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WHAT IS CAST IRON?

Alloys of iron and carbon with


more than 2.11% carbon are
called cast irons.
CAST IRON
 Family of ferrous alloys
 • Cast into desired shape – not worked

 • 2-4% C and 1-3% Si

 • Instability of Fe3C:

 – Cementite / graphite flakes / graphite

nodules
Classification of cast iron
Type of cast Graphite Ductility
iron
White No No Fast cooling rates

Gray Flake No Slow cooling rates

Malleable Spherical Yes White iron +


aggregates annealing heat
treatment
Nodular Nodular Yes Additions made so
that nodules of
graphite form
instead of flakes
Gamma+Fe3c


Iron rich end of the Fe-C phase diagram


White cast iron

• Fe3C + pearlite
• Hard, brittle
• Shows a “white” crystalline
fractured surface
• Excellent wear resistance
• High compressive stress
White Cast Iron

Fe3C

Pearlite
WHITE CAST IRON (CONTD.)
 Has excellent wear resistance
 But is very brittle

 Finds use as
 balls for grinding mills,
 liners for cement mixers and
 rolls for paper manufacture
Gray cast iron

During slow solidification carbon in


Fe separates or graphitizes to form
separate graphite flakes
Microstructure of gray
cast iron
Separate graphite
flakes form

X500
X100
FERRITIC VS.PEARLITIC GRAY IRON
 If all the carbon is in the form of graphite, we
have ferritic gray iron, where the graphite flakes
are embedded in a matrix of ferrite
 If only a part of the carbon is in the form of
graphite, we have the pearlitic gray iron, with
pearlite as the matrix.
General characteristics/advantages
of gray cast iron
• Cheaper than steel, as temperature to be
attained for making it is several hundred
degrees lower than for casting steel. Also
control of impurities is not critical here, as in
steel making.
• It has excellent fluidity, even large complex
shapes can be cast advantageously.
• Excellent machinability, as chip formation is
promoted by the graphite flakes. In addition the
flakes serve as a lubricant for the cutting tool.
ADVANTAGES/DISADVANTAGES
OF GRAY CAST IRON
 The wear resistance of gray iron is very good, as graphite
flakes act as lubricant.
 The damping capacity (ability to damp vibrations) of gray
iron is superior to that of steel
 Can be alloyed to improve properties, e.g. Nihard iron with
4%Ni and 1.5%Cr has excellent wear resistance.
 Graphite flakes are sharp at their tips and act like internal
cracks or stress raisers. For this reason gray iron is brittle
and shows only about 0.5% elongation in tension.
Great at dampening!

Relative ability of ferrous metals to dampen


vibrations. The energy absorbed per cycle, or
specific damping capacity of these can differ by
more than 10 times.
FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE THE
FORMATION OF GRAPHITE
Cooling rate
 Thick cross sections or castings in sand
moulds tend to have graphite, as the
cooling rate is slow.
 Chill castings (in metal moulds) and thin
cross sections tend to have cementite.
 This effect can also be seen in the fracture
appearance across the cross section
varying from white at the surface to gray
inside. The transition region has the
“mottled” appearance
FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE THE
FORMATION OF GRAPHITE
Alloying elements:
 Silicon strongly promotes graphitization.
 Effect of alloying elements other than Si is
described in terms of
Si equivalent =
%Si+3(%C)+0.3(%Ni)+0.3(%Cu)+0.5(%Al)-
0.25(%Mn)-0.35(%Mo)-1.2(%Cr)
 Increasing C in the melt promotes graphite
formation, while Mo and Cr hinder
Silicon promotes graphitization
Stress-strain curves in tension and compression
for Class 20 and Class 40 cast irons
USES OF GRAY IRON
 The good damping capacity and the high
compressive strength make it suitable as a base for
erection of machinery.
 Ease of machining, good wear resistance and
damping capacity are utilized in applications such
as locomotive and internal combustion engine
cylinder blocks and heads
 Ease of casting and low cost make it suitable for
flywheels and counterweights for lifts
 Niresist with 20%Ni and 2%Cr has excellent
corrosion resistance and heat resisting properties
and is used for handling alkalis at high
temperatures.
Malleable cast iron

• White cast iron (typical composition 2.5%C and


1%Si)+ prolonged heat treatment at 900-950oC
followed by very slow cooling
• During this treatment cementite decomposes to
the more stable form (graphite). The free carbon
precipitates in the form of spheroidal particles
(nodules)
Temper graphite in
malleable iron (Fe-
2.9%C-1.5%Si-
0.53%Mn-0.06%P-
0.22%S-0.08%Ni-
0.1%Cu-0.09%Cr-
0.003%Bi)
The casting was
annealed
at 950 °C, held 10 h,
furnace cooled to
720 °C, held 16 h,
and air cooled.
MALLEABLE CAST IRON-CONTD.

Has a tensile strength up to 700


MPa, with an elongation of 10-
15%
They are more expensive than
gray irons, because of the heat
treatment involved.
They are used in applications
such as automobile crankshafts,
chain links and brackets.
Ductile/nodular/spheroidal
graphite(SG) cast iron
• Small quantities of Mg (modifier)
added to the melt to produce this iron
•The basic composition of the melt is 3-4%C and
2.5%Si
•The fairly high Si equivalent produces
graphitisation during solidification.
•The modifier has the effect of making the growth
rate of graphite same in all directions, so that a
spherical shape results
Contrasting gray and nodular/ductile
cast iron

Separate graphite
flakes form

Mg added to molten iron –


helps spherodise graphite

X100

X100
X500
Gray
Ferritic
vs
Nodular
cast iron
Pearlitic

Gray – graphite as Nodular – graphite


flakes as nodules
Brittle Ductile
NODULAR IRON (CONTD.)
 Nodular iron is a major engineering material, as
it combines the advantages of steel with the
processing economies of iron
 Tensile strength ranges from 400 to 700 MPa,
with elongation in the range 10-18%
 Agricultural components, industrial fan hubs,
coke oven doors, crankshafts and gears are some
of the applications
APPLICATIONS OF DUCTILE CAST IRONS