Al-7Si-Mg semi-solid castings – microstructure and mechanical properties

Sammanfattning: The vehicles industry is facing increasing demands for fuel efficiency and cost reduction due to environmental legislation, sustainability and customer demands. Therefore, there is a great need to develop and produce lightweight components by using materials and processes that offer higher specific strength and/or design optimization. Semi‐solid aluminium casting offers design freedom and castings with lower shrinkage and gas entrapment defects compared to high pressure die castings. The lack of understanding of microstructure and defect formation, and design data, for semi‐solid castings is a barrier for foundries and designers in the vehicles industry to use semi‐solid castings.In this study, the effect of two grain refiners on slurry formation and surface segregation of semi‐solid Al‐7Si‐0.3Mg castings produced by the Rheometal™ process was evaluated. The influence of grain refinement on primary α‐Al grain size, shape factor and solid fraction was analysed in addition to the solute content of the surface segregation layer.The influence of magnesium on the formation of intermetallic phases during solidification and the heat treatment response of Al‐7Si‐Mg semi‐solid castings was investigated. The magnesium content was varied from 0.3 to 0.6wt.% and the semi-solid castings were analysed in the T5 and T6 conditions. Energy dispersive spectroscopy was used to identify the intermetallic phases formed during solidification. Tensile testing was performed and the results were correlated to the magnesium and silicon concentration measured in the interior of the α‐Al globules formed during slurry preparation.The results suggest that the addition of grain refiner decreases the solid fraction obtained in the Rheometal™ process. However, no significant effect was observed on the α‐Al grain size and shape factor.A good correlation was obtained between the magnesium concentration in the interior of the α‐Al globules formed during slurry preparation and the offset yield strength for all alloys. The low magnesium solubility in α‐Al at temperatures in the solidification range of the Al‐7Si‐Mg alloys is suggested to be the reason for the low hardening response for the T5 heat treatment compared to the T6 condition.