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Materials and Design 31 (2010) 10961104

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Materials and Design


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Inuence of mould design on the solidication of heavy forging ingots of low alloy steels by numerical simulation
A. Kermanpur a,*, M. Eskandari a, H. Purmohamad a, M.A. Soltani c, R. Shateri b
a

Department of Materials Engineering, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan 84156-83111, Iran Iron and Steel Society of Iran, Isfahan 84156-83111, Iran c Department of Materials Engineering, Islamic Azad University Majlessi Branch, Isfahan, Iran
b

a r t i c l e

i n f o

a b s t r a c t
Ingot casting of a 6-ton, heat-treatable CrMo low alloy steel was simulated using nite element method in three dimensions. Effects of casting parameters including bottom pouring rate, mould slenderness ratio, mould slope, and height and shape of the hot top isolate on solidication behaviour and crack susceptibility during subsequent hot forging of the ingot were investigated. The simulation model was validated against experimental data of two different ingot mould designs. Inuences of the casting parameters on the riser efciency and possible crack formation in the intersection of hot top and ingot body during subsequent open-die forging of the cast steel ingots were discussed. Results showed that pouring the melt under a constant rate, reducing the mould slenderness ratio, and using a proper design for the hot top isolate would all improve the riser efciency and thereby possibly reduce crack susceptibility during subsequent hot forging. 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Article history: Received 26 June 2009 Accepted 23 September 2009 Available online 26 September 2009 Keywords: (G) Numerical simulation (C) Ingot casting (A) Low alloy steel (C) Solidication (C) Hot forging

1. Introduction Todays forging industry requires a wide range of raw materials, all of which must meet certain standards that limit the quality of the semi-nished products. In addition to imparting a certain shape and geometric dimensions, the forging process eliminates defects in the initial semi-nished product as it breaks up coarse-grained dendritic structures and nonmetallic inclusions [1]. Thus, the nal product is characterized both by the inherited macrostructural nonuniformity of the ingot and by the nonuniformity which results from plastic deformation. However, cracking may occur during hot forging of steel ingots originating from the cast microstructure or unsuitable forging conditions. The intersection between the hot top (riser) and ingot is a critical region in which circumferential cracks could form during the primary stages of forging. The crack then propagates into the ingot and leads to high crap formation. Fig. 1 shows a typical circumferential crack that is formed during the open-die forging of a low alloy steel ingot. The experimental investigation is not always possible and appropriate because it leads to experiments with a lot of parameters at complicated circumstances and as a result to great material expenditures. That is why a combination of mathematical modelling and experimental investigations is nowadays acquiring greater signicance. Attempts have been made by many researchers to
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +98 311 3915738; fax: +98 311 3912752. E-mail address: ahmad_k@cc.iut.ac.ir (A. Kermanpur). 0261-3069/$ - see front matter 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.matdes.2009.09.045

understand temperature distribution and solidication of large ingots through computer simulation of ingot casting process using the nite element method (FEM). Chernogorova and Vabishchevich [2] investigated the process of the solidication of a binary alloy in a cylindrical metal mould. Tashiro et al. [3] investigated the inuence of hot top and mould design on the formation of central porosities and loose structure in heavy forging ingot (100 and 135 ton ingots) by FEM. Gu and Beckermann [4] numerically simulated melt convection and macro-segregation in the casting of a large steel ingot. Their simulation was based on model for multicomponent steel solidication with melt convection and involves the solution of fully coupled conservation equations for the transport phenomena in the liquid, mush, and solid. Radovic and Lalovic [5] developed two-dimensional (2D) numerical model of ingot solidication based on the Fouriers differential equation as well as energy of lattice defects. On the basis of their numerical model results, they calculated temperature distribution, temperature gradient, distribution solid and liquid phase and increment of solid fraction. Recently, the casting and solidication processes of large, tool steel ingots were modelled numerically and the ingot shape was optimized with respect to the real solidication conditions, suppressing the ingots internal discontinuities and obtaining an acceptable level of structural and chemical homogeneousness [6]. Besides numerical modelling, articial intelligence methods are also under development to design and study ingot manufacturing processes. A prediction model based on data mining roadmap including dynamic polynomial neural network and bootstrap method is recently developed by Bae et al. [7]. They collected trace

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was reached to the hot top, exothermic material was distributed over the melt free surface. Different height to diameter (slenderness) ratios of the mould, riser shapes and pouring regimes were investigated. Two ingot moulds were cast under different conditions: P59 with the slenderness ratio of 1.5 and melt capacity of 5900 kg, and P64 with the slenderness ratio of 2.3 and melt capacity of 6400 kg. Table 2 shows the experimental conditions investigated in the simulations. 3. Numerical simulation The lling and solidication stages of the ingot casting were simulated by the nite element software ProCAST in 3D. A coupled ow-thermalmechanical model was set up in the software based on the NavierStokes equations of uid ow, Fouriers equation of heat ow and stress calculations for gap formation [9]. The ke model was used for the turbulent ow calculations. The enthalpy method was used for applying the latent heat release during solidication. The stress module was activated in the software in order to consider the effect of gap formation in the metal/mould interface on solidication. The stress calculations were started as soon as the fraction of solid was larger than a critical fraction dened by the user (say, 0.5). Effect of gap formation in the melt/mould and melt/insulator interfaces is very crucial on solidication calculations. Initial values of the interfacial heat transfer coefcients between melt/mould and melt/insulator were assigned as 600 and 100 Wm2 K1, respectively [8]. This heat transfer coefcient is a function of ferrostatic pressure of the melt given by the following equation:

Fig. 1. A typical circumferential crack formed during the open-die forging of a 6-ton low alloy steel ingot.

parameters on-line and measured measurement parameters by sampling inspection. First, statistical methods were used for data generation, and then modelling was performed, using the generated data, to improve the performance of the models. The present paper reports development of a 3D numerical model of lling and solidication of a 6-ton low alloy steel ingot using the commercial nite element software ProCASTTM [8]. The model was validated against experimental data of a real casting shop. The validated model was then used to evaluate the effects of different casting parameters aiming at eliminating cracking during hot forging of steel ingots. 2. Experimental procedure The ingot casting operations were carried out in hexahedron cast iron moulds in an industrial alloy steel company. Each mould was consisted of three parts including stool (mould entrance), kokil (mould body) and ring (mould riser), as shown in Fig. 2. The inside surface of the ring was covered by insulation material with 25 mm thickness. Chemical compositions of the low alloy steel and the cast iron mould are listed in Table 1. The steel melt was bottom poured at temperature 1600 C and ow rate of about 7 kg s1 in the 200 C preheated mould through stool. When the melt level

  P h h0 1 A

where h0 is the initial value of the heat transfer coefcient, P is the pressure of melt and A is the empirical constant to account for contact pressure. During a thermo-mechanical calculation, gaps may form between the different domains (e.g. between the casting and the mould). ProCASTTM automatically accounts for the modication of the interface heat transfer coefcient when gaps are forming which is given by equation:

1 h0

1 ; Rgap

Rgap

k gap

1 hrad

where k is the conductivity of air, gap is air gap width and hrad is radiative equivalent heat transfer coefcient [8]. The nite element mesh of mould parts and ingot is shown in Fig. 3, consisting of 22,690 nodes and 103,516 tetrahedral elements. This mesh was selected based on the mesh sensitivity analysis performed for several mesh renements. Fig. 4 shows the boundary conditions applied to the model. As it can be seen, an inlet condition was assigned at the mould bottom for entering the melt into the mould; an isolation condition was set over the melt surface at the riser as the melt was covered by the insulation materials; a natural convection was assigned over the mould body with the environment around the mould. Using the simulation model, fourteen different simulation runs were conducted to investigate the effects of processing parameters as listed in Table 2. 4. Results 4.1. Effect of slenderness ratio The lling and solidication sequences of the P64 and P59 ingot moulds with the melt ow rate of 7 kg s1 are shown in Figs. 5 and 6, respectively (e.g. experiments # 1 and 2 in Table 2). Based on the technology used in the steel plant, the melt ow rate was de-

Fig. 2. Top view of the components of a 6-ton steel mould (P64).

1098 Table 1 Chemical compositions of ingot and mould. Material Code

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Alloys elements C (%) Mn (%) 0.7 0.34 Si (%) 0.3 2.88 Cr (%) 1.10 Mo (%) 0.2 Cu (%) 0.64 Mg (%) 0.05 S (%) 0.03 0.06 P (%) 0.035 0.02

Melt Mould

Alloy steel GGG60

0.4 3.53

Table 2 Experimental conditions used for the simulations. Experiment # Ingot mould Mould slenderness ratio Mould slope () Pouring rate (kg s1) Mould 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 P64 P59 P59L P64H P64 P64 P59 P59 P64 P59 P64 P59 P64 P59 2.3 1.5 1.1 2.8 2.3 2.3 1.5 1.5 2.3 1.5 2.3 1.5 2.3 1.5 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 10 10 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 Hot top 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 7 21 7 21 7 7 3.5 3.5 7 7 Hot top Insulation height Full Full Full Full Full Full Full Full Partial Partial Full Full Full Full Shape Circular Circular Circular Circular Circular Circular Circular Circular Circular Circular Polygonal Polygonal Circular Circular

Fig. 4. The boundary conditions of the model. Fig. 3. Finite element mesh of the mould parts and ingot.

creased from 7 kg s1 to half (e.g. 3.5 kg s1) when the melt free surface touched the hot top (see Figs. 5c and 6c). This was initially thought to be useful for improving the performance of the mould riser. Table 3 shows a reasonable agreement between the measured pouring and solidication times with the simulated ones. It can be seen that the lling time for the two ingots is different (e.g. 1064 s for P64 vs. 1014 s for P59). It can be noticed that more lling time was achieved for the larger mould slenderness ratio. Furthermore, comparing Fig. 5e with Fig. 6e reveals that more solidication was taken place in the riser for the mould P64, when

pouring is completed. Table 3 also shows that the total solidication time for the mould P64 is more than that of mould P59 (e.g. 12,555 vs. 11,285 s, respectively). Therefore, the solidication time was increased by increasing the mould slenderness ratio. In order to investigate the effect of slenderness ratio on directionality of the melt solidication, the solidied shell thickness at the mid-height of the mould for four different slenderness ratios were evaluated. These include the P59 mould, one mould with a slenderness ratio lower than P59 (e.g. 1.1 vs. 1.5) called P59L, the P64 mould, and one mould with a slenderness ratio higher than P64 (e.g. 2.8 vs. 2.3) called P64H. The experimental conditions of the new moulds are shown in Table 2 as experiments # 3 and 4,

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Fig. 5. Distribution of simulated solid fraction during lling and solidication of P64 ingot at: (a) 35 s, (b) 320 s, (c) 760 s, (d) 910 s, (e) 1065 s, (f) 3320 s, (g) 4560 s, (h) 7775 s, and (i) 12,555 s.

respectively. Fig. 7 shows variation of the solidied shell thickness at the mid-height of the moulds versus time. As diameter of the moulds was different, the normalized values of the shell thickness were processed. Also, as the lling time of the moulds was not the same, the reference time was the time at which each mould was just lled. It can be seen that the transverse solidication at the mid-height of the moulds are approximately similar for the four moulds at the beginning, but it becomes different with the progression of solidication. Less transverse solidication is taken place with a lower slenderness ratio.

4.2. Effect of pouring rate Effect of the melt pouring rate on the solid fraction distribution in the ingot P64 is shown in Fig. 8 (e.g. experiments # 1, 5 and 6 in Table 2). Three different pouring rate regimes were used for the lling of the hot top: (a) 7 kg s1 in the mould and 3.5 kg s1 in the hot top; (b) constant pouring rate of 7 kg s1, during lling the whole mould; and (c) 7 kg s1 in the mould and 21 kg s1 in the hot top. The simulation results show that increasing the melt pouring rate in the hot top resulted in decreasing the amount of

1100

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Fig. 6. Distribution of simulated solid fraction during lling and solidication of P59 ingot at: (a) 35 s, (b) 287 s, (c) 703 s, (d) 859 s, (e) 1014 s, (f) 2630 s, (g) 4770 s, (h) 7830 s, and (i) 11,285 s.

Table 3 Experimental observations of the lling and solidication times (in seconds) versus the simulated ones for two moulds P64 and P59. Mould Data Filling time (s) Solidication time (s) P64 Experimental 10801140 18,000 Simulated 1064 12,554 P59 Experimental 9601080 15,600 Simulated 1014 11,284

using both constant and reduced pouring rates. It can be seen that increasing the pouring rate in hot top led to slower cooling.

4.3. Effect of height of isolate in the hot top Distribution of the simulated solid fraction during solidication of P64 ingot using a complete and a partial isolation material in the hot top is shown in Fig. 10 (e.g. experiments # 5 and 9 in Table 2). In Fig. 10a, the hot top is fully covered by the isolating material, whereas one third of the isolating material is removed from the bottom part of the hot top in Fig. 10b. As expected, it can be seen that decreasing the isolate height resulted in decreasing the solidication time. Moreover, thickness of the solid formed on the bottom part of the hot top is the same as the mould region for the hot top with the partial isolating material.

solid formed in the hot top during the pouring operation. This was clearly opposite to the technology used in the steel plant based on which the pouring rate was decreased to half in the hot top. Fig. 9 shows cooling curves of two different locations in the hot top while

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Fig. 9. Simulated cooling curves for two different locations in the hot top of P64 ingot poured at constant and reduced rates.

Fig. 7. Normalized solidied shell thickness at mid-height of four moulds with different slenderness ratios in terms of time after pouring is completed.

5. Discussion From the point of view of casting efciency, it is necessary to design a suitable hot top such that melt solidication is preferably taken place directionally from the mould bottom to the hot top rather than transversely from the wall. Therefore, vertical solidication of the melt in the mould should be facilitated, whereas transverse solidication from the walls of hot top towards the ingot centre must be eliminated [10]. On the other hand, as the thermal conductivity of the hot top materials is much lower than that of the mould material, the cooling effect is much lower in the hot top and consequently, a much coarser dendritic structure will be formed in the hot top. It is well known that mechanical properties and high temperature workability of the cast microstructures are crucially depended upon the dendrite arm spacing of the dendritic structure [11]. It can therefore be concluded that workability of the solid formed in the hot top would be lower than that of the mould region. The above-mentioned thermal simulation results clearly showed that among the different process parameters of the ingot casting of low alloy steels, the slenderness ratio, pouring rate and isolate material had signicant effect on solidication of the low alloy steel in hot top. Simulation results of the lling and solidication times of the P64 and P59 moulds with different pouring rates are shown in Table 5. As shown, increasing the pouring rate in hot top resulted in increasing solidication time of the ingot and improving directional solidication pattern (Fig. 8). In fact,

4.4. Effect of shape of isolate in the hot top The solid fraction distribution in the P64 ingot during solidication with two different isolate shapes is shown in Fig. 11 (e.g. experiments # 1 and 11 in Table 2). It can be seen that the ingot with the polygonal hot top is cooled faster than the one with the circular one due to the more contact area in the polygonal shape. In addition, the polygonal hot top is characterized with a deeper shrinkage at the ingot top. 4.5. Effect of mould slope Effect of the mould slope on the solidication time of P59 ingot with different slopes is shown in Table 4 (e.g. experiments # 7 and 14 in Table 2). As shown, increasing the mould slope leads to increasing solidication time. It seems that, increasing top diameter of the ingot with the higher slope, leads to decreasing heat transfer in radial direction and increasing the solidication time. In addition, a higher mould slope led to a more vertical solidication (Fig. 12). It should be noted that increasing the mould slope is not practically interested, as it increases the number of forging passes during the initial stages of the open-die forging operation.

Fig. 8. Distribution of simulated solid fraction when pouring is completed for the mould P64 under different pouring rates: (a) 7 kg s1 in the mould and 3.5 kg s1 in hot top, (b) constant 7 kg s1, (c) 7 kg s1 in the mould and 21 kg s1 in hot top.

1102

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Fig. 10. Distribution of simulated solid fraction during solidication of the P64 ingot using (a) complete and (b) partial isolate in the hot top.

Fig. 11. Distribution of simulated solid fraction during solidication of the P64 ingot using (a) circular and (b) polygonal hot top.

increasing the pouring rate in the hot top resulted in less time for heat transfer during lling hot top and thereby less solid is formed

in the hot top. This would increase the total solidication time as expected. The simulation results showed that axial solidication

A. Kermanpur et al. / Materials and Design 31 (2010) 10961104 Table 4 Effect of mould slope on solidication time of P59 ingot. Mould slope () Filling time (s) Solidication time (s) 2.8 833 11,360 10 828 14,397

1103

is improved by increasing the pouring rate at hot top, whiles the lateral solidication is minimised. In other words, directional solidication will be improved by increasing the pouring rate. Since cooling rate is much higher in the mould region compared to hot top, the cast microstructure would be ner with increasing the pouring rate. It is expected that this microstructure possesses better workability during the subsequent open-die forging of the ingots. Fig. 13 shows the photograph of the same ingot shown in Fig. 1 that is successfully hot forged and no crack is formed during forging. This ingot was cast under constant pouring rate of 7 kg s1 (i.e. the pouring rate in hot top is double compared to the one in Fig. 1). It conrms that increasing pouring rate in hot top of P64 ingot resulted in reducing crack susceptibility in the critical intersection of hot top and mould ingot. According to the simulation results shown in Fig. 7 it was found that lowering the slenderness ratio of the mould could improve directional solidication pattern in the mould (e.g. lower transverse shell thickness at the mid-height of the mould as shown in Fig. 7) and therefore it may reduce the crack susceptibility. It should be however noted that, on the other hand, as the cast ingots are subsequently subjected to hot forging operation, more forgings would be needed for the ingots with a lower slenderness ratio. In fact, although a lower slenderness ration is preferable in terms of

Fig. 13. Photograph of a 6-ton low alloy steel ingot during the open-die forging the similar ingot. Note that no crack is formed in the intersection of the hot top (right) and ingot (left).

directional solidication, but the ratio should not be such low that the subsequent hot forging become huge and uneconomical. This may also increase the crack susceptibility of the ingots. Therefore, the P59L design is not practically interested, as it increases the number of forging passes during the initial stages of the open-die forging operation, and the P59 mould is more preferable. In practice it was found that when the 200,000 kg ingot (P200) was cast with a reduced height of hot top isolate, no crack was

Fig. 12. Distribution of simulated solid fraction during solidication of the P59 ingot with mould slope of (a) 2.8 and (b) 10.

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Table 5 Simulation results of lling and solidication times of P64 and P59 ingots. Experiment # Ingot Pouring rate (kg s1) Mould 1 2 5 6 8 P64 P59 P64 P64 P59 7 7 7 7 7 Hot top 3.5 3.5 7 21 21 Time (s) Mould lling till hot top 759 703 759 759 703 Hot top lling 305 311 149 49 43 Total pouring 1064 1014 908 808 746 Solidication after ingot lling 11,490 10,270 11,902 12,077 10,754 Total ingot solidication 12,554 11,284 12,810 12,885 11,500

formed in the intersection of hot top with the ingot during forging. In other word, removing the insulating material from the bottom of hot top made it possible for the melt in hot top to solidify similar to the mould region. Therefore, solid formed in the intersection of hot top and ingot represented similar workability and no crack was formed there. It was noticed that under this condition, the crack formation was shifted up to where the insulation wall was installed over the hot top wall. This work clearly showed that numerical simulation of steel ingot casting can be a valuable design tool to investigate the effects of casting parameters on the solidication behaviour and soundness of the heavy cast ingots that are subsequently subjected to hot forging. In order to produce sound ingots after hot forging, it is recommended to adjust casting parameters such that constant pouring rate during casting of the whole ingot, lower slenderness ratio of the mould, and proper hot top riser are used, all of which would enhance vertical solidication rather than transverse solidication.

3. Increasing the mould slope led to increase solidication time and better directional solidication, but it was not practically interested. 4. Circumferential cracks in the intersection of the mould hot top and the ingot body may be formed during the primary stages of open-die forging of cast steel ingots due to the selection of unsuitable parameters of the previous casting operation. Improving vertical solidication in the mould may reduce crack susceptibility during hot forging. References
[1] Metals handbook. Forming and forging, 10th ed., vol. 14. ASM; 1996. [2] Chernogorova TP, Vabishchevich PN. Numerical investigation of solidication processes of cylindrical ingots in a metal mould at variable technological circumstances. Int J Heat Mass Transfer 1999;2:33519. [3] Tashiro K, Watanabe Sh, Kitagawa I, Tamura I. Inuence of mould design on the solidication ad soundness of heavy forging ingots. ISIJ Int 1983;23:31221. [4] Gu JP, Beckermann C. Simulation on convection and macrosegregation in a large steel ingot. Metal Mater Trans A 1999;30A:135766. [5] Radovic Z, Lalovic M. Numerical simulation of steel ingot solidication process. J Mater Process Technol 2005;160:1569. R, Sochor L, Fila P, Martnek L. The Development of a chill [6] Balcar M, Zelezny mould for tool steels using numerical modelling. Mater Technol 2008;42(4):1838. [7] Bae H, Kim S, Woo KB. Prediction modeling for ingot manufacturing process utilizing data mining roadmap including dynamic polynomial neural network and bootstrap method. In: Wang L, Chen K, Ong YS (editors.), International conference on natural computation (ICNC). Changsha, China, 2729, August, 2005. p. 56473. [8] ProCAST users manual. ESI Group. The Virtual Try Out Space Company; 2005. [9] Ilegbusi OJ, Iguchi M, Wahnsiedler W. Mathematical and physical modelling of materials processing operations. Chapman & Hall/CRC; 2000. [10] Marburg E. Trans AIME. J Metals 1953:15772. February. [11] Flemings MC. Solidication process. New York: McGraw-Hill; 1974.

6. Conclusions

1. Pouring the melt under constant rate in the mould with a lower slenderness ratio is preferred to enhance vertical solidication and to reduce transverse solidication in the hot top region. This would lead to the higher riser efciency. 2. Height and shape of the insulating material in the hot top inuenced the solidication behaviour. The circular cross section for the hot top is preferred.