Metal casting: improving aluminum

Aluminum is a common material used in the creation of many products. It is a metal, often used to make things such as kitchen utensils, cans, and even parts for aeroplanes. This material already has properties that allow it to be useful in such products, however, there are ways to improve upon the properties even further. On Tuesday, Mar. 10, Michigan Tech will be hosting a seminar discussing a specific method to improve the quality of aluminum.
This presentation will be given from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m on campus. It will take place in room 610 of the Minerals and Materials Engineering Building. There, Carl Soderhjelm will be presenting his research on aluminum casting. This process uses heated aluminum and other alloys in its liquid form to affect its qualities and allow it to be molded into specific shapes. Soderhjelm has been researching this process, and ways to potentially improve it further.
This presentation will focus on a specific aspect of his research, which investigates the process of strategically placing ferrous inserts into cast aluminum to improve its properties such as wear resistance and stiffness. By taking advantage of the solidification of aluminum during the casting process, producing aluminum with these inserts can be made quite cost-effective. This could allow the inserts to be joined with the aluminum as it solidifies.
Even if this method is cost-effective, other issues can arise. Throughout the solidification process, there are many factors that add stress to the metal and can create flaws in the final product. As a result, the steel must have a strong bond with the aluminum to be able to withstand these stresses. Soderhjelm will elaborate further on these stresses, and how they can affect this process within his presentation.
For any students staying on campus during spring break, this would be an interesting way to continue learning more about what technological advances are being made. By applying new processes in aluminum casting, we can improve its functionality in products created using this material. This seminar is open to all students and staff on campus, for anyone interested in learning more.