Solidification Kinetics of an Al-Ce Alloy with Additions of Ni and Mn Kozakevich, Jordan Roger; Stroh, Joshua; Sediako, Dimitry; Weiss, David
Heat-treated aluminum–silicon (Al-Si)-based alloys have dominated the cast lightweight alloy industry for several decades. However, in the last decade, Al-Ce-based alloys have shown promise in replacing Al-Si alloys as they remove the need for costly heat treatments. As the properties of Al-Ce alloys depend on the as-cast microstructure, it is important to characterize the solidification kinetics of these alloys. Therefore, this study focused on characterizing the solidification of an Al-Ce alloy with additions of Ni and Mn (nominal composition Al-12.37Ce-3.26Ni-0.94Mn-0.12Fe in weight percent). The alloy was cast in a wedge mold configuration, resulting in cooling rates between 0.18 and 14.27 °C/s. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coupled with the energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) techniques characterized the evolution rate of solid phases. The SEM/EDS data revealed that an Al10CeMn2 phase was present at higher cooling rates. At lower cooling rates, near the center of the casting, a primary Al23Ce4Ni6 phase was more present. It was observed that up to 2.6 atomic percent (at.%) of Mn was dissolved in this primary Al23Ce4Ni6 phase, thereby removing a large portion of the available Mn for forming the Al10CeMn2 phase. DSC analysis showed differences in the samples’ liquidus temperatures, which indicated compositional variations. Inductively coupled plasma–atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) and Scheil solidification simulations correlated the compositional differences with phase formation, which agreed with the SEM and DSC results. This experiment provides insight into novel Al-Ce-Ni-Mn alloys and where their potential lies in industrial applications.
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