MICROSTRUCTURAL CHARACTERISTICS, MECHANICAL AND WEAR BEHAVIOUR OF ALUMINIUM-ALLOYED DUCTILE IRONS SUBJECTED TO TWO AUSTEMPERING PROCESSES
Keywords:Al-alloyed ductile iron, spheroidization, graphite nodules, ausferrite, mechanical properties, wear
AbstractThe effect of aluminium addition and austempering processes on the microstructures, mechanical and wear properties of rotary melting furnace processed ductile irons was investigated. Ductile irons containing 1−4 wt.% Al were produced and subjected to single and two-step austempering processes. Optical microscopy was used to characterize the graphite features and estimate the volume fraction of the matrix phases present, while the x-ray diffractogram was also carried out to analyse the samples. Mechanical and wear properties of the alloys were equally evaluated. From the results, it was observed that both the as-cast and austempered ductile iron microstructures contained nodular graphite, and the matrix structure for the as-cast ductile irons consisted predominantly of pearlite and ferrite, while that of the austempered grades, contained principally, ausferrite. The microstructure and intermetallic compound obtained played dominant role on the properties of the alloys. The aluminium addition and austempering processes had a significant influence on the mechanical properties and wear resistance of the alloys. The austempered ductile irons exhibited superior strength and wear resistance compared to the as-cast samples, albeit ductility values were lower in the composition group. Austempering increased the strength by over 100% while the addition of Al further enhanced the strength. The improved properties were linked to the refined microstructure, increased proportion of ausferrite phase and intermetallic compound formed. For all properties evaluated, the two-step austempering yielded better properties combination than the single step process. The rotary melting furnace processing adopted was found viable for ductile iron production.
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