Enhancements in Magnesium Die Casting Impact Properties

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The need to produce lighter components in transportation equipment is the main driver in the increasing demand for magnesium castings. In many automotive applications, components can be made of magnesium or aluminum. While being lighter, often times the magnesium parts have lower impact and fatigue properties than the aluminum. The main objective of this study was to identify potential improvements in the impact resistance of magnesium alloys. The most common magnesium alloys in automotive applications are AZ91D, AM50 and AM60. Accordingly, these alloys were selected as the main candidates for the study. Experimental quantities of these alloys were melted in ... continued below

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Schwam, David; Wallace, John F.; Zhu, Yulong; Viswanathan, Srinath & Iskander, Shafik June 30, 2000.

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Description

The need to produce lighter components in transportation equipment is the main driver in the increasing demand for magnesium castings. In many automotive applications, components can be made of magnesium or aluminum. While being lighter, often times the magnesium parts have lower impact and fatigue properties than the aluminum. The main objective of this study was to identify potential improvements in the impact resistance of magnesium alloys. The most common magnesium alloys in automotive applications are AZ91D, AM50 and AM60. Accordingly, these alloys were selected as the main candidates for the study. Experimental quantities of these alloys were melted in an electrical furnace under a protective atmosphere comprising sulfur hexafluoride, carbon dioxide and dry air. The alloys were cast both in a permanent mold and in a UBE 315 Ton squeeze caster. Extensive evaluation of tensile, impact and fatigue properties was conducted at CWRU on permanent mold and squeeze cast test bars of AZ91, AM60 and AM50. Ultimate tensile strength values between 20ksi and 30ksi were obtained. The respective elongations varied between 25 and 115. the Charpy V-notch impact strength varied between 1.6 ft-lb and 5 ft-lb depending on the alloy and processing conditions. Preliminary bending fatigue evaluation indicates a fatigue limit of 11-12 ksi for AM50 and AM60. This is about 0.4 of the UTS, typical for these alloys. The microstructures of the cast specimens were investigated with optical and scanning electron microscopy. Concomitantly, a study of the fracture toughness in AM60 was conducted at ORNL as part of the study. The results are in line with values published in the literature and are representative of current state of the art in casting magnesium alloys. The experimental results confirm the strong relationship between aluminum content of the alloys and the mechanical properties, in particular the impact strength and the elongation. As the aluminum content increases from about 5% in AM50 to over 9% in AZ91, more of the intermetallic Mg17Al12 is formed in the microstructure. For instance, for 15 increase in the aluminum content from AM50 to AM60, the volume fraction of eutectic present in the microstructure increases by 35%! Eventually, the brittle Mg17Al12 compound forms an interconnected network that reduces ductility and impact resistance. The lower aluminum in AM50 and AM60 are therefore a desirable feature in applications that call for higher impact resistance. Further improvement in impact resistance depends on the processing condition of the casting. Sound castings without porosity and impurities will have better mechanical properties. Since magnesium oxidizes readily, good melting and metal transfer practices are essential. The liquid metal has to be protected from oxidation at all times and entrainment of oxide films in the casting needs to be prevented. In this regard, there is evidence that us of vacuum to evacuate air from the die casting cavity can improve the quality of the castings. Fast cooling rates, leading to smaller grain size are beneficial and promote superior mechanical properties. Micro-segregation and banding are two additional defect types often encountered in magnesium alloys, in particular in AZ91D. While difficult to eliminate, segregation can be minimized by careful thermal management of the dies and the shot sleeve. A major source of segregation is the premature solidification in the shot sleeve. The primary solid dendrites are carried into the casting and form a heterogeneous structure. Furthermore, during the shot, segregation banding can occur. The remedies for this kind of defects include a hotter shot sleeve, use of insulating coatings on the shot sleeve and a short lag time between pouring into the shot sleeve and the shot.

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OSTI as DE00803212

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  • Other Information: PBD: 30 Jun 2000

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  • Report No.: DOE/ID/13611
  • Grant Number: FC07-98ID13611
  • DOI: 10.2172/803212 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 803212
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc734984

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  • June 30, 2000

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  • Oct. 19, 2015, 7:39 p.m.

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  • Jan. 3, 2017, 6:39 p.m.

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Schwam, David; Wallace, John F.; Zhu, Yulong; Viswanathan, Srinath & Iskander, Shafik. Enhancements in Magnesium Die Casting Impact Properties, report, June 30, 2000; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc734984/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.