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Advanced Materials Research Online: 2013-09-10

ISSN: 1662-8985, Vol. 813, pp 175-178

© 2013 Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland


Cheol-Woo Kima, Jae-Ik Chob, Se-Weon Choic, Young-Chan Kimd
Korea Institute of Industrial Technology, 1110-9 Oryong-dong, Buk-gu, Gwangju 500-480, Korea

Keywords: Aluminum alloy, Thermal conductivity, Heat sink, Radiation of heat, Die-casting

Abstract. Recently, demand of aluminum alloys for manufacturing in components with high
thermal conductivity application increases. However, the most aluminum die casting alloys exhibit
very lower thermal properties, about only a half of pure aluminum. In die casting alloys, alloying
elements are essential to obtain sufficient fluidity and mechanical strength, therefore, in this study,
the effect of alloying elements, Si, Cu, Mg, Fe and Mn, on thermal conductivity, die casting
characteristics and mechanical properties were analyzed and the appropriate amount of each
alloying element were investigated. The results showed that Mn had the most deleterious effect in
thermal conductivity and Si and Fe contents were important to improve fluidity and strength. The
alloy with 1.5~2.0wt.%Si and 0.6wt.%Fe showed very good combination of high thermal
conductivity and sufficient casting characteristics.

Pure aluminum (commercial purity, 99.7%) and wrought aluminum are generally used for the heat
sink components because of their high thermal conductivity. However, they are not suitable for high
pressure die casting (HPDC) process due to their low in casting characteristics and mechanical
properties. As a result, high thermal conductive and complex shaped components cannot be easily
produced. Besides, one of the most widely used die casting alloy, ADC12, has excellent casting
characteristics, such as fluidity, die soldering resistance and mechanical properties but the alloy
itself has very low thermal conductivity, only about a half compare to pure aluminum.
Therefore, development of die castable aluminum alloy with high in thermal properties is necessary.
Also, the alloy needs to have sufficient mechanical properties to minimize deformation after die
Control of the alloying elements and their amount is important factors to have an alloy system for
heat sink component. Therefore, the concept of this research was to limit the total amount of
alloying elements to get enough properties to be die cast with minimum reduction in thermal
conductivity. In this study, two major alloying elements, Fe contents for die soldering resistance
and Si contents for casting characteristics were considered [1, 2]. Also, the effects of Mg, Mn and
Cu were evaluated on the thermal conductivity of aluminum.

Experimental Procedures
Based on the thermal conductivity results of each element, 7 different alloys were selected, as
shown Table 1. The compositions were verified by using spark emission spectrometer, Magellan
QM-3. The commercially pure aluminum with 99.7% purity and ADC12 were also examined to
compare the thermal conductivity and mechanical properties. The main concept of the compositions
listed in Table1 is to limit the total amount of alloying elements from 1.6wt.% to 2.7wt.%.
The aluminum melt with the composition of Table 1 was prepared in an electrical furnace. In the
melt of pure aluminum, certain amount of alloying elements were added in the form of both master
alloy (Al-25%Si, Al-50%Mg) and flux type (ALTAB; 75%Fe, 75%Mn, 75%Cu). After complete
melting, the melt was degassed by using Ar gas bubbling for 15 minutes at 780°C. Then the melt
was hold for another 20 minutes before pouring in preheated steel mold at100°C.

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176 Metallurgy Technology and Materials II

Table 1. Chemical compositions of the alloys (wt.%)

Alloy Si Fe Cu Mg Mn Al
1 0.02 0.11 0.011 0.00051 0.0005 Rem.
2 0.98 0.39 1.123 0.011 0.0025 Rem.
3 1.01 0.62 0.012 0.0012 0.0030 Rem.
4 1.48 0.62 0.593 0.008 0.0033 Rem.
5 1.68 0.39 0.244 0.005 0.0027 Rem.
6 1.96 0.62 0.004 0.010 0.0022 Rem.
7 10.58 0.72 2.028 0.298 0.128 Rem.

Results and Discussion

“Laser flash” for determining thermal diffusivity was developed by Parker [3, 4] and is currently
recognized as the preferred method for measuring the thermal diffusivity of solid materials from
room temperature to high temperatures [5]. The thermal conductivity κ and thermal diffusivity α
describes the heat transport in materials and the relation between these two properties is as follows:
α= (1)
cp ⋅ ρ
where cp is the specific heat capacity and ρ is the density.
Figure 1 shows the result of analysis that effect of alloying elements Si, Cu, Mg, Fe, and Mn on
thermal conductivity of aluminum. Each element was added in pure aluminum in amount of 0.2%,
0.5%, 1.0%, 1.5%, and 2.0%, and then the specimen’s thermal conductivity were examined by
using Netzsch LFA 477 equipment. .Examination result of specific heat exhibited that thermal
emission also decreases as the amount of Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn and Si increases. Note that effect Mn
addition on the thermal conductivity was quite larger than other elements. As a result, the
developing alloy needs to have very limited Mn content, maybe in impurity level, and control rest
of the elements as low as possible because of the fact that gradual decreased thermal properties
were quite evident with increased amount of alloying elements. It is well known that Si increases
fluidity of aluminum, Fe deceases die soldering tendency, and Cu and Mg increase the strength of
aluminum, certain amount of each element is still necessary for the alloys die castable. Therefore,
the alloys shown in Table 1 were experimentally examined their thermal properties and casting

Thermal Conductivity (W/mk)

(a) Cu Fe Mg (b) Cu Fe Mg
Mn Si Mn Si

Cp (J/g/K)

0.88 180

0.87 140


0.86 100


0.85 60
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5

Content (wt%) Content (wt%)

Figure 1. The effect of alloying elements, Si, Cu, Mg, Fe and Mn, on thermal conductivity

Figure 2 exhibits the result of thermal properties of the alloys in Table 1. By controlling the total
amounts of the alloying elements, from 1.6 to 2.7 wt.% without Mn and Mg addition, more than
76% of thermal conductivity was achieved compare to the pure aluminum. Also, it was found that
No. 4 alloy containing the largest amount of alloying elements, 2.7wt.%, showed the lowest thermal
Advanced Materials Research Vol. 813 177

conductivity, 172.7 W/m·K, while No.3 alloy, alloyed with only 1.64wt.%, exhibited the highest
thermal conductivity. Therefore, the influence of the amount of alloying element is more dominant
factor in thermal conductivity rather than ternary or quaternary phases formed in the microstructure.
100 2.80 1.0 270
(a) 2.78 (b)

Thermal Conductivity(W/mk)
Thermal Diffusivity(mm /s)

2.76 240 225.3


80 210 198.0

Spec. Heat (J/g/K)

Density (g/cm )
2.72 185.7 185.7
70 2.70 0.8 172.7
60 150
Diffusivity 2.64 117.6
50 120
40 2.60 0.6 90
No. 1 No. 2 No. 3 No. 4 No. 5 No. 6 No. 7 No. 1 No. 2 No. 3 No. 4 No. 5 No. 6 No. 7

Figure 2. Graphical representation of the thermal properties for 7 aluminum alloys; (a) Thermal
Diffusivity, Density and Specific heat, (b) Thermal Conductivity

Tensile test was conducted by following the ASTM E8M standard. Parallel portion of the tensile
specimen, gauge length and thickness were 32 mm, 20mm and 3mm, respectively. Strain velocity of
2 mm/min was used for the experiment.
The ultimate tensile strength of the alloys are in the range of 130~152MPa which is about 2.5 times
more than pure aluminum, 58MPa. Note that up to 2.0wt.% of each element and total of 1.6~2.7wt.%
of alloying elements were not significantly affected the tensile properties of aluminum. Even though
the tensile strength of the alloys studied showed only 65% of ADC12 alloy, there would be no
problem for ejection from the die and post machining.
350 30
No. 1 No. 2
300 No. 3 No. 4 25
No. 5 No. 6
250 No. 7




0 0

Figure 3. Graphical representation of the tensile strength and elongation of 7 alloys studied

Fluidity test by using gravity cast was conducted by using fluidity steel mold. The mold had total
six channels with thickness of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 mm, the width was 5 mm, and the length were
200mm, as shown in Figure 4. After pre-heating mold at 320°C, molten metal was poured into mold
at the temperature of 750°C. The fluidity length was measured by adding the fluidity length of each
channel. Fluidity mold of die casting was serpentine type with 2mm in thickness and 10mm in
width. The die casting mold temperature was maintained at 200°C and pouring temperatures was
100°C above liquidus temperature of each alloy.
Generally, it is well known that Cu reduces castability and feeding characteristic [6] and Si
improves fluidity caused by heat of fusion [7]. As shown in Figure 4 and Table 2, gravity cast
fluidity was evidently influenced by the increased amount of Si, from 1.0~2.0wt.%. By comparison
with the result of fluidity length with ADC12 alloy which is one of the most widely used die casting
alloy, the fluidity of the alloys studied showed only about 58%. However, in die casting process
which uses high pressure to inject molten metal into cavity showed different result compare to the
gravity casting test. The result shows as high as 85% of fluidity length of ADC12 alloy with No. 6
178 Metallurgy Technology and Materials II

alloy, Al-2.0wt.%Si-0.6wt.%Fe. There are several important factors affecting the fluidity, such as
melt and mold temperature, superheat etc., but their effects were not significant in die casting
because it uses extremely high pressure to fill.

(a) (b)
Figure 4. Results of fluidity test; (a) Gravity cast, (b) Die casting

Table 2. Results of fluidity test (mm)

Alloy No. 1 No. 2 No. 4 No. 5 No. 6 No. 6
Gravity Casting - 324.3 405.2 466.2 466.7 805.6
Die Casting 784.2 635.9 694.0 694.8 773.2 906.7

1. Mn had the most deleterious effect in thermal conductivity compare to Si, Fe, Mg and Cu in Al.
2. To have high thermal conductive alloy, the alloying element contents need to be limited but
certain amount of Si and Fe are necessary to improve fluidity and strength.
3. Increased fluidity was exhibited with increased amount of Si and Al-2.0wt.%Si-0.6wt.%Fe alloy
showed about 85% of fluidity length in die casting compare to ADC12 alloy.
4. The alloy with 1.5~2.0wt.%Si, and 0.6wt.%Fe showed very good combination of high thermal
conductivity and sufficient die casting ability.

[1] L.A. Naraynan, F.H. Samuel and J.E. Gruzleski, Metall. Mater. Trans. A, v.26 no.8 (1995),
[2] C. Mascre, Fonderie Vol. 108 (1995), 4330-4336.
[3] W.J. Parker, R.J. Jenkins, C.P. Butler and G.L. Abbott, J. of Appl. Phys., 32 (1961), 1679-1684.
[4] M. Boutinguiza, F. Lusquinos, J. Pou, R. Soto, F. Quintero and R. Comesana, Opt. Laser. Eng,
v.50 (2012), 727-730.
[5] R.D. Cowan, J. of Appl. Phys., 34 (1963), 926-927.
[6] L.F Mondolfo, “Aluminum Alloys: Structure and Properties”, Butter Worths, (1976)
[7] C.R. Loper Jr., AFS Trans., (1992), 533-538.
Metallurgy Technology and Materials II

The Effect of Alloying Elements on Thermal Conductivity of Aluminum Alloys in High Pressure Die

DOI References
[3] W.J. Parker, R.J. Jenkins, C.P. Butler and G.L. Abbott, J. of Appl. Phys., 32 (1961), 1679-1684.
[5] R.D. Cowan, J. of Appl. Phys., 34 (1963), 926-927.