Casting Characteristics of Aluminum Die Casting Alloys
Recent innovations in die casting technology have significantly expanded commercial applications for cast aluminum products. However, the optimization of existing alloys, the development of complementary new alloys, and the documentation of reliable data on mechanical and physical properties for these alloys have lagged behind. This is creating a barrier to realizing the full potential of aluminum cast products.
Previous research performed by Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in conjunction with the North American Die Casting Association investigated alloy-microstructure property interactions in die casting alloys. The result was a database that relates the chemistry of aluminum die casting alloys to as-cast microstructure and mechanical and physical properties. The research also resulted in findings which enable metallurgists to tailor an alloy to a given application. The findings also allow part designers to predict part performance from alloy chemistry.
WPI is currently taking this research to the next stage -- that of examining the melting and casting characteristics of the selected aluminum die casting alloys. Melting and casting characteristics to be considered include: quantity and type of sludge produced during melting, melt fluidity, tendency of the alloy to die sticking, and alloy machinability. The comprehensive data set that will result should enable metallurgists, die casters, and design engineers to fully exploit the potential of aluminum die casting alloys.