The Solid Proof: The Latest in Solidification Modeling

One of the most exciting new developments offered with the release of FLOW-3D CAST v5.1 is the new chemistry-based aluminum-silicon and aluminum-copper alloy solidification model. This new model allows users to predict the microstructure and mechanical properties for as-cast and heat-treated castings. Experimental data was used to verify and validate our model predictions, which is detailed in Modeling and Simulation of Microstructures and Mechanical Properties of AlSi- and AlCi-based Alloys, a publication that recently won the Best Paper Award from the 2020 American Foundry Society Aluminum & Light Metals Division.

Test bars - FLOW-3D CAST Solidification Model

The paper highlights a casting study done in collaboration with The University of Alabama at Birmingham, in which A356 and A206 commercial ingots were used to create a wedge-shaped pattern using the lost foam method. For more detail about the study, check out our recent webinar on the new solidification model.

What does the new model do exactly?

FLOW-3D CAST’s new solidification model accurately predicts grain size and secondary dendritic arm spacing (SDAS) by tracking the evolution of the alloy’s chemical elements and reactions. Then empirical relationships are used to calculate then resulting microstructure to mechanical properties. This calculation also allows us to output a non-dimensional Niyama criterion for improved porosity prediction.

Here we highlight some of our results from the aluminum silicon A356 samples. The data is very compelling!

First and foremost, accurate cooling curves are foundational to the study of microstructure. The first step was to establish that our model correctly matched thermocouple data extracted from experiments.

With this solid foundation, and with the detailed knowledge of the alloy composition, an accurate prediction of the secondary dentric arm spacing then leads to an accurate prediction of mechanical properties.

Accurate input data and a solid handle on pouring and cooling parameters are always the necessary foundation that can help us obtain accurate predictions of microstructure, porosity and mechanical properties.

Alloy composition
Cooling curve FLOW-3D CAST

Verification and Validation

We see an excellent correlation between the experimental  data and the outputs of the solidification model, as shown in the following plots for SDAS, ultimate tensile strength, and elongation.                        

Here at Flow Science we deliver innovative developments that help our customers conceptualize, create, and analyze their casting designs with confidence. If you would like more information on the new solidification model or a personal demonstration of FLOW-3D CAST v5.1, please reach out to webdemo@flow3d.com.

Thank you and stay tuned for our next post!

Ajit D'Brass

Ajit D'Brass

Metal Casting Engineer at Flow Science

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