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Hot tears or ‘pulls’ are characterised by irregular form, partial or complete fracture following an intergranular path. Tears are often located at changes in section, where stress concentration is associated with locally delayed cooling (see Figure 5.24). In some cases, however, a tear may be wholly internal; the distinction between such a tear and some forms of shrinkageis indefinite, since restraint of solid contraction and lack of liquid feed may both be involved during the later stages of freezing. It is well established that the critical temperature range for tear formation lies in the region of the solidus, where the contraction behaviour of a solid is combined with extreme weakness and little capacity for plastic flow (stage 2 in the previously outlined cooling cycle)86,87. Thus, even the comparatively low strength of the moulding material may produce fracture. The occurrence of hot tears is influenced by three factors, namely alloy composition, the design of the individual casting and foundry technique.
The most radical technique for production of gas-free metal is vacuum melting. Four specific effects of vacuum conditions are relevant: 1. atmospheric contamination is excluded, 2. dissolved gases are extracted through the influence of reduced pressure on gas– metal equilibria, 3. pressure dependent reactions assist the elimination of elements which precipitate compound gases during freezing, 4. elements with high vapour pressures are preferentially evaporated. These phenomena are invaluable for refining but can render compositional control more difficult through their effects upon alloying elements. The technique most generally applicable to the production of castings is vacuum induction melting, in which the molten metal may be removed from the furnace and cast in air, or in which the entire casting cycle can be conducted under vacuum. In the latter case the moulds must be free of volatile constituents and the process is largely confined to the production of precision investment castings. Vacuum arc melting also has limited application in this field: in conjunction with skull melting, shaped castings can be produced in highly reactive metals such as titanium, q.v. Chapter 10. Although vacuum melting offers clear technical advantages, its application in founding is limited by considerations of cost and scale. Capital and operating costs being extremely high, the process can only be adopted where exceptional quality requirements justify a substantial premium on the selling price. This has so far been principally for high duty precision castings in special alloys. It seems probable that vacuum techniques for general casting production will be confined to the more economical degassing treatments. The degassing of molten metal Although gas absorption can be reduced by precautions in material selection and melting, it is difficult to avoid the presence of some gas at melt-out under routine foundry conditions. This can be eliminated by various types of degassing treatment. Most degassing treatments make use of the equilibrium existing between a melt and a gas atmosphere. Contact with an atmosphere having a low partial pressure of the
Chlorine is especially effective and can be generated within the melt through the decomposition of unstable compounds such as hexachloroethane. as in other degassing systems. whilst the avoidance of excessive treatment temperatures is another major requirement. declined in favour of inert gas treatment on environmental and health grounds. bubbled through the melt. Tablets of compound are plunged and held within the melt and controlled amounts of chlorine are liberated: this process has. One of the most effective methods for gas extraction uses a flushing or scavenging gas which. greatly reducing the diffusion distance and increasing the surface area through which the dissolved impurity gas can be transferred. provides a large gas–metal interface and general agitation. Flushing treatments with inert gas can be applied through a simple immersed tube or lance. since the smaller bubbles rise more slowly through the melt. nitrogen or chlorine can be employed. Rotary degassing of aluminium alloys has been subject to detailed comparsion with simple lance degassing68 and shown to be much more effective. This shears the emerging bubbles to generate a fine dispersion.gaseous impurity brings about transfer of the gas in accordance with the equilibrium. A carbon monoxide boil promoted by slag oxidation is similarly valued for its physical side effect in eliminating dissolved gases. An important further development in the treatment of aluminium alloys came with the introduction of rotary degassing. Inclusion separation is also assisted as in a froth flotation system. a much less toxic operation. where there is particular susceptibility to hydrogen absorption and where the high oxygen affinity of the alloy precludes protection by oxidizing conditions. . however. The function of a scavenging gas is also performed by the oxygen injected for removal of carbon and other elements in steelmaking: hydrogen and nitrogen contents are reduced during the process. A further example of gas scavenging from a solid compound entails the use of calcium carbonate to generate carbon dioxide in copper base alloy melts. subject to selection of the optimum process parameters. Gas scavenging. Figure 5. in which inert gas is injected into the bath through a lance provided with a rapidly rotating impeller. but measures to generate smaller bubbles greatly increase the efficiency of the process.13 illustrates the importance of adequate rotational speed. Inert gas purging can also be used in conjunction with filtration in installations designed for the simultaneous reduction of gas and inclusion contents. Flushing treatment is most extensively applied in aluminium alloy founding. Argon. The available contact time is also extended. Slow degassing thus occurs from the surface of any bath in contact with a clean atmosphere. Booth and Clegg demonstrated marked improvements obtained by attachment of porous ceramic plug diffusers for this purpose67. A further variation of flushing treatment is the jet degassing process described by Hoyle69: hydrogen contents in steel were successfully reducedto below 2 cm3/100 g using argon jets on the surface of the metal bath.
so that this particular advantage of vacuum melting can be obtained by brief vacuum treatment of molten metal. This type of unit is essentially a simplified vacuum induction melting furnace. the space above the molten metal forming the vacuum chamber. Processes are designed to improve these conditions and provide effective treatment in the limited time available during the cooling of superheated metal to the pouring temperature. (d) Stream droplet degassing. Extraction of gases under vacuum occurs comparatively rapidly. Of the established processes. the degassed metal returns to the ladle through a second tube so that continuous circulation is achieved72. Heat loss does however present an obstacle in treating smaller batches of foundry . A number of industrially established processes are schematically illustrated in Figure 5. A still simpler arrangement is to utilize an induction stirring coil in conjunction with an evacuated ladle.14: (a) Static bath treatment. The latter system gives the advantage of a small pump down volume. (b) Induction degassing. The contents of a ladle are progressively degassed by treatment of fractions in a separate vacuum vessel. in which metal flows up a tube into the vacuum chamber under the influence of inert gas bubbles bled into the base of the tube. fractional and droplet degassing have hitherto been confined to the bulk tonnage treatment of liquid steel73. degassing being accomplished during exposure of the falling stream to the vacuum. Gas evolution disintegrates the stream into small droplets so that the geometrical conditions are suited to rapid gas extraction even though the period of exposure is extremely short. in which successive fractions of molten metal are raised through a suction nozzle into a vacuum chamber by alternate raising and lowering of the chamber71. The rate of degassing depends partly upon the geometry of the system – the surface area and mass of metal – and partly upon the extent of the agitation and stirring which accelerate the transport of dissolved gas to the nearest surface. Two notable examples are the method developed by Dortmund H¨order H¨uttenunion AG. The simplest form of vacuum treatment involves the enclosure of a ladle of molten metal within a chamber which can be sealed and evacuated. Given suitable modifications. Several processes of vacuum degassing have been developed. Molten metal is transferred from the melting unit into a preheated bath surrounded by an induction stirring coil. and the continuous process developed by Ruhrstahl. The circulation can alternatively be effected by electromagnetic pumping. where the fall in temperature is minimal. so reducing the pump capacity requirement. AG. These processes also enable reactive alloy conditions to be made under vacuum. possibilities are restricted by the need for heat conservation.Vacuum degassing. the whole being located within a chamber which can be sealed and rapidly evacuated. Since most measures which accelerate gas removal also accelerate cooling. A ladle is tapped through a sealed annulus into a previously evacuated chamber containing a second ladle. all depending on overthrow of the gas–metal equilibrium by reduction of the external pressure. (c) Fractional degassing. the ladle itself may be sealed with a cover.
eliminating heat losses involved in transfer to a further vessel. Induction degassing can offer the combined advantages of induction heating and circulation. . Simple static bath treatment can be effective with small volumes and shallow baths: low cost installations could make feasible the routine treatment of much foundry metal used in small batches. as in foundries already operating induction melting plant. involving treatment in the ladle or the crucible. The ideal process for general foundry application would accomplish the treatment in either the melting or the casting vessel. the sharp distinction between brief degassing and full vacuum melting disappearing in favour of a wide choice of treatment times.metal. The high cost of generating equipment. makes the adoption of this process a major undertaking unless existing facilities can be used.75. where the problem of maintaining temperature is critical. however. have been described in the literature74. Installations of this kind.
because in that case their occurrence is not revealed without machining or radiographic testing. Their presence is identified by an oxidised surface showing an irregular and ragged appearance on fracture. They are supposed to be more harmful when they are present internally. causing the metal to fail in coping up with the excessively high stresses set up by the solid shrinkage of the metal. An improvement over these shortcomings will help elimination of hot tears. The main reasons of their occurrence are lack of collapsibility in the core and mould.They are also known as pulls or hot cracks. . faulty design leading to exceptionally high residual stresses at certain portions in the casting and very hard ramming of sand resulting in restricted contraction of casting. The main reasons of their occurrence is the low strength of metal after solidification.(2) Hot tears :. These cracks may be external or internal.
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