A versatile material. Find out whether cast iron is suitable for your project.
Grey cast iron or lamellar cast iron is an iron alloy with typically 3 to 4% carbon. The carbon is present in the structure as graphite laminates.
It is relatively cheap to produce and is easy to process. Due to the shape of the graphite fins, grey cast iron has the property of dampening noise as well as vibrations and conducting heat. Grey cast iron is rather brittle compared to ductile cast iron and steel. The rather low tensile strength is compensated by a very good compresssion strength.
Grey cast iron can also be alloyed with Nickel. Ni-resist is suitable for corrosive environments.
Ductile iron is characterized by the spheroidal graphite or nodules. By adding magnesium in the melt, the graphite solidifies in this way.
Nodular cast iron has much better mechanical properties than grey cast iron. In some applications it can be used as an alternative to steel.
There are also some specific types of ductile iron known by the following names:
The carbon occurs in the form of "exploded" graphite. It is in fact 'failed' ductile iron. It combines good thermal conductivity properties of lamellar cast iron with higher tensile strengths. The disadvantage is that the production process has to be followed very precisely in order to obtain the right quality.
In white cast iron, the graphite is not freely present in the solidified state due to rapid cooling or due to an addition in the alloy. Together with iron, the carbon forms needle-shaped structures called carbides. These structures are detrimental to the mechanical properties. White cast iron is very hard, wear-resistant, but also very brittle.
White cast iron is almost exclusively used when high resistance to abrasive wear is required. For example dredging pumps, wear plates...
Ni-hard alloys are also part of the so called white cast irons. These alloys are strongly alloyed with Ni, Cr and Mo. Hardness 60 upto 65 HRC can be achieved.
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