Casting and Analysis of Squeeze Cast Aluminium Silicon Eutectic Alloy
Thesis DisciplineMechanical Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Squeeze casting is the practise of solidifying metals under mechanically applied pressure via a slow displacement of a die volume. It has been shown that squeeze casting enhances the mechanical properties of cast metals. Research into other high integrity casting processes has shown that using techniques that enhance melt quality can further increase the mechanical properties. Therefore a bottom-tapped, bottom-fed squeeze casting machine was designed and built around a pre-existing squeeze casting die designed for uniaxial pressure application. This was used to obtain quantitative metallurgical and microstructural information on the squeeze castings produced, including the effects of common micro-alloying additions of strontium modifier and titanium modifier on the microstructure and hardness of a commercial aluminium silicon eutectic alloy. These were examined using a Taguchi design of experiments approach. It was found that squeeze casting reduced porosity and secondary dendrite arm spacing and increased hardness, and reduced or eliminated increases in porosity and secondary dendrite arm spacing associated with micro-alloying addition. The size of possibly deleterious iron-rich precipitates was reduced, and the morphology of such precipitates changed to a possibly less deleterious form without further alloy additions of manganese. It was also found that melt control and handling is essential for consistent quality of castings in the production of small volume squeeze castings, such as the ones produced in this experimental work.