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Bolzoni, L., Xia, M., & Hari Babu, N. (2016). Formation of equiaxed crystal structures in directionally solidified Al-Si alloys using Nb-based heterogeneous nuclei. Scientific Reports. http://doi.org/10.1038/srep39554
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/10829
The design of chemical compositions containing potent nuclei for the enhancement of heterogeneous nucleation in aluminium, especially cast alloys such as Al-Si alloys, is a matter of importance in order to achieve homogeneous properties in castings with complex geometries. We identified that Al3Nb/NbB2 compounds are effective heterogeneous nuclei and are successfully produced in the form of Al-2Nb-xB (x = 0.5, 1 and 2) master alloys. Our study shows that the inoculation of Al-10Si braze alloy with these compounds effectively promotes the heterogeneous nucleation of primary α-Al crystals and reduces the undercooling needed for solidification to take place. Moreover, we present evidences that these Nb-based compounds prevent the growth of columnar crystals and permit to obtain, for the first time, fine and equiaxed crystals in directionally solidified Al-10Si braze alloy. As a consequence of the potent heterogeneous particles, the size of the α-Al crystals was found to be less dependent on the processing conditions, especially the thermal gradient. Finally, we also demonstrate that the enhanced nucleation leads to the refinement of secondary phases such as eutectic silicon and primary silicon particles.
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