UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Examination and Simulation of Silicon Macrosegregation in A356 Wheel Casting Fan, Pan; Cockcroft, Steve; Maijer, Daan; Yao, Lu; Reilly, Carl; Phillion, Andre


Macrosegregation is commonly seen and has been extensively studied in large ingots in a variety of alloy systems. In comparison, this defect is rarely investigated in small aluminum shape castings. To address this shortcoming, a numerical model was developed to investigate silicon macrosegregation during the low-pressure die casting of aluminum alloy (A356) automotive wheels. The model results were compared with silicon distribution maps measured using an optical, phase area-based technique. The model of the wheel casting process was implemented within FLUENT, a commercial Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software package. In the formulation adopted, liquid metal flow is driven solely by solidification shrinkage due to the variation in density between the liquid and solid phases. Buoyancy and die filling have been ignored. Additionally, the model includes Darcy flow in the two-phase mushy zone, the release of latent heat, and solute redistribution at the micro-scale using the Scheil approximation. The model was validated against temperature and segregation data taken from a commercially cast wheel and shown to be qualitatively correct in predicting trends in temperature histories and segregation. A closer inspection of the data reveals that the model is quantitatively accurate within 10–30%, depending on the location.

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