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Process development for investment casting of thin-walled components: Manufacturing of light weight components
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation. (Innofacture)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3086-0901
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Manufacturing processes are getting more and more complex with increasing demands of advanced and light weight engineering components, especially in aerospace industry. The global requirements on lower fuel consumption and emissions are increasing the demands in lowering weight of cast components. Ability to produce components in lower wall thickness will not only help to reduce the cost of production but also help to improve the efficiency of engineering systems resulting in lower fuel consumption and lesser environmental hazardous emissions. In order to produce thin-walled components, understanding of mechanism behind fluidity as it is effected by casting parameters is very important. Similarly, for complex components study of solidification morphology and its effects on castability is important to understand.

The aim of this work was to investigate casting of thin-walled test geometries (less than 2mm) in aero-space grades of alloys. The casting trials were performed to investigate the fluidity as a function of casting parameters and filling system in thin-walled sections. Test geometries with different thickness were cast and evaluated in terms of filled area with respect to casting parameters, ı.e. casting temperature and shell preheat temperature. Different feeding systems were investigated to evaluate effects of filling mode on castability. Similarly for complex components where geometries are very organic in shape, solidification morphology effects the quality of castings. Process parameters, that effect the solidification morphology were identified and evaluated. In order to develop a relation between defect formation and process parameters, solidification behaviour was investigated using simulations and casting trials. Similarly the effect of factors that influence grain structure and flow related defects were studied.

It was observed that fluidity is affected by the mode of geometry filling in investment casting process. The filling mode also have different effect on defect formation. A top-gated configuration is strongly affected by casting parameters where as a bottom-gated configuration is more stable and thus fluidity is not significantly affected by variation in casting parameters. Less porosity and flow-related defects were observed in the bottom-gated system as compared to top-gated system. In the study about casting defects as affected by process parameters, it was observed that shell thickness is important to avoid interdendritic shrinkage. It was observed that the increased shell thickness induces a steeper thermal gradient which is essential in order to minimize the width of the mushy zone. It was also observed that a slower cooling rate along with a steeper thermal gradient at the metal-mould interface not only helps to avoid shrinkage porosity but also increases fill-ability in thinner sections.

The work presented here is focused on the optimization of process parameters, in order, for instance, to improve castability and reduce the casting defects in investment casting process. The work, however, does not focus on externally influencing the casting conditions or modifying the casting/manufacturing process. The future work towards PhD will be focused on externally improving the casting conditions and investigating other possible route of manufacturing for thin, complex components.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University , 2015.
Mälardalen University Press Licentiate Theses, ISSN 1651-9256 ; 199
Keyword [en]
Investment casting, fluidity, thin sections, porosity, grain structure, turbine blades and Niyama criterion
National Category
Metallurgy and Metallic Materials
Research subject
Innovation and Design
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-27807ISBN: 978-91-7485-204-2OAI: diva2:801012
2015-05-22, C106, Mälardalens högskola, Eskilstuna, 14:00
Available from: 2015-04-08 Created: 2015-04-08 Last updated: 2016-09-27Bibliographically approved

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