Fold Defects in Aluminum Alloy A356 Lost Foam Casting
In the lost foam casting (LFC) of aluminum alloys, the expandable polystyrene (EPS) foam characteristics (foam composition, polymer processing and bead fusion) influence the formation of deleterious fold defects in the final casting. In this research, four types of EPS beads were investigated: (1) the regular EPS beads, (2) 2wt% hexabromocyclododecane and 2wt% dicumyl peroxide added to the EPS beads during the polymerization process, (3) 2wt% silicaalumina blended to EPS beads after the pre-expansion process of the beads and (4) 2wt% hexabromocyclododecane blended to EPS beads after the pre-expansion process of the beads. The density of the regular and modified EPS beads was kept constant at 25.63 kg/m3. Aluminum alloy A356 was poured at 1023 K into the window pattern. The window patterns with regular EPS beads did not fill completely and had identifiable carbon/oxide defects on the surface. The window patterns with the additives were completely filled with a few surface defects. From thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), it was found that the EPS beads with silica-alumina had a reduced onset temperature of degradation of EPS (from 634 K to 618 K) and a reduced activation energy (from 188 kJ/mol to 147 kJ/mol) relative to the regular beads. In the organic brominatedmodified EPS (both through blending and polymerization), it was found that the value of the preexponential (rate equation) was significantly increased. Through light optical microscopy (LOM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), it was found that the polymerization process additives increased the degree of bead fusion whereas the post pre-expansion additives decreased the degree of bead fusion. Finally, the EPS beads treated during the polymerization process produced castings with the least overall surface, subsurface and internal defects.
T. Chandra, K. Tsuzaki, M. Militzer and C. Ravindran
S. Jagoo et al., "Fold Defects in Aluminum Alloy A356 Lost Foam Casting", Advanced Materials Research, Vols. 15-17, pp. 1-6, 2007