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Title: New approaches to casting hypereutectic Al-Si alloys to achieve simultaneous refinement of primary silicon and modification of eutectic silicon
Author: Al-Helal, Kawther
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2013
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Abstract:
Hypereutectic Al-Si alloys are of increasing interest for applications that require a combination of light weight and high wear resistance, such as pistons, liner-less engine blocks and pumps. The wear resistance of this class of alloys is due to the presence of hard primary Si particles formed during casting. The objective of this work was to develop one or more methods of refining primary silicon in cast hypereutectic Al-Si alloys to compete with the conventional process of adding phosphorous and to achieve the simultaneous modification of silicon in the Al-Si eutectic. A robust sampling/casting technique was developed to minimise macro-segregation of primary silicon during solidification of hypereutectic Al-Si alloys by using water cooled steel mould with cooling rate in excess of 15 K/s. The morphology of silicon phases was found to change with increasing melt temperature and cooling rate. The high cooling rate and superheat temperature produces a good distribution of polyhedral primary silicon particles in a refined lamellar eutectic matrix in solidification of commercial purity Al-Si alloys. Removing Ca by fluxing with K2SiF6 prior to casting can improve the refinement and modification effect of Mg and Sb respectively. Effects of various inoculants were studied. Microstructural analysis showed that Mg and ZnS refined primary Si whereas MgO, CaO and Na2S coarsened the primary Si together with a modification effect on the eutectic Si. Adding Zn had no effect on morphology of Si phases. Refinement of both primary and eutectic silicon phases was observed for the Al-15Si alloy with Mg content ≤ 0.3 wt%. P-doped γ-Al2O3 was found to be a potent substrate to nucleate primary silicon whilst good modification of the eutectic matrix is retained during solidification of hypereutectic Al-Si alloys. On using P-doped γ-Al2O3 could be a perfect and clean source of P without additional impurities. A new solid-liquid duplex casting process was devised to achieve simultaneous refinement and modification of Si phases in hypereutectic Al-Si alloys with improvement in mechanical properties. The static mechanical properties of Al-Si produced by the solid-liquid duplex casting process are significantly better than conventionally cast untreated Al-Si and slightly better than conventionally cast Al-Si treated with P and/or Sr. A novel Al-ZnS master alloy was developed by in situ reaction of Zn and Na2S in the Al melt. The results from this study leave little doubt that this novel Al-ZnS master alloy is a promising refiner in solidification of hypereutectic Al-Si alloys. It refines primary silicon to the same extent as that achieved by adding P via Cu-P following the same refinement mechanism.
Supervisor: Fan, Z.; Stone, I. Sponsor: EPSRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.600477  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Duplex casting ; ZnS ; P-doped Al2O3 ; Fluxing ; Ca content
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