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Title: Solidification behaviour and mechanical properties of cast Mg-alloys and Al-based particulate metal matrix composites under intensive shearing
Authors: Tzamtzis, Spyridon
Advisors: Hari Babu, N
Keywords: Metallurgy;Melt conditioning;Tensile testing;Microstructure
Issue Date: 2011
Abstract: Magnesium alloys, as the lightest of all structural metallic materials, and aluminium-based particulate metal matrix composites (PMMCs), offering unified combination of metallic and ceramic properties, have attracted increased interest from the automotive, aerospace, electronic and recreation industries. Current processing technologies for PMMCs do not achieve a uniform distribution of fine-sized reinforcements and produce agglomerated particles in the ductile matrix, which are detrimental to the ductility. At the same time, molten magnesium alloys contain impurities and oxides and when cast conventionally, the final components usually exhibit a coarse and non-uniform microstructure with various casting defects. The key idea in this thesis has been to adopt a novel intensive melt conditioning process, allowing the application of sufficient shear stress that would disperse solid particles present in the melt and offer unique solidification behaviour, improved fluidity and die-filling during casting. The Melt Conditioned High Pressure Die Casting (MC-HPDC) process, where intensive shearing is directly imposed on the alloy melt, which is then cast by the conventional HPDC process, has been used to produce PMMC and magnesium alloy castings. The MC-HPDC process for PMMCs leads to a uniform dispersion of the reinforcement in the matrix, confirmed by quantitative statistical analysis, and increased mechanical performance as indicated by an increase in the hardness and the tensile properties of the composites. We describe a solidification path for aluminium containing magnesium alloys, where intensive shearing prior to casting leads to effective dispersion of solid oxide particles, which then effectively act as nucleation sites for magnesium grains, resulting in significant grain refinement. The MC-HPDC processed magnesium castings have a significantly refined microstructure, with reduced porosity levels and casting defects. Evaluation of the mechanical properties of the castings reveals the beneficial effect of intensive shearing. After careful optimization, the MC-HPDC process shows promising potential for the direct recycling of high purity magnesium die casting scrap, producing casting with mechanical properties comparable to those of primary magnesium alloys.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
Appears in Collections:Brunel Centre for Advanced Solidification Technology (BCAST)

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