Massive Formation of Equiaxed Crystals by Avalanches of Mushy Zone Segments

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It is well known that the growth and motion of equiaxed crystals govern important microstructural features, especially in larger castings such as heavy ingots. To determine the origin of the equiaxed crystals, heterogeneous nucleation, and/or fragmentation of dendrite arms from columnar regions are often discussed. In the present study, we demonstrate that under certain conditions relatively large areas of mushy regions slide downward and form spectacular crystal avalanches. These avalanches crumble into thousands of dendritic fragments, whereby the larger fragments immediately sediment and the smaller proceed to behave as equiaxed crystals. Traces of such crystal avalanches can be seen by conspicuous equiaxed layers in the lower part of the casting. From the arguments in the discussion, it is believed that such a phenomenon may occur in alloys which reveal an upward solutal buoyancy in the interdendritic mush. This would include certain steels and other alloys such as Cu-Al, Pb-Sn, or Ni-Al-alloys. Moreover, the occurrence of crystal avalanches contribute to the formation of V-segregations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2927-2931
Number of pages5
JournalMetallurgical and Materials Transactions A: Physical Metallurgy and Materials Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2017

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