The Effects of Heat Treatment on the Microstructure and Tensile Properties of an HPDC Marine Transmission Gearcase Stroh, Joshua; Sediako, Dimitry; Hanes, Ted; Anderson, Kevin; Monroe, Alex
The drive for continuously improving the performance and increasing the efficiencies of marine transportation has resulted in the development of a new alloy, Mercalloy A362™. This alloy was designed to lighten Mercury Marine’s lower transmission gearcase while also improving the alloy’s recyclability. The new prototype gearcase was subjected to Mercury Marine’s standard service conditions, which resulted in the premature failure of the prototype. A previous study revealed that a large accumulation of unwanted residual stress (~120 MPa) was present in the gearcase following the high pressure die casting process. Fortunately, the T5 heat treatment reduced the magnitude of stress by approximately 50%. However, the effects that the T5 heat treatment had on the microstructure and mechanical properties of the alloy were not discussed. Thus, this research article characterizes the effects that the T5 heat treatment has on the volume fraction and morphology of the intermetallics, as well as the tensile performance of the alloy. It was found that the T5 heat treatment led to only minor increases in the volume fraction of Fe-bearing intermetallics, leading to similar tensile properties in both the as-cast and T5 condition. These results suggest that the T5 heat treatment can alleviate residual stress without significantly altering the mechanical properties of the alloy. The results from the previous stress analysis and the current study were used to optimize the manufacturing process which led to the successful introduction of the gearcase into the competitive marine industry.
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