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Research Areas

The center has four thrust areas:

  1. Lightweight shape castings

    This thrust area includes Al and Mg castings for the automotive industry. The current and growing emphasis on energy efficiency and associated weight reduction in automobiles will continue to drive the development of aluminum and magnesium castings. In addition, it is anticipated that many Al foundries will begin producing Mg castings so there are opportunities to provide technical support for this conversion.

  2. Solidification processing of wrought alloys

    This thrust area includes electroslag and vacuum arc remelting processes (ESR and VAR) and Direct-Chill (DC) casting of ingots of wrought metal alloys. The nickel superalloys, specialty steels, and titanium produced by remelting processes and the aluminum processed by DC casting are all used extensively by the aerospace industry, as well as the chemical, biomedical, and food processing industries. Previous and ongoing work in this area has been numerical modeling of ESR, VAR, and DC casting processes, looking at casting defect formation and control, coupled with data from bench top experiments and plant-scale trials.

  3. Investment casting

    The investment casting research component is broad-based, including research programs on microstructual development, heat transfer, mold dewaxing, metal filling, and mold- and refractory-metal interaction. A major equipment initiative estimated at ~$1.5M will target a custom vacuum investment casting furnace for the Center with capability for instrumented induction melting and casting studies of conventional, directionally solidified, and single-crystal superalloy casting as well as titanium casting (cold-hearth).

  4. Specialty alloys and processes

    This thrust covers a wide range of solidification science and technology areas, including infiltration-casting, welding, brazing and soldering. Another emphasis is specialty steels and Ni-based alloy welding. The relative importance of welding as a manufacturing process continues to increase while the education of welding metallurgists continues to decline.