Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B

, Volume 47, Issue 5, pp 2971–2978 | Cite as

Observation of Nanometric Silicon Oxide Bifilms in a Water-Atomized Hypereutectic Cast Iron Powder

  • Mathieu BoisvertEmail author
  • Denis Christopherson
  • Gilles L’EspéranceEmail author


This study investigated the reasons for the irregular structure of primary graphite nodules that were formed in a hypereutectic cast iron powder during water atomization. The graphite nodules contain a significant amount of micron-sized pores and multiple nanometric voids that formed from silicon oxide bifilms. The bifilms theory is often used to explain the mechanisms responsible for the presence of pores in castings. However, even if many results presented in the literature tend to corroborate the existence of bifilms, to this date, only indirect evidences of their existence were presented. The observations presented in this paper are the first to show the double-sided nature of these defects. These observations support the bifilms theory and give an explanation for the presence of porosities in castings. The bifilms were used as substrate for graphite growth during solidification. The irregular structure of the graphite nodules is a consequence of the rather random structure of the bifilms that were introduced in the melt as a result of turbulences on the surface of the melt during pouring. The confirmation of the existence of bifilms can contribute to the understanding of the mechanical properties of various metallic parts.


Bifilms Porosities cast iron water atomization graphite morphology transmission electron microscopy 



The authors thank their collaborators for their technical assistance for the work presented in this paper: the members of the laboratory LAMPOUL directed by Carl Blais, professor at Université Laval, for the powder atomizations, and Jean-Phillipe Masse from the Center for Characterization and Microscopy of Materials, the (CM)2, for his help with TEM observations.


The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support of Federal-Mogul Powertrain and AUTO21, a multi-disciplinary, auto-related research and development (R&D) initiative established by the Canadian Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program. AUTO21 is funded by a blend of federal, provincial, and industry support.

Conflict of interest

The authors confirm that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society and ASM International 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Materials Engineering ProgramÉcole Polytechnique de MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Federal-Mogul Corporation, Valve Seats and GuidesWaupunUSA
  3. 3.École Polytechnique de MontréalQuébecCanada

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