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This process enables magnesium alloy to be cast economically

By Tetsuo Satoh |

The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO; Kawasaki; www.nedo.go.jp) and Sankyo Tateyama Inc. (Takaoka, both Japan; www.st-grp.co.jp) have developed technology that enables the casting of small-diameter (500–100-mm dia.) magnesium alloy billets, which are suitable for direct, compact forging. The production costs are said to be half those of existing technology, which involves an expensive and inefficient extrusion and forging process. The breakthrough is expected to enable a wider application of magnesium in automotive, consumer electronics and robotic products as an alternative to aluminum and iron. The new casting procedure uses an adiabatic, structured template, which suppresses the coagulation of the melted materials within the template and enhances the rapid quenching and coagulation by means of cooling water injected at the bottom of the template. This procedure enables the structural refinement and formation of a dense solid texture, with average crystal-grain size of 50 μm, and a dendrite arm spacing (DAS; a measure of the metal’s microstructure) of less than 15 μm. These parameters are about half those generated by existing billet-formation technology, and thus show that the magnesium-alloy…
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