large hardening curve of ductile metals
The parameter m from tensile tests for brass and copper were zero, however, - Tubular specimens are more reliable for torsion tests than solid
for 1020 steel and aluminum were 0.013 and 0.027, respectively. In torsion tests specimens.
the m-values were 0.072 for steel, 0.045 for brass and 0 for aluminum and copper
as seen in Table 4.
- The materials plasticity parameters K, n, ε0 and m obtained
In Fig. 14a, the fracture surface of the brass tubular torsion specimen can be from the cold torsion test are different from the tensile test.
observed from the scanning electron microscopy micrographs. Fracture mech- - The strain rate sensitivity coefficient m obtained from tensile
anism is due to coalescence of pores. In Fig. 14b and c, the aluminum fracture tests for 1020 steel was 0.013, for aluminum was 0.027 and for
surface of solid specimen can be seen. Fracture due to pores coalescence is also brass and copper was 0. However, from torsion tests at shear
confirmed both in the specimen center region and close to the external surface.
The same pattern of pores has been verified in the 1020 steel and copper fracture
strain rate of 2 s−1 were: for 1020 steel was 0.072, for brass
surfaces. was 0.045 and for aluminum and copper was 0.

Fig. 14. Fracture surface torsion specimen: (a) tubular brass at the external surface, (b) solid aluminum at the specimen center region and (c) solid aluminum at the
external surface. Magnification: (a) 1000×; (b and c) 200×.
J.D. Bressan, R.K. Unfer / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 179 (2006) 23–29 29

- In all metals under cold torsion test, fracture occurred in the References
point of instability. Thus, the limit shear strain or fracture shear
strain of metals is at the instability point in cold torsion test. [1] A. Nadai, Theory of Flow and Fracture of Solids, vol. 1, McGraw-Hill, New
- Some softening has been present during the deformation pro- York, 1950, p. 349.
[2] T.W.J. Mcgregor, Elements of Mechanical Metallurgy, Macmillan, New
cess in the torsion test of aluminum solid specimens. This York, 1967, p. 64.
softening is possibly due to the onset of adiabatic shear bands. [3] D.S. Fields, W.A. S Backofen, Proc. ASTM 57 (1957) 1259.
- Fracture mechanisms in cold torsion were due to pores coales- [4] G.R. Canova, J.R. Newby, B.A. Niemeier, Formability of Metal-
cence for these metals. Pores coalescence occurred both in the lic Materials—2000 A.D., ASTM, STP 753, Philadelphia, 1982,
specimen center and in the region close to the external surface. p. 189.
[5] K. Pöhlandt, A.E. Tekkaya, Torsion Testing Plastic Deformation to High
Strains and Strain Rates, vol. 1, Institut Fur Umformtechnik, University of
Acknowledgements Stuttgart, Germany, 1985, pp. 972–977.
[6] F. Montheillet, M. Cohen, J.J. Jonas, Axial stresses and texture develop-
The authors would like to grateful thank CAPES for a grad- ment torsion testing of Al, Cu and ␣-Fe, Acta Metall. 32 (1984) 2077–
uate scholarship as well as the financial support received from 2089.