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DIS RESEARCH PROJECT NO. 37

NODULARITY, ITS MEASUREMENT, AND ITS CORRELATION WITH THE MECHANICAL PROPERTIES OF DUCTILE IRON

June 18, 2006

BY

RICHARD B. GUNDLACH

STORK CLIMAX RESEARCH SERVICES 51229 CENTURY COURT WIXOM, MICHIGAN 48393

DIS Research Project No. 37

DIS RESEARCH PROJECT NO. 37

NODULARITY, ITS MEASUREMENT, AND ITS CORRELATION WITH THE MECHANICAL PROPERTIES OF DUCTILE IRON

ABSTRACT

The relationship between nodularity and mechanical properties in the various SAE grades of ductile iron were determined in this study. In addition, a correlation between nodularity and ultrasonic velocity was also developed and an evaluation of this relationship was performed.

A large number of heats (26) were procured for this investigation. Six grades of ductile iron were produced, including D4018 Annealed, D4018 As-cast, D4512, D5506, D7003 and D9002. Test bars were produced at various levels of nodularity with nodularities ranging from 95% to 43%. The test castings consisted of keel blocks and rounds of 1-inch section size.

The results of the study showed that both tensile strength and elongation decrease with nodularity. When achieving the minimum properties of each SAE grade, the acceptable nodularity level varied with the grade of iron. As strength increased, the degradation in properties began at higher nodularity values.

The correlation of nodularity and ultrasonic velocity was loose, and the correlation of mechanical properties and ultrasonic velocity was poor. In addition to the strong influence of nodularity, ultrasonic velocity was also affected by graphite volume and matrix structure.

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DIS Research Project No. 37

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The mechanical properties of ductile iron are tied directly to nodularity. Castings with poor nodularity will display lower tensile elongation and often do not meet minimum tensile strength and/or impact strength requirements. Degenerate graphite particles are stress risers and can also reduce the fatigue strength of ductile iron. Consequently, industrial specifications usually establish the minimum acceptable percent nodularity allowed in a part.

The amount of degradation that occurs with a given deviation from 100% nodularity can vary with the ductile iron grade. The high-strength grades are more susceptible to the presence of degenerate graphite than the low-strength, high-ductility grades. Industrial standards do not necessarily reflect this fact. The objective of this investigation was to determine the relationship between nodularity and mechanical properties of ductile iron.

The need for developing more quantitative data on the correlation of nodularity and properties in ductile iron castings is growing. There is a need to better define what an acceptable microstructure, and or properties, should be. Both the producer and buyer of ductile iron castings need to know this correlation, particularly when the criterion of acceptance is based on these properties. A more precise method of measuring nodularity is also needed to properly referee casting quality. In consideration of current times, this has become more and more important in light of the liability with litigation of suspect castings.

While it would appear that the correlation of nodularity and mechanical properties is well understood, the literature provides very little quantitative data on this subject. All of the data uncovered in a preliminary search compares properties with nodularities that were determined by visual estimates. The estimation of nodularity by individuals has been shown to be quite subjective, particularly as nodularity decreases (it is easier to recognize 95 to 100% nodularity). Several investigators have shown a correlation between nodularity and sonic properties but, again, the correlations are based on visual estimates of nodularity. With the advent of modern analytical tools it seems appropriate to revisit this subject.

With the utilization of ductile iron castings in applications requiring high ductility and toughness and high reliability, various quality assurance techniques have been developed to ensure that high nodularity has been achieved in the casting. Both resonant frequency and ultrasonic velocity measurements have become routine in the foundry. Because of the importance of the correlation between mechanical properties, nodularity and these NDT properties, this investigation makes an attempt to develop correlations between mechanical properties, nodularity and ultrasonic velocity. To improve the repeatability and precision of the nodularity measurement, nodularity was determined by image analysis.

What’s different in this proposal are the methods being used to evaluate the graphite structure. Instead of visual estimations of the nodularity and graphite shape, the structures are being evaluated more quantitatively using automated image analysis. Automated image analysis allows the operator to evaluate many more fields to better obtain an average rating of the microstructure. Image analysis will also minimize the variability of the measurement due to operator bias.

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DIS Research Project No. 37

Furthermore, the correlation of graphite structure with mechanical properties will be extended to include the most common grades of ductile iron.

HISTORY AND THEORY

Historical investigations 1-4 have shown that properties vary significantly with nodularity in ductile iron. Several papers have been published, primarily by BCIRA and in AFS Transactions showing the correlation between nodularity and tensile strength, yield strength and impact toughness. Tensile properties degrade more quickly in high-strength irons than in lower-strength irons as nodularity decreases. The currently available correlations cover only two grades (ferritic and pearlitic); this investigation addresses six grades of ductile iron.

The powerful influence of nodularity on strength is due to the effects of increased stress concentration associated with non-nodular graphite particles. As the graphite structure becomes more degenerated, some dimensions of the graphite particles increase in size. The larger particles produce an increase in stress intensity around each particle and thus reduce the critical stress for crack propagation. The stress concentration increases in proportion to the square root of the major dimension of the particle.

This change in the shape of the graphite particles also changes the elastic modulus and sonic properties of the material, thus, making it possible to evaluate change in structure by NDT techniques. Several investigations 1,2,4 have shown such correlations.

EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURES

The experimental procedure consists of producing many sets of test bars required for this study. The test bars were supplied by the Casting Laboratory of DIS member DaimlerChrysler, which greatly reduced the cost of this project. More than 26 heats were produced to obtain four as-cast grades with a wide range of nodularities. While it was not particularly difficult to produce castings with high nodularities, the production of the four grades with specific levels of low nodularity was quite difficult. Several trial heats were produced that could not be used due to duplication. Table 1 contains a list of the desired materials and test matrix for this study.

There are various methods that could be employed to produce low nodularity in ductile iron, including reduced Mg treatment levels, holding the treated iron to achieve fade, or adding tramp elements to spoil the graphite structure. For this investigation, the nodularity was varied by controlling the Mg treatment level and also by adjusting nodularity with small additions of S to the treated metal.

Both double-coupon keel blocks and round test bars were poured for this study. The chemically bonded sand molds for the keel blocks were produced by Wescast Industries and supplied to DaimlerChrysler for casting. Numerous castings were poured due to the number of test bars required for the investigation.

For the annealed ferritic grade D4018 “Annealed”, certain heats were selected based on nodularity and on compositions which were expected to best respond to a ferritize annealing heat

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DIS Research Project No. 37

treatment. Up to six bars from each heat were subjected to a subcritical anneal. The test bars were heated to 1325 o F, held for 4 hours, and furnace-cooled.

For the quenched and tempered grade D9002, additional heats were selected based on nodularity and on compositions which were expected to through-harden upon quenching from the austenitizing temperature. Up to six bars from each heat were subjected to a heat treatment by heating to 1650 o F, holding 1.5 hours and quenching in oil. The test bars were subsequently tempered at 950 o F for 2 hours and furnace-cooled.

Table 1. Material and Test Matrix

Grade

Sample

Nodularity

 

Test Matrix

 

Quantity

Levels

 

El.

 

UT

 

Tensile

Modulus

Metallography

Velocity

HB

D4018

33

Five

5

x 6

5

x 2

5

x 2

5

x 6

5

x 6

D4018 Ann.

33

Five

5

x 6

5

x 2

5

x 2

5

x 6

5

x 6

D4512

33

Five

5

x 6

5

x 2

5

x 2

5

x 6

5

x 6

D5506

33

Five

5

x 6

5

x 2

5

x 2

5

x 6

5

x 6

D7003

33

Five

5

x 6

5

x 2

5

x 2

5

x 6

5

x 6

D9002

33

Five

5

x 6

5

x 2

5

x 2

5

x 6

5

x 6

Nodularity

As each group of test bars was submitted for evaluation, a test bar was sampled to determine nodularity and microstructure. This screening process was used to determine whether the test bars fit the material matrix in Table 1. The metallographic sample used to determine nodularity was cut from a location well away from the cast end of the test bar to avoid any abnormally high nodularity readings associated with end effects.

Percent nodularity and nodule count were measured using computer-aided image analysis. The method was identical to that used in developing the DIS nodularity wallchart “Graphite Rating in Ductile Iron”. The method of determining nodularity follows ASTM A 247-67(1998) practices, where percent nodularity was based on area fraction nodules versus total graphite area. The criterion (shape factor) used for distinguishing nodules from other graphite inclusions was "compactness”. More details about the measurement are given in the Metallography section of this report.

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DIS Research Project No. 37

Ultrasonic Velocity Measurement

The ultrasonic velocity was determined for all tensile bars. Flat and parallel surfaces were machined in each test bar and the thickness of the test bar was determined for the machined faces. Thickness was determined to the nearest 0.0001 inch. Subsequently, the thickness was determined using a Panametrics Model 22DLHP Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge and a 5 MHz transducer. The ultrasonic thickness gauge was calibrated with reference gauge blocks in the range of 0.20 to 1.50 inches. The ultrasonic velocity of each specimen was then calculated using the physical thickness reading, the UT thickness reading and the known ultrasonic velocity of the reference gauge blocks. All measurements were made in the middle (mid-length) of each test bar.

To verify the measurement technique, numerous samples were prepared for testing and shipped to Randy Hunt of Citation - Brewton for measuring ultrasonic velocity. Velocity measurements were taken at each end of the test bars using an American NDT AX-9 Ultrasonic Velocity Test Machine. The test fixture (Figure 2) utilizes two transducers, which perform thickness and velocity measurements without contacting the part directly. Calibration was performed using a 304 stainless steel block @ 0.2264 in/µsec. Figure 4 demonstrates the manner in which parts were placed into the fixture for measurement. The samples were returned to CRS for measurement with the technique described above. The test results are listed in Table 2, and they show that the two labs compared quite favorably. On average, the CRS readings were 0.0006 in/ µsec lower than the Citation readings. The lower readings may in part be due to the fact that CRS made the measurement in the middle rather than near the ends of the bar.

in the middle rather than near the ends of the bar. Figure 2. Photograph of the

Figure 2. Photograph of the American NDT AX-9 Ultrasonic Velocity Test Machine.

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DIS Research Project No. 37

Table 2. Results of Ultrasonic Velocity Measurements at Citation – Brewton and CRS

Sample

ID

Citation

CRS

Sample

ID

Citation

CRS

Velocity

Velocity

Velocity

Velocity

Velocity

Velocity

 

@ A

@ C

Middle

 

@ A

@ C

Middle

2-A-1

0.2217

0.2216

0.2221

5-1-1

0.2201

0.2204

0.2196

2-A-2

0.2216

0.2218

0.2214

5-1-2

0.2205

0.2201

0.2195

2-A-3

0.2216

0.2216

0.2218

5-1-3

0.2203

0.2204

0.2196

2-B-1

0.2221

0.2221

0.2219

5-1-4

0.2202

0.2203

0.2186

2-B-2

0.2217

0.2217

0.2214

5-1-5

0.2202

0.2203

0.2188

2-B-3

0.2217

0.2215

0.2215

5-1A-1

0.2201

0.2201

0.2188

2-B-4

0.2223

0.2224

0.2223

5-1A-2

0.2198

0.2198

0.2189

2-BA-1

0.2211

0.2212

0.2208

5-1A-3

0.2202

0.2201

0.2174

2-BA-2

0.2211

0.2208

0.2203

5-1A-4

0.2203

0.2203

0.2193

2-BA-3

0.2212

0.2212

0.2208

5-1A-5

0.2204

0.2204

0.2192

2-BA-4

0.2211

0.2211

0.2204

5-1A-6

0.2201

0.2197

0.2185

2-BA-5

0.2222

0.2223

0.2215

6-1-1

0.2191

0.2193

--

2-BA-6

0.2211

0.2211

0.2206

6-1-2

0.2211

0.2212

0.2201

3-A-1

0.2211

0.2212

0.2211

6-1-3

0.2210

0.2209

0.2194

3-A-2

0.2207

0.2196

0.2210

6-1-4

0.2209

0.2206

0.2197

3-B-1

0.2232

0.2231

0.2235

6-1-5

0.2209

0.2209

0.2200

3-B-2

0.2234

0.2234

0.2232

6-1-6

0.2209

0.2204

0.2195

4-A-1

0.2213

0.2216

0.2215

6-2-1

0.2191

0.2191

0.2173

4-A-2

0.2214

0.2211

0.2218

6-2-2

0.2193

0.2195

0.2180

4-A-3

0.2215

0.2216

0.2220

6-2-3

0.2192

0.2192

0.2178

4-C-1

0.2238

0.2240

0.2231

6-2-4

0.2195

0.2193

0.2176

4-C-2

0.2240

0.2240

0.2237

6-1A-1

0.2207

0.2207

0.2194

4-C-3

0.2239

0.2240

0.2233

6-1A-2

0.2210

0.2210

0.2197

7-1-1

0.2226

0.2223

0.2232

6-1A-3

0.2212

0.2212

0.2198

7-1-2

0.2223

0.2221

0.2234

6-1A-4

0.2209

0.2210

0.2198

7-1-3

0.2223

0.2225

0.2234

6-1A-5

0.2206

0.2209

0.2196

7-1-4

0.2224

0.2228

0.2230

6-1A-6

0.2209

0.2209

0.2196

7-1-5

0.2224

0.2225

0.2229

6-2A-1

0.2196

0.2195

0.2172

7-2-1

0.2219

0.2220

0.2225

6-2A-2

0.2194

0.2195

0.2174

7-2-2

0.2219

0.2220

0.2222

6-2A-3

0.2193

0.2194

0.2175

7-2-3

0.2222

0.2219

0.2224

6-2A-4

0.2195

0.2195

0.2181

7-2-4

0.2221

0.2219

0.2226

6-2A-5

0.2195

0.2193

0.2180

7-2-5

0.2222

0.2222

0.2227

6-2A-6

0.2195

0.2194

0.2178

7-3-1

0.2210

0.2207

0.2208

       

7-3-2

0.2207

0.2207

0.2206

       

7-3-3

0.2208

0.2214

0.2216

       

7-3-4

0.2211

0.2208

0.2214

       

7-3-5

0.2207

0.2207

0.2210

       

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DIS Research Project No. 37

Mechanical Testing

A single round tensile test specimen was machined from each keel block leg. The tensile

specimens were machined with a gauge section measuring 0.50 inch diameter by 2.0 inches long and with a shoulder radius of 0.50 inch. The specimens were loaded in tension at a rate of 0.3% per minute to 1% strain, and then loaded with a controlled crosshead speed of 0.20 inch per minute to failure, in accordance with ASTM standard E8-03. In the test, 0.2% yield strength, ultimate tensile strength, and tensile elongation were determined. The elastic modulus was also determined for several test specimens. Five to six tensile test specimens were tested for each grade and nodularity level. The complete tensile property data are presented in the Appendix. A summary of the results of mechanical testing is shown in Table 3.

Metallography

Selected test bars were chosen for metallographic evaluation. The samples were compression- mounted in thermosetting resin and polished using standard mechanical techniques using silicon carbide abrasives in accordance with ASTM standard E3-01. The mounted specimens were final-polished using colloidal silica media with a 0.05 um particle size. The microstructures were photographed in the as-polished condition and after etching with 2% nital. Representative photomicrographs are shown in the Appendix in Figures A1 through A11.

Percent nodularity and nodule count were measured using computer-aided image analysis. Twenty-five (25) fields at 100X magnification were analyzed for a total area of 27 mm 2 . The method of determining nodularity follows ASTM A 247-67(1998) practices, where the criterion used for percent nodularity was based on area fraction nodules versus total graphite area. The criterion (shape factor) used for distinguishing nodules from other graphite inclusions was "compactness", using a value 0.70, and particles less than 10 µm were excluded from the calculation. Nodule count was determined and, once again, nodules smaller than 10 µm were excluded from the measurement.

Percent ferrite was also measured using computer-aided image analysis. The samples were heavily etched in 2% nital. Twenty-five (25) fields at 100X magnification were analyzed for a total area of 27 mm 2 . The graphite was ignored in the measurement and the reported values represent % ferrite as a fraction of the metallic matrix, only. The specimens were inspected for intercellular carbides, but none were observed. The results of all metallographic analyses are presented in the Appendix.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Numerous heats were produced to obtain a series of ductile iron materials with varying nodularity for six grades of ductile iron. Several heats were set aside because of duplication in

microstructures.

The range in nodularity for the heats in each grade is shown below in Table 4.

In general, the tensile strength and tensile elongation decreased with decreasing nodularity, as

expected. The correlations of tensile strength with nodularity for the annealed ferritic grade D4018 and for the pearlitic grade D7003 are shown in Figure 1.

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DIS Research Project No. 37

Table 3. Summary of Test Data for the Six Grades of Ductile Iron Test Bars

   

Ferrite

 

UT

     

Elastic

Grade

Series

ID

Content

%

Nodularity

%

Velocity

in/µs

Yield Strength

Tensile Strength

Elongation

%

Modulus

Mpsi

MPa

ksi

MPa

ksi

 

1B

<99

95

0.2208

245

35.6

396

57.5

24.2

 

2BA

<99

94

0.2207

267

38.8

407

59

23.0

22.2

1A

<99

89

0.2205

281

40.8

423

61.29

18.3

 

2A

<99

86

0.2199

289

41.9

426

61.72

20.5

 

D4018 Ann

M

<99

73

0.2181

284

41.1

408

59.2

15.9

 

S

<99

70

0.2179

297

43.1

423

61.39

13.7

 
 

51A

<99

77

0.2187

285

41.3

419

54.49

6.3

22.8

61A

<99

68

0.2197

293

42.5

421

61.0

18

23.5

62A

<99

58

0.2177

288

41.8

404

58.58

14.7

21.9

L

<99

43

0.2136

264

38.2

366

53.03

10.3

 
 

1B

90-95

95

0.2211

252

36.6

418

60.56

23.0

 

D4018

2B

70-75

94

0.2218

297

43

514

74.48

16.3

23.4

1A

70

87

0.2205

289

42

481

69.83

14.5

 
 

51

 

77

0.2192

294

42.6

400

58

5.1

23.1

 

2B

70-75

93

0.2215

291

42.2

500

72.52

18.5

 

2A

84

86

0.2216

330

47.8

528

76.56

11.3

21.5

M

65

79

0.2192

312

45.2

502

72.85

8.8

 

D4512

S

75

70

0.2194

318

46.1

473

68.61

14.2

 

61

 

65

0.2197

310

44.9

473

68.63

13.0

22.5

62

68

57

0.2176

305

44.3

440

63.82

8.8

21.1

L

65

43

0.2142

296

43

430

62.42

6.3

 
 

3B

10

94

0.2234

404

58.7

739

107.3

6.5

21.2

71

 

92

0.2232

440

63.9

741

107.3

5.5

22.2

D5506

3A

44

90

0.2209

408

59.1

684

99.3

6.5

22.6

72

6

86

0.2225

440

63.8

743

108

5.7

21.9

73

 

74

0.2211

421

61.1

683

99.17

4.9

22.6

 

3C

5

96

0.2225

442

64

812

117.7

5.4

 

D7003

4C

5

94

0.2234

478

69.2

852

123.8

6.2

22.9

4A

16

85

0.2213

473

68.6

757

109.7

4.5

21.3

 

83

<1

81

0.2224

464

67.3

807

117.1

5.4

 
 

4C-H

<1

94

0.22

942

137

1142

165.7

3.8

 

82-H

<1

88

0.2174

ND

ND

874

126.8

0.2

 

D9002

72-H

<1

86

0.2174

896

130

1025

148.6

1.5

 

83-H

<1

81

0.2164

889

129

818

118.7

0.5

 

73-H

<1

77

0.2146

854

124

984

142.7

1.6

 

ND Not determined due to insufficient plastic strain (less 0.2% plastic strain)

Page 9 of 34

DIS Research Project No. 37

Table 4 Materials procured for this investigation (26+ Heats from DCX)

SAE Grade

Range in Nodularity

D4018 (Annealed)

95% to 43%

D4018

95% to 77%

D4512

94% to 43%

D5506

94% to 74%

D7003

96% to 85%

D9002

94% to 74%

It is clear that an acceptable level of nodularity in the ferritic grade is much lower than that for the pearlitic grade and that the tolerance for poor nodularity is much greater in the ferritic grade. Figure 1b illustrates the correlation between tensile strength and nodularity in all six grades. The same trend is apparent; the lower-strength, tough grades of ductile iron are more tolerant of low nodularity.

The correlation between tensile elongation and nodularity displays a trend similar to that of tensile strength and nodularity, however, the rate of degradation is even more pronounced. Plots of tensile elongation and nodularity are shown in Figures 2a and 2b. The minimum acceptable levels of nodularity required to meet the tensile strength and for tensile elongation were determined for each grade using the plots in Figures 1 and 2, and the results are shown below in Table 5.

Table 5. Minimum acceptable nodularity for each grade according to tensile strength and tensile elongation

 

Specification

% Nodularity required to meet specification

Grade

Tensile

 

Tensile

 

Strength

ksi

%

Elongation

Strength

ksi

%

Elongation

D 4018 Ann

60

18

68

74

D

4018

60

18

78

90

D

4512

65

12

60

67

D

5506

80

6

NA

80

D

7003

100

3

85

84

D

9002

120

2

81

90

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DIS Research Project No. 37

140 D4018 Ann D7003 120 100 80 60 40 20 40 60 80 100 Tensile
140
D4018 Ann
D7003
120
100
80
60
40
20
40
60
80
100
Tensile Stength, ksi

Nodularity, %

Figure 1a Correlation of tensile strength with nodularity in D4018 Annealed and D7003.

180 D4018 Ann D4018 160 D4512 D5506 D7003 140 D9002 120 100 80 60 40
180
D4018 Ann
D4018
160
D4512
D5506
D7003
140
D9002
120
100
80
60
40
20
40
60
80
100
Tensile Stength, ksi

Nodularity, %

Figure 1b Correlation of tensile strength with nodularity in all grades of this investigation.

Page 11 of 34

DIS Research Project No. 37

25 D4018 Ann D7003 20 15 10 5 0 20 30 40 50 60 70
25
D4018 Ann
D7003
20
15
10
5
0
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Tensile Elongation, %

Nodularity, %

Figure 2a Correlation of tensile elongation with nodularity in tion.

25 D4018 Ann 20 D4018 D4512 D5506 D7003 15 D9002 10 5 0 20 30
25
D4018 Ann
20
D4018
D4512
D5506
D7003
15
D9002
10
5
0
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Tensile Elongation, %

Nodularity, %

Figure 2b Correlation of tensile elongation with nodularity in all grades of this investigation.

Page 12 of 34

DIS Research Project No. 37

180 160 140 94% 120 86% 81% 100 80 60 94% nod 4CH-5 86% nod
180
160
140
94%
120
86%
81%
100
80
60
94% nod
4CH-5
86% nod
7-2H-3
40
81% nod
8-3H-1
20
0
Stress (ksi)

012345678

Strain (%)

Figure 3 Stress-strain curves for D7003 tensile bars of varying nodularities.

While a decrease in nodularity had a strong affect on tensile strength and tensile elongation, it did not significantly affect yield strength. The stress strain curves in Figure 3 illustrate the influence of nodularity on the stress-strain curves of grade D7003 test bars with varying nodularity.

Ultrasonic Velocity

The literature shows that graphite structure, graphite volume fraction and section size all influence sonic properties. Ultrasonic velocity is routinely used to evaluate nodularity in ductile iron castings. Degenerate graphite particles slow the speed of sound and, thus, ultrasonic velocity is used to determine percent nodularity non-destructively.

Studies 1-4 of the influence of nodularity on ultrasonic velocity were conducted by BCIRA in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The findings show that ultrasonic velocity decreases linearly with nodularity, as shown in Figure 4. It is interesting to note that the curve for ferritic irons is not identical to that of pearlitic irons and that for the same nodularity the ultrasonic velocity in ferritic iron is higher than that of pearlitic iron.

Page 13 of 34

DIS Research Project No. 37

DIS Research Project No. 37 Figure 4. Relationship between visually assessed nodularity and ultrasonic velocity. After

Figure 4. Relationship between visually assessed nodularity and ultrasonic velocity. After BCIRA 1,2

When the values for ultrasonic velocity and nodularity for the irons of this study are plotted, the trend is similar, as shown in Figure 5. There is considerable scatter in the data indicating that the prediction of nodularity from ultrasonic velocity is not particularly rigorous. When the correlation of nodularity and ultrasonic velocity is broken out for each grade of ductile iron, the relationship becomes much stronger, as shown in Figure 6.

0.2240 0.2220 0.2200 0.2180 0.2160 0.2140 0.2120 40 60 80 100 UT Velocity, in/ µ
0.2240
0.2220
0.2200
0.2180
0.2160
0.2140
0.2120
40
60
80
100
UT Velocity, in/ µ sec

Nodularity, %

Figure 5. Correlation of nodularity, by image analysis, with ultrasonic velocity.

Page 14 of 34

DIS Research Project No. 37

0.2240 0.2220 0.2200 0.2180 0.2160 D4018 Ann D4018 D4512 0.2140 D5506 D7003 D9002 0.2120 40
0.2240
0.2220
0.2200
0.2180
0.2160
D4018 Ann
D4018
D4512
0.2140
D5506
D7003
D9002
0.2120
40
60
80
100
UT Velocity, in/ secµ

Nodularity, %

Figure 6. Relationship between nodularity, by image analysis, and ultrasonic velocity for each of six grades of ductile iron.

The correlation of nodularity with ultrasonic velocity appears to be essentially linear for each grade of iron, as shown in Figure 6; but the plot for each grade is shifted to higher or lower values (intercepts) as compared to other grades. The series for D5506 irons displayed the highest ultrasonic velocities, followed by the pearlitic grade D7003. The ferritic grades displayed much lower velocities. Of particular note is the curve for the heat-treated D9002 grade; it displayed the lowest velocities of all the grades.

When comparing the results of this study with those of the BCIRA study, it was found that the velocities in the BCIRA study were generally lower, as shown in Figure 7. The ferritic iron series of BCIRA and DIS are not very far apart, but the pearlitic iron series of BCIRA is much lower than the DIS pearlitic iron series. Furthermore, the pearlitic series of BCIRA is below the ferritic series; whereas in this study the pearlitic series is above the ferritic series. Upon close examination of the BCIRA work, it was found that the pearlitic iron series was produced by heat treating (normalizing) the ferritic series. It is surmised that the heat treatment resulted in some growth of the casting, and it is this growth that reduced velocities in the pearlitic samples. It is also opined that this same phenomenon occurred in the heat treatment of the D9002 samples, and that growth contributed to the low velocities found for the D9002 series in this study.

Several factors appear to affect the ultrasonic velocity in ductile iron, including graphite volume, graphite shape, density of the matrix, the presence of porosity and the presence of carbides. The

Page 15 of 34

DIS Research Project No. 37

2240 Pearlitic Velocity Ferritic Series DIS Data 2220 2200 2180 2160 2140 2120 20 30
2240
Pearlitic Velocity
Ferritic Series
DIS Data
2220
2200
2180
2160
2140
2120
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
110
UT Velocity x 10 4 , in/
secµ

Nodularity, %

Figure 7. Correlations of nodularity with ultrasonic velocity – BCIRA data versus DIS data.

density of the matrix varies with the microstructure, with ferrite being more dense than pearlite, and pearlite more dense than tempered martensite. Of course, with a fully ferritic matrix (the most dense microstructure), all the carbon in the alloy is present as graphite and the large graphite volume results in a low ultrasonic velocity. Consequently, it appears that graphite volume and matrix density have similar influences on ultrasonic velocity – both reduce velocity.

In general, a low-density pearlitic alloy has significant amounts of combined carbon and thus a lower graphite fraction over ferritic ductile iron. Consequently, as pearlite fraction increases, the graphite volume decreases. With regard to ultrasonic velocity, an increase in pearlite content (and the attendant decrease in matrix density) is partially offset by a decrease in graphite volume fraction. Further examination of the data of this study revealed that the D5506 series, with a pearlite-ferrite matrix displayed the highest ultrasonic velocities for a given nodularity rating. It appears that the D5506 series contained optimum amounts of ferrite, pearlite and graphite volumes such that maximum ultrasonic velocities were achieved.

Ultrasonic Velocity and Elastic Modulus

It is generally understood that the ultrasonic velocity is related to the elastic modulus of the metal. As the graphite shape becomes more degenerate, both the ultrasonic velocity and the elastic modulus will decrease. The ultrasonic velocity has been plotted against elastic modulus for the irons of this study and the correlation is shown in Figure 8. The correlation between ultrasonic velocity and elastic modulus was found to be very poor.

Page 16 of 34

DIS Research Project No. 37

26 24 22 20 18 0.2160 0.2180 0.2200 0.2220 0.2240 0.2260 Elastic Modulus, Msi
26
24
22
20
18
0.2160
0.2180
0.2200
0.2220
0.2240
0.2260
Elastic Modulus, Msi

Velocity, in/µsec

Figure 8. Relationship between ultrasonic velocity and elastic modulus.

SUMMARY

The results of this study have revealed a number of findings, including the following.

1. Tensile strength and elongation decrease with decreasing nodularity.

2. The level of nodularity that produces acceptable properties varies with the grade of ductile iron.

3. As strength increases, the degradation in properties occurs at higher nodularity values.

4. The correlation of nodularity and ultrasonic velocity is loose, but improves dramatically when correlated within each grade of ductile iron.

5. The correlation of mechanical properties with ultrasonic velocity is poor.

6. In addition to nodularity, graphite volume, matrix structure and carbides strongly affect ultrasonic velocity.

The results of this study should reduce the confusion associated with rating microstructures and the expected properties in ductile iron castings. Furthermore, the results of the study should contribute to the ability to characterize the quality of a casting.

Page 17 of 34

DIS Research Project No. 37

RECOMMENDATIONS

The literature and the findings of this study show that graphite structure, graphite volume fraction and section size all influence sonic properties. It has been proposed that the matrix microstructure (ferrite vs. pearlite vs. martensite) influences ultrasonic velocity through its influence on density. It has also been proposed that graphite volume similarly influences UT velocity. These findings suggest that there may be a good correlation of UT velocity with both nodularity and density. It is anticipated that some additional work will be conducted to further investigate the correlations of nodularity, sonic properties, density, and mechanical properties in some grades of ductile iron.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The author wishes to acknowledge the contributions of Phil Seaton and DaimlerChrysler for providing all of the test castings for this investigation. The keel block molds used to pour the

test bars were provided by Tony Thoma and Wescast.

Randy Hunt and Citation-Brewton are gratefully acknowledged. The author also wishes to thank Al Alagarsamy for the technical support he provided during this study. And lastly, the helpful suggestions and support of Martin Gagne, Kathy Hayrynen, Jim Mullins and Phil Seaton who make up the DIS Steering Committee are greatly appreciated.

And, the ultrasonic testing performed by

REFERENCES

1. Emerson, P.J., Simmons, W., "Final Report on the Evaluation of Graphite Form in Ferritic

Ductile Irons by Ultrasonic and Sonic Testing and on the Effect of Graphite Form on Mechanical Properties", AFS Trans., Vol. 84, p. 109-128 (1976).

2. Fuller, A.G., "Evaluation of the Graphite Form in Pearlitic Ductile Iron by Ultrasonic and

Sonic Testing and Effect of Graphite Form on Mechanical Properties", AFS Trans., Vol. 85, p. 509 (1977).

3. Fuller, A.G., "Effect of Graphite Form on Fatigue Properties of Pearlitic Ductile Irons ", AFS

Trans., Vol. 85, p. 527 (1977).

4. Fuller, A.G., Emerson, P.J. and Sergeant, G.F. "A Report on the Effect Upon Mechanical

Properties of Variation in Graphite Form in Irons Having Varying Amounts of Ferrite and Pearlite in the Matrix Structure and the Use of Nondestructive Tests in the Assessment of

Mechanical Properties of Such Irons", AFS Trans., Vol. 88, p. 21 (1980).

Page 18 of 34

DIS Research Project No. 37

APPENDIX

Table A1. Results of Mechanical Testing, Metallography and UT Testing

     

Ferrite

 

UT

Yield

Tensile

 

Elastic

Grade

Series ID

Sample

Content

Nodularity

%

Velocity

Strength

Strength

Elongation

%

Modulus

%

in/µs

MPa

ksi

MPa

ksi

Mpsi

   

1B2

>98

95

0.2205

245

35.6

397

57.6

24

 

1B

1B3

>98

95

0.2210

245

35.6

396

57.5

24

 

1B

>98

95

0.2208

245

35.6

396

57.5

24

 
 

2BA1

>98

94

0.2208

274

39.7

410

59.5

23

22.4

2BA2

>98

94

0.2203

279

40.5

413

59.9

22

20.7

2BA3

>98

94

0.2208

267

38.7

406

59.0

23

23.8

2BA

2BA4

>98

94

0.2204

262

38.0

404

58.5

24

22.2

2BA5

>98

94

0.2215

247

35.8

396

57.4

24

21.2

2BA6

>98

94

0.2206

275

39.9

411

59.7

22

23.1

2BA

>98

94

0.2207

267

38.8

407

59.0

23

22.2

 

1A1

>98

89

0.2206

280

40.6

425

61.7

10

 

1A3

>98

89

0.2198

283

41.1

422

61.1

20

 

1A

1A4

>98

89

0.2208

280

40.7

421

61.1

22

 

1A5

>98

89

0.2206

281

40.7

423

61.3

21

 

1A

>98

89

0.2205

281

40.8

423

61.3

18

 
 

2A1

>98

86

0.2199

287

41.6

425

61.6

22

 

2A

2A3

>98

86

0.2198

297

43.0

431

62.5

20

 

2A6

>98

86

0.2201

283

41.1

421

61.1

20

 
 

2A

>98

86

0.2199

289

41.9

426

61.7

20

 
 

M1

>98

67

0.2174

274

39.8

402

58.4

15

 

M

M2

>98

79

0.2188

293

42.5

414

60.0

16

 

M

>98

73

0.2181

284

41.1

408

59.2

16

 
 

S2

>98

70

0.2179

299

43.3

425

61.6

13

 

D4018

S

S5

>98

70

0.2178

296

42.9

422

61.2

14

 
                   

Ann

S

>98

70

0.2179

297

43.1

423

61.4

14

 
 

51A1

>98

77

0.2188

282

40.8

363

52.7

4.6

23.2

 

51A2

>98

77

0.2189

284

41.1

390

56.5

7.3

23.2

51A3

>98

77

0.2174

280

40.6

340

49.3

3.1

20.9

51A

51A4

>98

77

0.2193

283

41.0

659

52.1

4.4

23.3

51A5

>98

77

0.2192

284

41.2

411

59.7

15

23.5

51A6

>98

77

0.2185

281

40.7

345

50.0

3.5

22.6

51A

>98

77

0.2187

285

41.3

419

54.5

6.3

22.8

 

61A1

>98

68

0.2194

293

42.5

420

60.9

18

24.1

61A2

>98

68

0.2197

293

42.5

418

60.6

12

24.3

61A3

>98

68

0.2198

293

42.5

423

61.3

20

23.1

61A

61A4

>98

68

0.2198

292

42.4

423

61.3

20

23.7

61A5

>98

68

0.2196

292

42.4

420

60.9

19

23.0

61A6

>98

68

0.2196

294

42.6

422

61.2

19

22.5

61A

>98

68

0.2197

293

42.5

421

61.0

18

23.5

 

62A1

>98

58

0.2172

288

41.8

403

58.5

16

22.0

62A2

>98

58

0.2174

288

41.7

405

58.7

14

21.4

62A3

>98

58

0.2175

289

41.9

404

58.6

14

21.8

62A

62A4

>98

58

0.2181

288

41.7

405

58.7

15

21.9

62A5

>98

58

0.2180

289

41.9

402

58.4

14

22.0

62A6

>98

58

0.2178

288

41.8

404

58.6

15

22.2

62A

>98

58

0.2177

288

41.8

404

58.6

15

21.9

 

L1

>98

43

0.2139

264

38.3

366

53.1

10

 

L

L6

>98

43

0.2132

263

38.2

365

53.0

10

 

L

>98

43

0.2136

264

38.2

366

53.0

10

 

Page 19 of 34

DIS Research Project No. 37

Table A1 (continued). Results of Mechanical Testing, Metallography and UT Testing

Grade

Series ID

Sample

Ferrite

Nodularity

UT

Yield

Tensile

Elongation

Elastic

%

%

in/µs

MPa

ksi

MPa

ksi

%

Mpsi

   

1B1

90-95

95

0.2215

252

36.5

412

59.7

24

 

1B4

90-95

95

0.2203

247

35.8

407

59.1

25

 

1B

1B5

90-95

95

0.2215

257

37.2

431

62.5

19

 

1B6

90-95

95

0.2211

253

36.7

420

60.9

24

 

1B

90-95

95

0.2211

252

36.6

418

60.6

23

 
 

2B1

 

94

0.2219

297

43.1

510

73.9

16

23.3

2B2

 

94

0.2214

263

38.2

433

62.8

21

23.8

2B

2B3

25-30

94

0.2215

292

42.3

501

72.6

16

22.4

2B4

 

94

0.2223

334

48.5

611

88.6

12

24.0

D4018

2B

 

94

0.2218

297

43.0

514

74.5

16

23.4

 

1A2

 

89

0.2208

299

43.3

479

69.5

14

 
 

1A

1A6

70

84

0.2201

280

40.6

484

70.1

15

 

1A

 

87

0.2205

289

42.0

481

69.8

15

 
 

511

 

77

0.2196

292

42.3

411

59.6

6.0

25.1

512

 

77

0.2195

293

42.5

418

60.7

6.9

23.7

513

 

77

0.2196

290

42.1

364

52.7

2.7

23.5

51

514

 

77

0.2186

292

42.3

387

56.1

4.0

22.3

515

 

77

0.2188

293

42.5

399

57.8

4.8

22.7

51A

 

77

 

302

43.8

422

61.1

6.0

21.3

51

 

77

0.2192

294

42.6

400

58.0

5.1

23.1

   

2B1

70-75

94

0.2210

334

48.4

603

87.5

13

 

2B

2B3

70-75

91

0.2222

268

38.8

447

64.8

21

 

2B6

70-75

94

0.2213

272

39.5

450

65.3

22

 
 

2B

70-75

93

0.2215

291

42.2

500

72.5

18

 
 

2A2

84

86

0.2214

356

51.7

581

84.2

9.1

 

2A4

84</