Using Microstructural Analysis to Solve Practical Problems

Aluminum has a wide range of commercial applications due to its unique combination of good corrosion resistance, light weight, good mechanical properties, ease of fabrication and acceptable cost. Its density of ~2.7 g/cm3 makes it the lightest commercial metal other than magnesium (~1.74 g/cm3) and beryllium (~1.85 g/cm3). But, Al and its alloys have more versatility, fewer problems, and cost less than Mg or Be alloys. The range of melting points for both Al and Mg alloys are fairly similar, ~565 to 640°C (~1050 to 1185°F) for Al casting alloys and ~593 to 648°C (~1100 to 1198°F) for Mg casting alloys.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 06 February 2014 13:51

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The Al-Si Phase Diagram and Eutectic Modifications

The Al-Si Phase Diagram and Eutectic Modifications

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 15:05

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Microstructure of Cast and Wrought Aluminum Alloys

ALUMINUM AND ITS ALLOYS

  • Cast vs.Wrought
  • Heat Treatable (PH) vs. Non-heat Treatable
  • Non-heat Treatable – Strengthen by ColdWork
  • Strengthen by Alloying

CAST ALUMINUM ALLOYS

  • Silicon is Major Alloying Element
  • Silicon Improves Fluidity
  • Near-Eutectic Compositions - for Die Casting
  • Refine Eutectic by Adding Sodium (shifts eutectic to about 14%Si)
  • Add Copper to Permit Heat Treatment

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 15:03

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Metallographic Etching of Aluminum and its Alloys

Preparation of Aluminum Specimens

  • Grind with 240-grit SiC water-cooled paper, 240 rpm, 5 lbs. (20N) per specimen, until co-planar
  • Polish with 9-µm Diamond on an Ultra-Pol (silk) cloth, 150 rpm, 5 lbs/specimen, 5 minutes (contra rotation)
  • Polish with 3-µm Diamond on a Trident cloth, 150 rpm, 5 lbs/specimen, 4 minutes (contra rotation)
  • Polish with 1-µm Diamond on a Trident cloth, 150 rpm, 5 lbs/specimen, 3 minutes (contra rotation)
  • Polish with 0.05-µm Colloidal Silica on a Microclothpad, 120 rpm, 5 lbs/specimen, 3 minutes (contra rotation)
  • (Contra: Head and platen rotate in opposite directions)

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 15:01

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resourcesThe articles and presentations that can be down-loaded from this web site are based upon work done by GFV while employed at Bethlehem Steel (1967-1983), Carpenter Technology (1983-1996), Buehler Ltd. (1996-2009) and Struers (2009-Present) and from the authors consulting work for companies such as, Latrobe Steel, Scot Forge, etc., and from his litigation work. GFV's bylined articles appearing in various issues of the ASM Handbook series have been listed here courtesy of ASM International, Materials Park, Ohio.

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