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Common Metallurgical

Defects in Ductile Iron


Compacted Graphite

Potential Causes;
Low residual magnesium and/or rare earth from
poor nodularisation practice, high temperatures or
long holding time.
Excess sulphur in the base iron not balanced by
sufficient magnesium.

Graphite Flotation

Potential causes;
High carbon equivalent.
Excess pouring temperature.
Slow cooling rate in thicker sections.
Insufficient inoculation.

Exploded Graphite

Chunky Graphite

Spiky Graphite

Cause;
Excess rare earth additions, particularly when high
purity charges are used. Normally found in thick
section castings or at higher carbon equivalents.

Cause;
Excess rare earth additions, particularly when high
purity charges are used. Normally found in thick
section castings or at higher carbon equivalents.

Note that once the rare earth addition is reduced, it may


take time to dilute the residual rare earth in return metal,
particularly in induction melted iron.

Note that once the rare earth addition is reduced, it may


take time to dilute the residual rare earth in return metal,
particularly in induction melted iron.

Flake Graphite
Surface Structure

Cause;
Excess sulphur build-up in moulding sand. This
causes reversion to flake as the magnesium in the
iron reacts with the sulphur. The use of higher
magnesium / rare earth in the nodulariser or a cerium
containing inoculant can overcome this.

Irregular Graphite

Slag Inclusions

Potential causes;
High holding temperature.
Long holding time which can result in "dead" irons.
Poor inoculation or excessive fading of
inoculation.
Graphite shape may be improved by a late addition of a
powerful speciality inoculant.

Potential causes;
Inadequate slag control from pouring system.
Lack of slag traps or filter.
Low pouring temperature.
Excess additions of slag forming materials.
Turbulent mould filling.

Potential causes;
Very small amounts of lead which have not been
neutralised by rare earths result in spiky graphite.
This has a catastrophic effect on mechanical
properties.
Bismuth, titanium and antimony can give similar
structures but can also be neutralised with rare
earths.

Nodule Alignment

Carbides

Potential causes;
Low carbon equivalent
Under inoculation causing growth of large
dendrites with nodules aligned between arms of
the dendrite.
High pouring temperature.

Potential causes;
Low carbon equivalent.
Excess magnesium and/or rare earth.
Carbide promoting elements such as Mn,Cr,V,Mo.
Insufficient inoculation.
Rapid cooling rate.

Shrinkage

Potential causes;
Insufficient mould strength causing dilation.
Inadequate feed metal available.
Poor gating design.
Excess magnesium.
Low carbon equivalent.
Under inoculation or over inoculation.

Elkem produces a complete range of nodularisers and inoculants for the treatment of ductile
iron. MgFeSi alloys are available for applications such as sandwich treatments, tundish
cover ladles and flow through systems. They are graded so as to be suited for different ladle sizes.
Products for in-the-mould processes are also available.

Gas

Gas holes are a totally separate subject and can be


influenced by melting procedures, metal handling,
refractory conditions,mould moisture,sand
permeability,core resins,hot spots near cores,slag
handling,metal temperature,base metal
composition,mould venting, Ti and Al contents amongst
other sources.
Specialist advise should be sought in cases of gas once
the above have been investigated.
The photomicrograph given here shows dendrite arms
growing inside a hydrogen pinhole.

Revised September 2004 Copyright Elkem ASA

Ultraseed inoculant is designed for pure Mg produced ductile iron, irons of low oxygen and
sulphur levels and dead iron which has been held for extended periods of time. This
inoculant will give high nodule counts in ductile iron which is normally difficult to inoculate
and will help to prevent micro-shrinkage.
This is one example of the new generation of Elkem inoculants.
Please refer to your local Elkem representative for further information on the range of Elkem
products for grey, compacted and ductile cast irons.
Ultraseed is a registered trademark of Elkem.

www.foundry.elkem.com

Elkem ASA, Foundry Products Division, Hoffsveien 65B, PO Box 5211 Majorstua, N-0303 Oslo, Norway. Tel: +47 22 45 01 00 Fax: +47 22 45 01 52