The paper presents the results of research on the impact of impurities in the feed ingots (master heat) on the precipitation of impurities in the ATD thermal analysis probe castings. This impurities occur mostly inside shrinkage cavities and in interdendritic space. Additionally, insufficient filtration of liquid alloy during pouring promotes the transfer of impurities into the casting. The technology of melting superalloys in vacuum furnace prevents the removal of slag from the surface of molten metal. Because of that, the effective method of quality assessment of feed ingots in order to evaluate the existence of impurities is needed. The effectiveness of ATD analysis in evaluation of purity of feed ingots was researched. In addition the similarities of non-metallic inclusions in feed ingots and in castings were observed.
The paper presents the results of evaluation of the metallurgical quality of master heat ingots and of the identification of non-metallic inclusions (oxides of Al., Zr, Hf, Cr, etc.), which have been found in the shrinkage cavities formed in these ingots. The inclusions penetrate into the liquid alloy, and on pouring of mould are transferred to the casting, especially when the filtering system is not sufficiently effective. The specific nature of the melting process of nickel and cobalt alloys, carried out in vacuum induction furnaces, excludes the possibility of alloy refining and slag removal from the melt surface. Therefore, to improve the quality of castings (parts of aircraft engines), it is so important to evaluate the quality of ingots before charging them into the crucible of an induction furnace. It has been proved that one of the methods for rapid quality evaluation is an ATD analysis of the sample solidification process, where samples are taken from different areas of the master heat ingot. The evaluation is based on a set of parameters plotted on the graph of the dT/dt derivative curve during the last stage of the solidification process in a range from TEut to Tsol.
In order to predict the distribution of shrinkage porosity in steel ingot efficiently and accurately, a criterion R√L and a method to obtain its threshold value were proposed. The criterion R√L was derived based on the solidification characteristics of steel ingot and pressure gradient in the mushy zone, in which the physical properties, the thermal parameters, the structure of the mushy zone and the secondary dendrite arm spacing were all taken into consideration. The threshold value of the criterion R√L was obtained with combination of numerical simulation of ingot solidification and total solidification shrinkage rate. Prediction of the shrinkage porosity in a 5.5 ton ingot of 2Cr13 steel with criterion R√L>0.21 m･℃1/2･s -3/2 agreed well with the results of experimental sectioning. Based on this criterion, optimization of the ingot was carried out by decreasing the height-to-diameter ratio and increasing the taper, which successfully eliminated the centreline porosity and further proved the applicability of this criterion.