IDEAL: Integrated Development Routes for Optimised Cast Aluminium Components

  • Hattel, Jesper Henri (Project Manager)
  • Bellini, Anna (Project Participant)
  • Thorborg, Jesper (Project Participant)

    Project Details


    A recently carried out Leonardo EC Project (COPROFOUND) has demonstrated that it is really fundamental to create a reliable link among metallurgy, foundry practice, numerical methods, and information technology. The integration of these fields and proper managing of the software-derived information will make the process simulation of casting processes not only a simple “solver” of particular and small-size problems, which have a relatively small impact on the production economy, but also a fundamental tool for understanding and solving the majority of problems generated during the production of cast components.
    So, the main technical objective is the integration of numerical codes performing simulation of the casting process (with prediction of the microstructural and mechanical behaviour of cast alloys), optimisation of the manufacturing cycle and structural analysis (including the analysis of crash behaviour of cast components). Up to now, during the design stage of a component, its mechanical properties have been regarded as constants. In the reality, all properties of cast products change due to the different microstructural features produced by different cooling rates achievable (consider, e.g., the effects induced by different wall thickness) and to the defects such as porosity, oxides, strongly affecting the performances. Furthermore, residual stresses arising from the stages of manufacturing processes are often not included in the calculations, today, due to the difficulties of getting a reliable estimate. The first target is therefore to get a reliable forecasting of the mechanical characteristics directly from casting simulation. Then this information will be transferred as input to structural analysis codes that may so consider a quite realistic material instead of calculating the usual ideal one.
    A better knowledge of the microstructure (resulting from processing) vs. mechanical properties correlations will help a more correct definition, also inside National and International Standards, of the characteristic properties of casting alloys, which, actually, are given “for guidance only”, without really supporting the engineering design.
    Conventional heat treatment and innovative treatment technologies, such as Liquid Hot Isostatic Pressing (LHIP) are strongly growing their role in Aluminium Foundry: their potential will be also considered and implemented into the integrated numerical code.
    The development of an optimisation module working under an integrated approach with simulation code will allow a fast set up of the most suitable casting parameters and will help to have minor amount of defects inside the component as an added value to feasibility. Virtual optimisation of the process will reduce to the minimum the expensive and time consuming “test and trial” iterations to a minimum. Foundry men experience will never be neglected, but such a tool can substantially support the decisions to be taken at a work shop level.
    Effective start/end date01/09/200201/08/2005


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