Influence of ultrasonic melt treatment on the formation of primary intermetallics and related grain refinement in aluminum alloys
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Ultrasonic melt treatment (UST) is known to induce grain refining in aluminum alloys. Previous studies have clearly shown that in Al–Zr–Ti alloys, the primary Al3Zr intermetallics were dramatically refined by cavitation-assisted fragmentation, and a good refinement effect was achieved. In this article, Al–Ti, Al–Ti–Zr alloys, and some commercial aluminum alloys are used to analyze the effect of UST on primary intermetallics and grain refinement. The addition of a small amount of Al–3Ti–B master alloy is also studied in order to compare with the addition of Ti and Zr in commercial aluminum alloys. Experimental results show that the ultrasonic grain refining effect is not only related to the size of particles which are refined and/or dispersed by UST, but also related to an undercooling available for activation of these particles in the solidification process. Athermal heterogeneous nucleation theory is considered to explain the effect of size and distribution of substrate particles on the grain structure with different undercoolings. The distribution of primary particle sizes results in the distribution of required undercoolings. Grain refining occurs when the undercooling is large enough to activate the refined primary intermetallics or dispersed inoculants.
KeywordsMaster Alloy Al3Ti Graphite Crucible AA2024 Alloy Al3Zr
The Authors would like to acknowledge the support of Materials innovation institute for the part of this study. Cooperation with Dr. T.V. Atamanenko is especially appreciated. L. Zhang would like to thank China Scholarship Council and Prof. J.S. Zhang for providing the scholarship for the PhD study at TU Delft.
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