by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
button in toolbar for more information.
Metal Casting Technologies : September 2007
2007 OVERVIEW AsianFoundry www.metals.rala.com.au 46 AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH OVERVIEW Aerospace New technology supporting Australian defence and aerospace industries to maintain the performance of light metal components through the life of a platform resulting in cost savings and potential new business while contributing to safeguarding Australia. The Aerospace theme is utilising a value chain approach linking companies in research and development networks to develop enabling technologies that promote Australia's performance in the highly competitive sector of aerospace component manufacturing. Titanium is an important metal due to its high strength and corrosion resistance and is a key metal in the manufacture of Joint Strike Fighter components so is a central part of the Aerospace theme. Research programs include component life prediction and life extension technologies for defence equipment, and manufacturing technology for aerospace components that will be explored through high-risk proof of concept projects. Titanium Building on world leading expertise in aluminium powder alloy development and component manufacture, research will be undertaken at Queensland, Deakin and Monash Universities in co-operation with the CSIRO Light Metals Flagship on the production of complex shaped, sheet and bar products made directly from titanium powder. The aim is to develop an economic powder metallurgy (P/M) system for titanium, allowing the production of small, complex, light weight components. This will be achieved through an alloy design programme that is focused on optimising the composition in order to maximise the sintering response. The outcome of this project will be unique, patentable, titanium powder metallurgy alloys. Currently, there is an opportunity for Australia to increase participation in high value-added aerospace component contracts for the Joint Strike Fighter project. A critical competitive technology is high speed machining of titanium components, which is not yet technically feasible. Collaboration between DSTO scientists, CAST researchers and Ferra Engineering, utilising their titanium machining facility, will develop technology to achieve this capability and create a competitive advantage for Australia in this market. Magnesium Wheels No manufacturer has been able to manufacture cost competitive magnesium wheels (not to be confused with Mag wheels which are based on aluminium) for mainstream vehicles and therefore they remain a high cost optional extra. Technologies required to enable the manufacture of a cost competitive magnesium wheel include a new alloy and associated design data, casting and/or forming process technology and surface coating technology. There is a strong interdependence between each of these technologies that affects the final performance of the wheel, thus requiring parallel development to achieve a successful outcome. However, the two critical technologies that need to be initially addressed are the casting and/or forming process that must deliver high quality castings at a low cost, and the coating technology for corrosion protection, aesthetics and resilience over the life of a wheel. Powertrain The critical barriers to the manufacture of light metal power train components and systems include design know-how and associated performance data, casting technology, joining methods to cope with galvanic corrosion and a suitable economic magnesium high pressure die casting alloy. The penetration of aluminium components is quite advanced in cylinder heads and engine blocks but further opportunities exist. For example, in Australia transmission housings are assembled from two or three separate aluminium components and while this allows for flexibility it also adds to assembly cost and weight from the need to join the components. However, weight and cost penalties can be removed through the development of new die design and joining technologies that facilitate the construction of a single piece automatic transmission housing. Short and long term projects have been established to develop design capability for magnesium components, new alloys and casting methods and to establish industrial casting capability. CAST will build on the achievement in CASTmm of developing a new heat-treatable magnesium sand casting alloy, AM-SC1, suitable for engine blocks, which is currently one of two alloys short listed by the US FreedomCar evaluation programme. This alloy has potential for other applications where high operating temperatures are generated such as oil pans for large heavily loaded vehicles. An alloy with similar properties to AM-SC1 will be developed for high pressure die casting of magnesium components. The main challenge is to deliver a low cost corrosion resistant alloy with the superior properties of AM-SC1 through microstructural design to eliminate the need for heat treatment by strengthening the matrix and locking the grain boundaries with well distributed secondary phases to prevent grain boundary sliding. Further information can be gained from CAST at www.cast.org.au