Rheocasting of Aluminium Alloys : Slurry Formation, Microstructure, and Properties

Abstract: Innovative materials with novel properties are in great demand for use in the criticalcomponents of emerging technologies, which promise to be more cost-effective and energyefficient.A controversial issue with regard to manufacturing complex industrial products isto develop advanced materials with optimised manufacturability in addition to the requiredmechanical and physical properties. The objective of this research study was to develop andoffer new solutions in material-processing-related issues in the field of mechanical andelectrical engineering. This was achieved by investigating the new opportunities affordedby a recently developed rheocasting method, RheoMetalTM process, with the goal of comingto an understanding of the critical factors for effective manufacturing process.A study of the evolution of microstructure at different stages of the rheocasting process,demonstrated the influence of multistage solidification on the microstructural characteristicsof the rheocast components. The microstructural investigation onquench slurry showed itconsists of the solute-lean coarse globular α-Al particles with uniform distribution ofalloying elements, suspended in the solute-rich liquid matrix. Such inhomogeneous slurryin the sleeve seems to play a critical role in the inhomogeneity of final microstructure. Inthe rheocast component, the separation of the liquid and solid parts of slurry during fillinginfluenced on the microstructural inhomogeneity.The relationship between the microstructural characteristics and properties of the rheocastcomponents was investigated. The study on the fracture surfaces of the tensile-testedspecimens showed that the mechanical properties strongly affected by microstructuralinhomogeneity, in particular macrosegregation in the form of near surface liquid segregationbands and subsurface porosity. The thermal conductivity measurement showed variation ofthis property throughout the rheocast component due to variations in the ratio of solute-leanglobular α-Al particles and fine solute α-Al particles. The result showed silicon in solidsolution have a strong influence (negative) on thermal conductivity and precipitation ofsilicon by heat treatment process increase the thermal conductivity.