Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 662-672

First online:

A Comparison of Columnar-to-Equiaxed Transition Prediction Methods Using Simulation of the Growing Columnar Front

  • S. McFaddenAffiliated withSchool of Electrical, Electronic, and Mechanical Engineering, University College Dublin Email author 
  • , D.J. BrowneAffiliated withSchool of Electrical, Electronic, and Mechanical Engineering, University College Dublin
  • , Ch.-A. GandinAffiliated withCEMEF - UMR CNRS 7635, MINES ParisTech

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In this article, the columnar-to-equiaxed transition (CET) in directionally solidified castings is investigated. Three CET prediction methods from the literature that use a simulation of the growing columnar front are compared to the experimental results, for a range of Al-Si alloys: Al-3 wt pct Si, Al-7 wt pct Si, and Al-11 wt pct Si. The three CET prediction methods are the constrained-to-unconstrained criterion, the critical cooling rate criterion, and the equiaxed index criterion. These methods are termed indirect methods, because no information is required for modeling the equiaxed nucleation and growth; only the columnar solidification is modeled. A two-dimensional (2-D) front-tracking model of columnar growth is used to compare each criterion applied to each alloy. The constrained-to-unconstrained criterion and a peak equiaxed index criterion agree well with each other and some agreement is found with the experimental findings. For the critical cooling rate criterion, a minimum value for the cooling rate (between 0.07 and 0.11 K/s) is found to occur close to the CET position. However, this range of values differs from those cited in the literature (0.15 to 0.16 K/s), leading to a considerable difference in the prediction of the CET positions. A reason for this discrepancy is suggested, based on the fundamental differences in the modeling approaches.