In situ monitoring of directional solidification experiments on a transparent model alloy was carried out under low gravity in the Directional Solidification Insert of the Device for the Study of Critical Liquids and Crystallization (DECLIC-DSI) on-board the International Space Station. The present work is focused on the analysis of the interface recoil and its macroscopic shape evolution. Theoretically the interface movement is due to the formation of a solute boundary layer in front of the interface. However, the bulk configuration and the thermal specificities of transparent systems induce thermal effects, which are usually not observed in the classical thin sample configuration. Numerical thermal modeling highlights two thermal contributions to the interface recoil, both increasing with pulling rate. The Warren and Langer model is modified to take into account these contributions that modify the interface dynamics, and a good agreement is obtained between the experiments and the modified model.
Research Containing: Metallic alloy
Dynamical microstructure formation in 3D directional solidification of transparent model alloys: in situ characterization in DECLIC Directional Solidification Insert under diffusion transport in microgravity
To clarify and characterize the fundamental physical mechanisms active in the dynamical formation of three-dimensional (3D) arrays of cells and dendrites under diffusive growth conditions, in situ monitoring of series of experiments on transparent model alloy succinonitrile – 0.24 wt% camphor was carried out under low gravity in the DECLIC Directional Solidification Insert on-board the International Space Station. These experiments offered the very unique opportunity to in situ observe and characterize the whole development of the microstructure in extended 3D patterns. The experimental methods will be first briefly described, including in particular the observation modes and the image analysis procedures developed to quantitatively characterize the patterns. Microgravity environment provided the conditions to get quantitative benchmark data: homogeneous patterns corresponding to homogeneous values of control parameters along the whole interface were obtained. The sequence of microstructure formation will be presented as well as the evolution of the primary spacing which is one of the most important pattern characteristic. Time evolution of this primary spacing during the microstructure development will be analysed to identify the mechanisms of spacing selection and adjustment; the importance of the macroscopic interfacial curvature will be pointed out.
Investigation of columnar-to-equiaxed transition in solidification processing of AlSi alloys in microgravity – The CETSOL project
Grain structures observed in most casting processes of metallic alloys are the result of a competition between the growth of several arrays of dendrites that develop under constrained and unconstrained conditions. Often this leads to a transition from columnar to equiaxed grain growth during solidification (CET). A microgravity environment results in suppression of buoyancy-driven melt flow and so enables growth of equiaxed grains free of sedimentation and buoyancy effects. This contribution presents first results obtained in experiments on-board the International Space Station (ISS), which were performed in the frame of the ESA-MAP programme CETSOL. Hypoeutectic aluminium-silicon alloys with and without grain refiners were processed successfully in a low gradient furnace (MSL-LGF). First analysis shows that in the non grain refined samples columnar dendritic growth exists, whereas CET is observed in the grain refined samples. From analysis of the thermal data and the grain structure the critical parameters for the temperature gradient and the cooling rate describing CET are determined. These data are used for initial numerical simulations to predict the position of the columnar-to-equiaxed transition and will form a unique database for calibration and further development of numerical CET-modeling.