Liquid Aluminium Corrosion Characteristics of Cast Iron and Steel
Thesis DisciplineMechanical Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Cast iron and steel alloys are commonly used for tooling and structural components in Al production, Al die-casting and the aluminizing industry due to their favourable properties including high strength, good formability and low cost. However, the iquid Al corrosion of these materials is one of the crucial concerns in maintaining the efficient production. Al is produced by the electrolytic smelting of alumina. Cast iron and/or cast steel pipes - commonly known as „tapping pipes‟ - are used to extract the liquid Al produced by smelting. Tapping pipes mainly degrade by material loss because liquid Al reacts with nearly all metals. Failure of tapping pipes is a significant contributor to the maintenance expenses; therefore, the primary aim of this research is to develop a material to enhance the life time of tapping pipes. Various test methods were developed in order to examine the effect of molten Al environment on cast iron and steel alloys. The corrosion resistance of these alloys was determined under different conditions of Al flow and temperature. The intermetallic compounds formed by exposing the ferrous to liquid Al were characterized using the Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) and Electron Back Scatter Diffraction (EBSD) techniques. The formation, growth and nature of reaction products were revealed to establish a link to the liquid Al corrosion resistance. A relationship between the chemical composition and liquid Al corrosion resistance of cast irons could not established in the past. In the present work, the corrosion rate was found to depend upon the graphite morphology and fraction of each Fe-C phase of cast iron matrix, which can be controlled by selecting the chemical composition. Moreover, present research suggested the guidelines for producing a cast iron with enhanced liquid
Al corrosion resistance. The presence of C-rich phases, graphite flakes and cementite was found to be effective in enhancing the liquid Al corrosion resistance of gray cast irons. Conversely, a higher Si content was found to enhance the susceptibility of cast irons to liquid Al corrosion. The corrosion mechanisms for ferrous alloys in liquid Al are not fully understood. Thus the subsequent analysis of the dissolution data was supported by investigating the reaction products formed between Al and substrate materials. In addition to commonly existent ε-Fe2Al5 and ζ-FeAl3 phases, the formation of Al4C3 and κ-Fe3AlC compounds was confirmed for the first time in the intermetallic layers of ferrous alloys. The Fe3Si phase in the intermetallic layers of high Si cast irons was found, which was believed to facilitate the high corrosion rates of high Si cast irons. Moreover, the mechanism by which C in Fe-substrates affects the liquid Al corrosion resistance can be better understood given the present work. Furthermore, the analysis presented here gives an understanding of the nature, growth and dissolution of intermetallic compounds in several cast iron alloys. Higher Si additions to cast irons played an important role in molten metal corrosion by accelerating the material loss and changing the nature of intermetallic layers. The results of this study clearly indicated that the dissolution and the growth of intermetallic compounds are interrelated and the dissolution and/or spallation of the intermetallic layers may be the primary mode of liquid Al corrosion of ferrous alloys.