A new multi-zone model for porosity distribution in Al–Si alloy castings

Niels Skat Tiedje, John A. Taylor, Mark A. Easton

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    A new multi-zone model is proposed that explains how porosity forms in various regions of a casting under different conditions and leads to distinct zonal differences in pore shape, size and distribution. This model was developed by considering the effect of cooling rate on solidification and distribution of porosity in Al–Si alloys cast as plates in moulds made with silica, ilmenite or zirconia sand cores or steel chills facing the major plate faces. The alloys cast were Al–7wt.% Si and Al–12.5wt.% Si in unmodified and modified forms, the latter with either Na or Sr addition. It is found that, regardless of cooling condition, Si content and modification treatment, the microstructure can be divided into three zones of varying size (across the casting thickness) that are determined by the local cooling conditions and the nucleation and growth mode of the Al–Si eutectic. The zones are: (1) an outer shell-like zone where directional columnar dendritic grains and a fine-celled, coherent eutectic form a low-porosity shell at the casting surface; (2) a transitional zone where equiaxed, eutectic cells grow between columnar dendritic grains and irregular pores become trapped in the mush; and finally (3) a central zone where the thermal gradient is low and equiaxed dendritic grains and eutectic cells grow at the centre of the casting and larger, rounded pores tend to form. The paper discusses how Si content, modification type and cooling conditions influence the location and size (i.e. depth) of each of these zones and how the distribution of porosity is thus affected. © 2013 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalActa Materialia
    Issue number8
    Pages (from-to)3037-3049
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Al–Si alloys
    • Eutectic solidification
    • Heat flow and solidification
    • Microstructure
    • Porosity


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