Morphological characterization of primary austenite in cast iron

Sammanfattning: Automotive industry products portfolio includes a wide variety of complex‐shaped cast iron products, such as truck engine components, that need to withstand a constant trend of higher demands, especially urged by stricter environmental regulations on emissions. Combined with this continued demand on properties improvement, cast iron industry faces a process problem related to the lack of understanding of solidification and mechanisms behind defect formation.Casting products are highly affected by the product design and the manufacturing method itself, which governs the final microstructure and hence the final mechanical properties. Wall thickness of the moulding material strongly influences the solidification time, varying the microstructural coarseness, resulting in a component with different properties depending on the local shape of the casting.The main objective of this work is the characterization of the primary austenite microstructure and its coarsening process, which has been poorly documented in cast iron literature, to allow the prediction and control of these microstructural features present in the casting.The microstructural evolution of the primary austenite in hypoeutectic lamellar graphite iron (LGI) is studied under isothermal coarsening conditions. The dendritic microstructure suffered major morphological changes that included dendrite fragmentation, globularization, and coalescence. Empirical relations based on morphological parameters are introduced to predict the microstructural evolution of primary austenite. A novel technique for colour‐etching and semi‐automatic image analysis for the characterization of quenched dendritic microstructures in cast iron is presented. A new experimental technique for production of graphitic iron with varying nodularity is presented as a solution to control the production of compacted (CGI) and spheroidal graphite iron (SGI) under laboratory conditions. The nodularity evolution is controlled as a function of the holding time and the residual Mg, allowing the study of the primary solidification and primary microstructures of hypoeutectic CGI and SGI in future investigations.