Recent increasing applications for cast Al-Si alloys are particularly driven by the need for lightweighting components in the automotive sector. To improve mechanical properties, elements such as strontium, sodium and antimony can be added to modify the eutectic silicon from coarse and plate-like to fine and fibrous morphology. It is only recently being noticed that the morphological transformation resulting from eutectic modification is also accompanied by other, equally significant, but often unexpected changes. These changes can include a 10-fold increase in the eutectic grain size, redistribution of low-melting point phases and porosity as well as surface finish, consequently leading to variations in casting quality. This paper shows the state-of-the-art in understanding the mechanism of eutectic nucleation and growth in Al-Si alloys, inspecting samples, both quenched and uninterrupted, on the macro, micro and nano-scale. It shows that significant variations in eutectic nucleation and growth dynamics occur in Al-Si alloys as a function of the type and amount of modifier elements added. The key role of AlP particles in nucleating silicon is demonstrated.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering