Abstract: The paper reviews original data obtained by the authors, from recent separate publications, specifically concerning graphite formation in the solidification pattern of industrial cast irons, focussing on grey iron versus ductile iron. Additional unpublished data and selected data from literature are represented in the paper. Complex compounds act as nucleation sites in commercial cast irons, generally in a three-stage graphite formation, but with different sequences: (1) first micro-compound formation is oxide/silicate in grey iron and sulphide in ductile iron; (2) the second compound nucleates on the first one, as complex manganese sulphide in grey iron and complex silicates in ductile iron; (3) graphite nucleation on the sides of stage 2 compounds, which have low crystallographic misfit with graphite. Resulphurization (Mn/S control), preconditioning with strong oxide forming elements (Al, Zr), more potent inoculants and inoculation enhancement with S, O and oxy-sulphide forming elements were found to be beneficial treatments especially in critical solidification conditions
Abstract: Differential thermal analysis has been used to characterize the effect of cooling rate on the eutectoid transformation of a compacted graphite iron. The samples were machined out from an as-cast thermal cup, austenitized at 950°C and then cooled to room temperature at various rates within the range 1−55.5°C/min. It was found that even at the highest investigated cooling rate, significant amounts of ferrite could be observed. When comparing the microstructure before and after Nital etching on samples cooled at intermediate cooling rates, it appeared that ferrite formed preferentially along the worms. This is discussed in terms of graphite shape and microsegregation and this latter seems prevalent. Finally, analysis of the thermal records was performed to characterize the temperatures for the start of the stable and metastable eutectoid reactions which confirms the eutectoid transformation sets up in compacted graphite irons as in lamellar and spheroidal graphite irons.
Abstract: Even using high inoculation levels, mottled structures are often obtained when casting Mg-treated cast irons in thin wall parts. For full graphitization of the cast components, this calls for a subsequent heat-treatment which is generally achieved in the austenite field. The aim of this work was investigating the impact of the process and the cooling rate on the graphite structure for two different casting conditions. The influence of the cooling rate on graphite degeneracy due to the presence of impurity was also investigated considering low-level additions of aluminium. Extensive metallographic investigation has been carried out from which it is concluded that the internal graphite structure is the same for the two studied cooling conditions. Accordingly, the growth mechanism of graphite should be the same when it precipitates from liquid, during eutectic reaction or else solid-state graphitization. Finally, microanalyses suggest magnesium and aluminium do not interact in the same way with graphite during its growth.
Abstract: Studying how shrinkage porosity changes size when varying the composition of ductile irons is still of interest for manufacturing sound cast parts and defining optimised processing conditions. Usual changes in carbon and silicon contents strongly affect shrinkage, so that a detailed analysis of the effect of alloy composition and of inoculation level on porosity was carried out in the present study. Two test castings have been used to evaluate the extent of porosity formed using different compositions and inoculation levels. It has been observed that increasing carbon content from hypoeutectic to near-eutectic compositions reduces the amount of defects while a further increase of shrinkage porosity is detected for hypereutectic compositions. Thus, a minimum in shrinkage tendency exists for slightly hypereutectic compositions. Although inoculation decreases shrinkage, the relevance of this parameter varies as a function of carbon equivalent.
Abstract: The problem of graphite crystallization and growth in cast iron has recently received increased attention. As most of the published literature describe analysis of room temperature graphite, there is a legitimate concern that the crystallization of graphite is concealed by recrystallization and growth in solid state occurring after solidification. To avoid confusion in the interpretation of room temperature graphite morphology, the authors used Field Emission Gun SEM on deep-etched interrupted solidification (quenched) specimens to reveal the morphology of graphite at the very beginning of solidification, when the graphite is in contact with the liquid. Information from related phenomena, such as crystallization of hexagonal structure snowflakes and metamorphic graphite, as well as of diamond cubic structure silicon crystals in aluminum alloys is incorporated in the analysis. Research discussing graphite produced through gas-solid and solid-solid transformations is also examined. Because the faceted growth of graphite is the result of diffusion-limited crystal growth in the presence of anisotropic surface energy and anisotropic attachment kinetics, a variety of solidification morphologies are found. The basic building blocks of the graphite aggregates are hexagonal faceted graphite platelets generated through the growth of graphene layers. As solidification advances, the platelets thicken through layer growth, and then aggregate through mechanisms that may include foliated/tiled-roof crystals and dendrites, curved-circumferential, cone-helix, helical, and columnar or conical sectors growth.
Abstract: The graphite nodule count, size distribution and homogenization of the nodules distribution are the factor which are of more significance for the properties of the material. By just increasing the inoculants or Mg will not help to get rid of problems like the un-even size distribution and or increasing the nodule count. The cooling conditions of the melt prior to solidification and during solidification can control these two parameters to a large extent. In this research, it is more emphasized on the nucleation sequence of MgO particles and on the cooling rates. The nucleation of MgO at different temperatures and at different cooling rates was found to have a great influence on the nodule size distribution and the homogenization of the microstructure. A mathematical model was derived to relate the Mg concentration in the liquid to the cooling rate, prior to solidification. The MgO particles count was calculated as a function of cooling rate. It was found that at higher cooling rates, MgO can be nucleated in multi steps during cooling process, which can increase the nodule count tremendously.
Abstract: A better understanding of spheroidal graphite growth is expected in a near future thanks to widespread use of transmission electron microscopy. However, common transmission electron microscopy is quite time consuming and new indexing techniques are being developed, among them is transmission Kikuchi diffraction in a scanning electron microscope, a recent technique derived from electron backscatter diffraction. In the present work, on-axis transmission Kikuchi diffraction in scanning electron microscope, completed by transmission electron microscopy, was used with the objective of producing new observations on the microstructure of spheroidal graphite. This study shows that disorientations between blocks and sectors in spheroidal graphite are quite large in the early growth stage, which may be indicative of a competition process selecting the best orientations for achieving radial growth along the c direction of graphite.
Abstract: As part of a study devoted to the effect of trace elements on graphite degeneracy, near-eutectic ductile iron melts were prepared to which minute amounts of lead and of both lead and cerium were added. The melts were cast into an insulated Y4 mould, giving a solidification time of about 1 hour and a cooling time to room temperature of about 15 hours. In the thermal centre of the Pb containing sample graphite spheroids as well as intergranular lamellar graphite have been found. At the same location of the casting containing both Pb and Ce, exploded as well as chunky graphite could be observed, while the formation of intergranular lamellar graphite has been suppressed. Deep etching of the samples allowed reaching the following conclusions: i) intergranular graphite in the SG-Pb sample often, if not always, originates on graphite nodules and extends towards the last to freeze areas; ii) in one location of the SG-PbCe sample, chunky graphite strings were observed to originate on an exploded nodule, thus confirming the close relationship between these two forms of graphite. Because of the over-treatment in cerium of the SG-PbCe sample, other unusual degenerate graphite was observed which appears as coarse aggregates of "porous" graphite after deep etching.
Abstract: Metallographic analysis is applied to the study of the chunky graphite morphology in heavy-section castings of spheroidal graphite cast irons. Three castings with different Si and Ni content were prepared. Three positions in casting from the edge to the centre, with different cooling rates, were chosen for microstructure observation. The effect of the Si and Ni content on the graphite morphology and mechanical properties of heavy-section spheroidal graphite cast iron parts were investigated. Cerium containing commercial inoculant was used for in-stream inoculation. Chunky graphite area was estimated in micro-and macrostructure. Mechanical properties were determined on tensile test bars taken from the centre of the casting. Macro-and microstructure examination showed that the castings with high Si-content and Ni addition had chunky graphite present, while the castings produced by use of low Si and Ni containing charge had no chunky graphite. High Si-content is strong chunky graphite promoter, especially in castings with slow cooling rate. Ni addition also promotes chunky graphite formation, but only in thermal centre of the casting (where the cooling rate is the lowest). The elongation is severely lowered when chunky graphite appears in the microstructure.