ALD Vacuum Technologies
Electron-beam melting furnace installation.
StaCool Industries
Workers wear the StaCool vest under aluminized PPE, with frozen thermal packets inserted into pockets to help regulate core body temperatures.
Thermo Scientific
Thermo Scientific™ ARL iSpark™ Plus optical emission spectrometer.
U.S. Air Force / Paul Shirk
Ted Fetchik, a USAF 553rd Commodities Maintenance Squadron welder, pours aluminum into a 3D-printed mold at Tinker Air Force Base.

Examining Semi-Solid Aluminum Casting and the SEED Process

Aug. 12, 2015
Côté, Pucella, and Midson explain how the SEED represents a new possibility for producing thin-walled castings with excellent mechanical properties.

Despite significant technical and economic advantages semi-solid metalcasting (SSM) has never advanced to become the major metalcasting process anticipated by so many early investigators. Still, there are still several positive indicators of the value of semi-solid casting for aluminum alloys, as detailed by Pascal Côté, Giovanni Pucella, and Steve Midson in their report, The Benefits of Semi-Solid Casting for Aluminum Alloys.

Proceeding from the proposition that there are multiple advantages to producing castings in uncoated metal molds (including surface finishes, close dimensional tolerances, and fine-scale microstructures, due to rapid heat extraction) they address the challenge of high-cooling rates and solidification irregularities with existing semi-solid metal casting technologies.

The Swirled Enthalpy Equilibration Device (SEED) process they introduce represent a new possibility for high-volume, high-productivity, thin-walled casting production. It is a technically advanced and economically successful rheocasting processes that minimize turbulence during the production of the semi-solid slurry — making it effective for producing high quality castings. It optimizes metal quality during both the production of the slurry and during the casting process itself, and may represent the future for semi-solid casting production.