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Technical Information 7 Magnesium Contents in Ductile Iron

Magnesium is usually introduced into cast iron melts by the addition of a magnesium ferrosilicon alloy (MgFeSi or FeSiMg). When magnesium is added its first effect is to combine with any sulphur and oxygen present in the iron to form sulphides and oxides. No "free" magnesium can occur in solution in the iron to promote the formation of spheroidal graphite until all the sulphur and oxygen have been consumed. In order to cope with variations in the oxygen and sulphur contents of the base iron, a higher addition of magnesium is normally made than is strictly needed. This is in addition to that made to compensate for losses by evaporation during addition. Only a fraction of the magnesium is dissolved in the iron after the nodularizing reaction is complete. The total analytical or residual magnesium content of liquid iron immediately after treatment is comprised of : Dissolved magnesium Micro-inclusions of magnesium compounds (oxides and sulphides) Larger, magnesium containing slag particles

These contributions to total magnesium will react in different ways during subsequent holding of the iron. A schematic example of the fading characteristics of the magnesium content on holding is given in the figure below. It is not possible to separate between these three contributions to the residual magnesium by conventional analytical methods which will only give the total magnesium content of the iron.

Figure 1: Fading of magnesium during holding of treated ductile iron (left), and schematic representation of magnesium losses from a treatment ladle (right).

Elkem ASA, Silicon Division


Postal address: P.O.Box 5211 Majorstua N-0303 Oslo Norway Office address: Hoffsveien 65 B Oslo Telephone: 47 22 45 01 00 Telefax 47 22 45 01 52 Revision No. 2 14.03.1997

Important Characteristics of Magnesium Analysis and Magnesium Fading on Holding: 4 The total residual magnesium content of ductile iron as analyzed is not the same as the dissolved magnesium content. 4 Fading of the magnesium content on holding treated iron may be the result of slag separation, inclusion flotation and evaporation loss of dissolved magnesium. In some instances magnesium fading can make a positive contribution to the metal cleanliness and freedom from slag entrapment since harmful slag particles will float to the bath surface with holding time and can hence be removed. 4 Only the total magnesium content (slags + micro-particles + dissolved) in a sample can be analyzed by ordinary analytical methods. 4 It has been shown that losses of dissolved magnesium on holding generally are small and that the degeneration of the spheroidal graphite structure often attributed to magnesium fade, is actually the result of fading of inoculation. Fully spheroidal graphite structures can often be regained by a small, late addition of inoculant.

Figure 2: Schematic representation of fading of graphite nodularity on holding. A second addition of inoculant can regain fully spheroidal graphite structures even though the analytical magnesium content is falling continuously.