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CASTING INNOVATIONS High-Aluminum Foundry Inoculant for Gray-Iron


Production Introduced A new high-aluminum foundry inoculant that maximizes chill reduc- tion and increases the tensile strength of gray-iron castings has been de- veloped by AFS Corporate Member Elkem Foundry Products, a producer of specialty additions for gray and ductile iron. Te new alloy also minimizes the amount of slag formed during inocula- tion, reducing slag build-up and the possibility of casting defects at foundries using pouring units. Called Superseed Extra Al In-


oculant, the new product contains a specially formulated combination of aluminum, strontium, and zirconium that essentially eliminates chilled white iron in thin sections and corners, increasing the machinability of gray- iron castings. Te extra aluminum allows foundries to use a single alloy to increase the aluminum content of iron to more than 0.010%, a level that helps eliminate chill. Te strontium and zir- conium contents of this alloy enhance chill reduction and strength. At the same time, the new inoculant


achieves strong chill reduction without relying on calcium, as in other inocula-


tion practices. As a result, this low- calcium inoculant generates very little slag, reducing the slag build-up in iron being transferred to pouring equipment and increasing the life of pouring-box refractories compared to other foundry inoculants. Te unique combination of elements in Superseed Extra Al Inoculant also lengthens the time it generally takes for inoculation to fade after additions are made. “We developed Superseed Extra Al Inoculant in response to a gray-iron customer who asked us for an alloy that maximizes chill reduction without building up slag in the pouring ladle,” said Elkem sales manager Matthew Liptak, who invented the alloy and applied for a patent. “In extensive laboratory and field trials, we found that the alloy’s higher aluminum content, to- gether with controlled strontium, zirco- nium, and calcium levels, achieved these goals better than existing inoculants.” As part of the development process,


Elkem’s Research and Development facilities in Kristiansand, Norway extensively tested different inoculants in laboratory iron. Superseed Extra


Al Inoculant produced substantially greater chill reduction than either low-aluminum inoculants that con- tained only strontium and zirconium or aluminum-bearing alloys without strontium and zirconium. “By increasing the aluminum


content of iron to over 0.010% in the presence of strontium and zirconium, we achieved the optimum nucleation that is needed to eliminate the hard carbides that reduce machinability,” said Cathrine Hartung, Elkem’s R&D engineer who conducted the tests at Kristiansand. “In addition, we found that Superseed Extra Al Inoculant gave higher tensile strengths in gray-iron castings than the other alloys we tested.” Superior chill reduction was also obtained when Superseed Extra Al Inoculant was tested in production foundries and compared to other inoculants. In addition, long-term use of Superseed Extra Al Inoculant pro- duced less slag build-up in the pouring box compared to the other practices, reducing the risk of slag defects in the finished casting.


This photo shows numerous carbides 2 mm from the tip of a casting fin that had a casting thickness of 3.5 mm. The iron contained 0.006% aluminum and was inoculated with Sr + Zr ferrosilicon. The carbides increased tool wear, causing machining problems.


62 | MODERN CASTING May 2018


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