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Module-I of Manufacturing Science-I

1.8.1 SOLIDIFICATION OF CASTINGS

After molten metal is poured into a mould, a series of events takes place during the solidification
of the casting and its cooling to ambient temperature. These events greatly influence the size, shape,
uniformity, and chemical composition of the grains formed throughout the casting, which in turn influence
its overall properties. The significant factors affecting these events are the type of metal, thermal properties
of both the metal and the mould, the geometric relationship between volume and surface area of the casting,
and shape of the mould.
Nucleation and Grain Growth
When the free energy of a parent phase is reduced by means of temperature or pressure then there
is a driving force leading to crystallization. At the melting point, the thermal fluctuations result in the
formation of tiny particles (containing only a few atoms) of the product phase within the parent volume.
Such a tiny particle has an interface that separates it from the parent matrix. It grows by transfer of atoms
across its interface. The process of formation of the first stable tiny particle is called nucleation. And the
process of increase in the sizes of these particles is called grain growth.
The grain size in the product phase depends on the relative rates of nucleation and grain growth.
Each nucleating particle becomes a grain in the final product. So a high nucleation rate means a larger
number of grains. Also, when this is combined with a low growth rate, more time is available for further
nucleation to take place in the parent phase that lies between slowly growing particles. A combination of
high nucleation rate with low growth rate yields a fine grain size. On the other hand, a low nucleation rate
combined with a high growth rate yields a coarse grain size.
The temperature of maximum rate
of nucleation is lower than that of maximum
growth rate. An increase in cooling rate
lowers the effective transformation
temperature and results in the combination
of high nucleation rate and a relatively slow
growth rate and yields a fine grain size.

Figure 1.8.1: Grain representation


Solidification of Pure Metal or Eutectic Alloy

Because a pure metal or eutectic


alloy has a clearly defined
melting or freezing point, it
solidifies at a constant
temperature. After the
temperature of the molten metal
drops to its freezing point, its
temperature remains constant
while the latent heat of fusion is
given off. The solidification front
(solid-liquid interface) moves
through the molten metal,
solidifying from the mould walls
in toward the centre. Once
solidification has taken place at
any point, cooling resumes. The
Figure 1.8.2: Cooling curve for metal solidified metal, called casting, is

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Module-I of Manufacturing Science-I

taken out of the mould and is allowed to cool to ambient


temperature. At the mould walls, which are at ambient
temperature, the metal cools rapidly. Rapid cooling produces a
solidified skin or shell. The grains grow in a direction opposite to
that of the heat transfer through the mould. Those grains that have
favourable orientation will grow preferentially and are called
columnar grains. As the driving force of the heat transfer is
reduced away from the mould walls, the grains become equiaxed
and coarse. Those grains that have substantially different
orientations are blocked from further growth. This grain
development is called homogeneous nucleation, meaning that
grains grow upon themselves, starting from the mould wall.

Figure 1.8.3: Grain structure for pure metal

Control of Solidification for obtaining Sound Castings

The solidification which starts from the mould wall toward the centre line of the cavity is called
Lateral or Progressive Solidification. The longitudinal or Directional Solidification occurs at right
angles to lateral solidification at the centre line and is shown in the figure 1.8.4. The casting shown is a
simple bar or plate and the metal is a pure metal, or a skin forming alloy.

Figure 1.8.4: Solidification of a plate

In order to obtain a sound casting with no shrinkage void along the centerline, two requirements must be
satisfied as follows:
1. The longitudinal solidification must be progressive toward the riser from the point, or points, most
distant from the riser.
2. The temperature gradient, in addition to being properly directed, must be sufficiently steep so that
liquid metal can pass through the wedge-shaped channel to compensate for shrinkage as it occurs
at the centerline.
If the temperature gradient is not sufficiently steep, the included angle of the wedge-shaped channel will be
too small and proper passage of feed metal is not possible. If there were no temperature gradient, the lateral
solidification at all points would reach the centerline at the same time. The result in either case is a lack of
metal at the centerline, which causes an elongated narrow void known as centerline shrinkage. In other
casting sections, voids of various shapes are caused by the shrinkage of skin forming type of alloy.

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Module-I of Manufacturing Science-I

Solidification of Alloys

Figure 1.8.5: Solidification curve of alloy


Solidification in alloys begins when the temperature drops below the liquidus temperature and is
complete when it reaches the solidus temperature. Within this temperature range, the alloy is in a mushy or
pasty state with columnar dendrites. The mushy zone is described in terms of a temperature difference,
known as the freezing range, as follows:
Freezing Range = TL – TS
The control of solidification of alloys which solidify
throughout a temperature range is more complicated. It has
been determined that steeper temperature gradients with these
alloys produce sounder castings. Let us consider the entire
casting and riser consist of mushy alloy for a period of time.
During the early stage, the mushy alloy is quite fluid, and
there is no problem. Then the solid dendrites gradually
become thicker, surrounded by only a small amount of liquid
metal. At this stage, whole sections may move to accomplish
what is known as mass feeding. Later near the end of
solidification, the mushy alloy becomes rigid, so it will be no
longer move as a body. Some liquid metal still surrounds
some dendrites, but since it is practically impossible to supply
feed metal through the narrow passageways, small voids in the
form of porosity are formed. This is known as shrinkage
porosity or micro shrinkage and it is dispersed through out Figure 1.8.6: Solidification of alloy
the metal in which the temperature gradient is not sufficiently steep.

Riser Feeding or Centreline Feeding Distance


For steel castings, a riser as shown in figure 1.8.4 will promote proper solidification if the distance
L is no greater than 4.5 times the minimum thickness T. This maximum distance for L is known as the
feeding distance for the riser. An effective metal chill located at the end most distant from the riser has
been found to add about 50 mm to the riser feeding distance.

Centreline Feeding Resistance


The freezing patterns of a chilled and an ordinary mould are shown in figure 1.8.7. The
solidification starts at the centre line of the mould before the solidification is completed even at the mould

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Module-I of Manufacturing Science-I

face. In the chilled mould, on the other hand, due to rapid heat extraction, a narrow liquid zone quickly
sweeps across the molten metal. The difficulty of feeding a given alloy in a mould is expressed by a
quantity, called centre line feeding resistance (CFR).
Time interval between start and end of freezing at centre line
CFR = x 100 %
Total solidification time of casting

Figure 1.8.7: Performance of ordinary sand and chilled moulds


In the above figure, we have
AC
CFR = x 100 %
OC
Normally, feeding is considered to be difficult if CFR > 70 %.

Chills
These are provided in the mould so as to increase the heat extraction capability of the sand mould. A chill
normally provides a steeper temperature gradient so that directional solidification as required in a casting is
obtained. These are metallic objects having a higher heat absorbing capability than the sand mould.
The chills can be of two types: external and internal.

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Module-I of Manufacturing Science-I

The external chills are placed adjoining


the mould cavity at any required position.
Providing a chill at the edge may not
normally have the desired effect as the
temperature gradient is steeper at the end
of the casting since heat is removed from
all sides. However, if it is placed between
two risers it would have maximum effect.
The chills when placed in the mould
should be clean and dry, otherwise gas
inclusions be left in the castings. Also,
after placing the chills in the mould, they
should not be kept for long since moisture
may condense on the chills causing blow
Figure 1.8.8: Chills holes in the casting.

The internal chills are placed inside the mould cavity where an external chill cannot be provided.
The material of chill should approximately resemble the composition of the pouring metal for proper
fusing. Cleanliness of the internal chills is far more important because they are surrounded on all sides by
the molten metal.

Chaplets
Chaplets are metallic support often kept inside the mould cavity to support the cores. These are of the same
composition as that of the pouring metal so that the molten metal would provide enough heat to completely
melt them and thus fuse with it during solidification.

Figure 1.8.9: Types of chaplets

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Module-I of Manufacturing Science-I

Though the
chaplet is supposed to fuse
with parent metal, in
practice it is difficult to
achieve and normally it
forms a weak joint in the
casting. The other likely
problems encountered in
chaplets are the
condensation of moisture
which finally ends up as
blow holes. So chaplets
Figure 1.8.10: Core supported by chaplets

before they are placed in the mould should be thoroughly cleaned of any dirt, oil or grease. Because of the
problems associated with chaplets, it is desirable to redesign the castings, as far as possible.

Forces acting on the Core and Moulding Flask


The main force acting on the core when metal is poured into the mould cavity is due to buoyancy.
The buoyant force can be calculated as the difference in the weight of the liquid metal to that of the core
material of the same volume as that of the exposed core. It can be written as
P = V (ρ – d)
Where P = buoyant force, N
V = volume of the core in the mould cavity, cm3
ρ = weight density of the liquid metal, N/ cm3
-2
d = weight density of the core material, N/ cm2 = 1.65 x 10 N/ cm3
The above equation is valid for horizontally placed core. But for vertically placed core the following
equation has to be used.
P = 0.25 π ( D12 – D2 ) H ρ - Vd
Where V = total volume of the core in the mould.

Figure 1.8.11: Horizontal and vertical core


In order to keep the core in position, it is empirically suggested that core print will be able to
support a load of 3.5 N / cm2 of the surface area. Hence to fully support the buoyant force, it is necessary
that the following condition is satisfied.
P ≤ 350 A
Where A = core print area, mm2
If the above arrangement is not satisfied, then it is would be necessary to provide additional
support by way of chaplets. The buoyancy force is transmitted by the core to the cope and would tend to lift
the cope away from the drag. There is another force termed as metallostatic force which is also present
inside the mould cavity. This force is exerted by the molten metal in all directions of the cavity. However,
we will consider the forces exerted in the upward direction.

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Module-I of Manufacturing Science-I

The force Fm can be estimated by taking the area of cross section of the casting on which this is
acting. The projected area, AP of the casting in the parting plane is the area on which the metal pressure will
be acting.

The head of the metal is given by (h-c). The head of


the metal shown is given by (h – c). Hence the force,
F3 = AP ρ (h – c)

Figure 1.8.12: Core supported


Reference
1. Manufacturing Technology by P.N.Rao, TMH , page 119 -123
2. Manufacturing Engineering and Technology by Kalpakjian and Schmid, Pearson Education, page
242-245
3. Manufacturing Science by A. Ghosh and A.K.Mallik , East-West Press Private Limited,
page 60-63.

Review Questions
1. What do you mean by progressive and directional solidification?
2. Why fine grained skin is formed just adjacent to the mould wall in solidification of casting?
3. Why columnar grains are formed in casting?
4. To generate equi-axed grains in casting what conditions one has to create?
5. If nucleation rate is slow but growth rate is fast, what type of grain structure will form?
6. Differentiate between homogeneous and heterogeneous nucleation.
7. How dendrites are formed in alloys?
8. What do you mean by Centre line Feeding Resistance?
9. How feeding distance from riser can be increased?
10. What are the functions of chills and chaplets?
11. Explain external and internal chills.
12. What are the common materials used in chills and chaplets?
13. Find the weights that need to be kept to compensate for the forces during the pouring in a sand
casting of a cast iron pipe of 12.5 cm OD and 10cm ID with a length of 180 cm. The metal head is
to be about 20 cm, while the moulding flask size used for the purpose is 200 x 25 x 20 cm in size.
Take the density of the core sand to be 0.0165 N/ cm3 and the liquid metal density to be 0.0771
N/ cm3.
14. The volume of a sand core is 160 cm3. Find the buoyant force on the core if poured with the
following alloys: a) cast iron b) cast steel c) aluminium.
15. What is the freezing range for steel?
16. How to fill very thin section of the casting by liquid metal?
17. If the core print area is not sufficient to support the buoyant force, then what steps one will
consider?
18. Which types of grain contribute toward high strength of the material?
19. Why centre line cavity is formed in cooling of casting?
20. How thermal properties of mould affect grain sizes of casting?

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