A research program at U.S. DOE’s Argonne National Lab uses high-energy X-ray tomography to look into the material formation of cast iron
Foundries know much about the characteristics and behavior of cast iron, and how to modify it during melting and alloying, and how to handle it during casting. But, there is still much to learn about how cast structures solidify, and neither 2D imaging nor 3D analysis have been able to document the exact processing parameters that will produce the ideal properties for any specific cast iron application.
Finding an easier way to look deep into the material structure would help answer such questions, and researchers at U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory are using synchrotron X-ray analysis to evaluate graphite microstructure. Three-dimensional imaging of the structure of graphite, its spatial arrangement in the alloy, and its phase connectivity are critical factors that determine the properties of cast iron.
"By understanding the structure, it will be possible to develop alloys with improved mechanical and thermal properties. This implies that for applications such as vehicle engine and engine components, one could use less material and reduce overall vehicle weight, which would translate into fuel savings," stated Dileep Singh, group leader of thermal-mechanical research at Argonne National Laboratory's Center for Transportation Research, and the study’s technical leader.