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Development of efficient and scalable ultrasound-assisted solidification technologies

Completed

Project description

Development of efficient and scalable ultrasound-assisted solidification technologies for manufacturing advanced metallic alloys (Ultra-Cast)

This project addresses the urgent need of the metal materials and manufacture industry to search and adopt next-generation, step-change technologies for the manufacturing of primary ingots and/or shaped components with much improved mechanical properties and reliability, less energy consumption and negative environmental impact, e.g. Al and Mg alloys for mass transport applications and consumer products. Ultrasonic cavitation treatment offers sustainable, economical and pollution-free solutions to melt processing and casting of conventional and advanced metallic materials with significant improvement in mechanical properties and quality of the products manufactured.

The proposed programme covered the solidification fundamentals of metallic alloys under applied ultrasonic waves, and developed industrially exploitable methodologies to control and optimise the solidified microstructure under the influence of ultrasonic waves. The novelty of the research is a combination of state-of-the-art in-situ ultra-high speed imaging studies plus advanced numerical modelling and scale-up experiments performed on real metallic alloys. The outcomes include new knowledge and novel technological guidelines for casting industry.

Please see below for and illustration of the ultrasonic refinement of primary intermetallics in an Al-Cu alloy filmed in a synchrotron.ultrasonic

Outcomes

The project generated the following main outcomes:

  • Novel methodology of in situ studies of cavitation effects in liquids.
  • Quantitative information on the cavitation development and effects during solidification of metallic alloys.
  • New fatigue-like mechanism of cavitation-driven fragmentation of solid phases (e.g. intermetallics, dendrites) in the semi-solid state.
  • Direct confirmation of nucleation of intermetallics on oxides in Al alloys, facilitated by ultrasonic processing.
  • Evidence of a eutectic reaction in Al-Zr alloys (contrary to the established view on the peritectic solidification in these alloys).

The results of the research were actively disseminated in the academic and technological communities through international and national conferences and seminars; publications in peer-reviewed journals; and through existing academic and industrial networks of the applying research centres.

 

Peer Reviewed Journals

  1. Wang F, Eskin D, Connolley T, Mi J.Effect of ultrasonic melt treatment on the refinement of primary Al3Ti intermetallic in an Al-0.4Ti alloy, J. Cryst. Growth, 2016, vol. 435, pp. 24–30
  2. Wang F, Eskin D, Mi J, Connolley T, Mounib M, Lindsay J. A refining mechanism of primary Al3Ti intermetallic particles by ultrasonic treatment in the liquid state, Acta Mater., 2016, vol. 116 (Sept.), pp. 354–363.
  3. Eskin DG. Ultrasonic processing of molten and solidifying alloys: overview and outlook, Mater. Sci. Technol., 2017, vol. 33, no. 6, pp. 636–645.
  4. Wang F, Eskin DG, Khvan AV, Starodub KF, Lim JJH, Burke MG, Connolley T, Mi J. On the occurrence of a eutectic-type structure in solidification of Al-Zr alloys, Scripta Mater., 2017, vol. 133, May, pp. 75–78.
  5. Wang F, I. Tzanakis, Eskin D, Connolley T, Mi J. In-situ observation of ultrasonic cavitation-induced fragmentation of the primary crystals formed in Al alloys, Ultrason. Sonochem., 2017, vol. 39, pp. 66–76.
  6. Wang F, Eskin D, Connolley T, Mi J. Influence of ultrasonic treatment on the formation of primary Al3Zr in an Al-0.4 Zr alloy, Trans. Nonferr. Met. Soc. China, 2017, vol. 27, pp. 977−985.
  7. Wang F, Eskin D, Mi J, Wang C, Koe B, King A, Reinhard C, Connolley T. A synchrotron X-radiography study of the fragmentation and refinement of primary intermetallic particles in an Al-35Cu alloy induced by ultrasonic melt processing. Acta Mater., 2017, vol. 141, pp. 142–153.
  8. Wang B, Tan D, Lee TL, Khong JC, Wang F, Eskin D, Connolley T, Fezzaa K, Mi J. Ultrafast synchrotron X-ray imaging studies of microstructure fragmentation in solidification under ultrasound. Acta Mater., 2018, vol. 144, pp. 505–515.
  9. Wang B, Tan D, Lee TL, Khong JC, Wang F, Eskin D, Connolley T, Fezzaa K, Mi J. Data and videos for ultrafast synchrotron X-ray imaging studies of metal solidification under ultrasound, Data in Brief, 2018, vol. 17, pp. 837–841.
  10. Wang F, Eskin D, Connolley T, Wang C, Koe B, King A, Reinhard C, Mi J. In-situ synchrotron X-ray radiography observation of primary Al2Cu intermetallic growth on fragments of aluminium oxide film, Mater. Lett., 2018, vol. 213, pp. 303–305.
  11. Zhao Y, Du W, Koe B, Connolley T, Irvine S, Allan PK, Schlepütz CM, Zhang W, Wang F, Eskin DG, Mi J. 3D Characterisation of the Fe-rich intermetallic phases in Al-5%Cu alloys by synchrotron X-ray microtomography and skeletonisation, Scripta Mater., 2018, vol. 146, pp. 321-326. 
  12. Khvan AV, Eskin DG, Starodub KF, Dinsdale AT, Wang F, Fang C, Cheverikin VV, Gorshenkov MV. New insights into solidification and phase equilibria in the Al-Al3Zr system: theoretical and experimental investigations, J. Alloys Comp., 2018, vol. 743, pp. 626–638.   

Peer Reviewed Conferences

  1. Wang C, Tang D, Zhang W, Du W, Connolley T, Mi J, Wang F, Eskin D, High speed synchrotron X-ray imaging of ultrasonic bubble cloud in liquid metal, The 9th International Symposium on Cavitation (CAV2015), J. Physics, 2015, vol. 656, paper 012178.
  2. Wang F, Tzanakis I, Eskin D, Mi J, Connolley T. In Situ Observation of Fragmentation of Primary Crystals by Ultrasonic Cavitation in Water, Light Metals 2017, Ed. Arne P. Ratvik, Springer, pp. 213-219.
  3. Wang F, Eskin D, Mi JW, Connolley T, Tzanakis I. Refinement of Primary Al3Ti Intermetallic Particles in an Al-0.4 wt% Ti alloy by Ultrasonic Melt Processing, Proc. 6th Decennial International Conference on Solidification Processing, Ed. Z. Fan. London: BCAST, 2017, pp. 166–170.
  4. Processing, Ed. Z. Fan. London: BCAST, 2017, pp. 263–266.
  5. Eskin DG, Tzanakis I, Wang F, Lebon GSB, Pericleous K, Lee PD, Connolley T, Mi J. Fundamental Studies of Ultrasonic Melt Processing. Proc. 6th Decennial International Conference on Solidification Processing, Ed. Z. Fan. London: BCAST, 2017, pp. 546–549. 
  6. Zhao Y, Du W, Koe B, Connolley T, Irvine S, Allan PK, Schlepütz CM, Zhang W, Wang F, Eskin DG, Mi J. Synchrotron X-ray Tomography Studies of Fe-rich Intermetallic Phases in Al Alloys, Proc. 6th Decennial International Conference on Solidification