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International Foundry Research/Giessereiforschung 62 (2010) No.

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tion (1) where is gas/metal interfacial energy and the pore
shape is assumed to be sphere with radius r.
= P
= P
+ 2/r (1)
is the sum of the surrounding atmospheric pressure,
, plus the pressure due to the metallostatic head, P
Taking into account all pressures acting on the hydrogen
pore, the pressure inside the hydrogen pore, P
, can be cal-
culated by using the equation (2).
= P
+ P
+ 2/r (2)
Boyles law can be used to determine the volume of a hy-
drogen pore (equation (3)) [8], where V
is the volume of
pores, C is the volume available for pore formation and P is
the applied pressure.
If the volume of gas available for the formation of pores
is constant, as pressure increases, the volume of the pores
must decrease. Therefore, if the pressure during solidifica-
tion is increased from 1 to 10 atmospheres, the reduction in
pore size should be 10 fold.
Dendritic growth is common in alloys that freeze with
low entropies of transformation. The characteristic mor-
phology of dendrites is that of long, thin spikes in a specif-
ic crystallographic direction with branches. Dendritic
growth begins with the breakdown of an unstable plane at
the solid-liquid interface; this is known as constitutional
undercooling in alloys and thermal undercooling in pure
1 Introduction
Cast aluminum alloys are prone to shrinkage and hydrogen
porosity, which, if large enough, become the strength lim-
iting flaws. There is only limited data documenting pore size
reduction by solidifying aluminum alloys under pressure
since the specialized equipment necessary to perform such
studies is not readily available. The results of one such study
stated that solidification under pressure reduced porosity
and helped densify the solidifying metal. However, that
study provided only mechanical property data and no po-
rosity data [1]. Both shrinkage porosity and hydrogen po-
rosity can be reduced by applied isostatic pressure. Pressure
can improve feeding, physically push dendrites closer to-
gether, increase the solubility of hydrogen in the solid, and
decrease the size of bubbles (pores) in the liquid. By increas-
ing the pressure the porosity can be reduced and resulting
mechanical properties can be increased in cast aluminum
The Castyral R process or pressure solidification process
was patented in 1989 by Pechiney in France [2]. It entailed
pouring a casting inside a pressure vessel and increasing the
pressure until solidification was completed. Currently, Mer-
cury Marine produces approximately 20,000 cylinder blocks
a year using this process [3]. A few published papers docu-
ment the reductions in porosity and improvements in me-
chanical properties [4, 5, 6, 7] but none recommend im-
provements in the mathematical models available for pre-
dicting casting properties.
The pressure inside a hydrogen pore can be determined
by the interface equilibrium. The pressure inside a hydro-
gen pore, P
, is equal to the sum of the external pressures
acting on it, P
, and the extra pressure due to curvature of
gas/metal interface
[8]. The
is approximated in equa-
Modeling the solidication under pressure
casting process for aluminum alloys
Appyling isostatic pressure during solidification has been shown to improve the mechanical
properties of aluminum alloy castings due to a reduction in the size of porosity. Existing equa-
tions appear to adequately describe the effect of pressure on gas pore size but do not de-
scribe the effect of pressure on dendrite arm spacing or cooling rate. In this paper, micro-
structural data (pore size & dendrite arm spacing) and cooling rate data are compared for alu-
minum alloys solidified under 10 MPa pressure and at atmospheric pressure. The measured
differences in microstructure and cooling rate are then compared to the relevant equations
available in the literature. The modeling factors needed to account for applied isostatic pres-
sure during solidification are proposed.
Edward A. Druschitz, Alan P. Druschitz and Robin Foley, Birmingham, AL, USA
Manuscript received 23 February 2010; accepted 4 March 2010


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