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Title: The manufacture and characterisation of aluminium foams made by investment casting using dissolvable spherical sodium chloride bead preforms
Author: Jinnapat, Apichart
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2011
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This project sought to design, implement and evaluate a process for the manufacture of porous, spherical salt beads, in order to enhance the reproducibility in mechanical properties of open cell aluminium foams made by a replication-based manufacturing technique. Porous beads were favoured in order to increase the dissolution rate of the salt from the preform, thereby making the manufacture of large foam parts practical. Salt beads were made by a novel method using fine NaCI powder, flour and water to make a paste that was subsequently disintegrated into large beads by mechanical stirring in oil. The NaCI paste viscosity was found to be important to the production of spherical beads and by varying the intensity of mechanical disintegration of the paste, control of the bead size was possible. The salt beads with sizes from 0.5 to 3 mm diameter were compacted into preforms and made into moulds for infiltration with molten pure aluminium by pressure- assisted investment casting. The heat treatment used to "cure" the plaster mould containing the preform was sufficient to remove the flour from the beads, sinter the preform and increase its strength. The effect of preform compaction conditions on the size, shape and volume fraction of porosity was quantified using a number of techniques, including mercury porosimetry, which was used to model the infiltration process. At the highest infiltration pressure 0.25 MPa (2.5 bar) the resulting foam densities were higher, but led to extensive penetration of molten aluminium into the porous beads, slowing down salt removal. In general, the compression strength increased with increasing foam density, and was highly reproducible, but where metal infiltration into the beads was extensive, the foam density increased but with little improvement in the compressive strength.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available