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MICROSTRUCTURE STUDY OF FERROUS AND NON FERROUS ALLOYS UNDER

VARIOUS COMPOSITIONS AND HEAT TREATMENT CONDITIONS

ABSTRACT
This experiment in material science laboratory was carried out in order to teach the
differences between ferrous and non ferrous alloys from metallurgical aspect. Student will be
able understand the phase diagram of iron-carbon and non ferrous alloys system that enables for
heat treating and procedures in heat treatment. Moreover, student will be able to describe the
principle of engineering properties in material science and industrial application of ferrous and
non ferrous alloys.
OBJECTIVES
Upon completion of this experiment, students should be able to;
1. Understand the differences between ferrous and non-ferrous alloys from the
metallurgical point of view.
2. Understand the phase diagram of iron-carbon and non ferrous alloys systems that
enables for heat treating and procedures in heat treatment involved
3. Describe the principal engineering properties and industrial application of ferrous
and nonferrous alloys.
4.
INTRODUCTION
Metal have the certain properties that can be changed or controlled by different processes
such as ; strain hardening or cold working, alloying process and heat treatment. This process
related with the crystalline nature of metals. Metallurgy is subdivided into ferrous metallurgy
(sometimes also known as black metallurgy) and non-ferrous metallurgy or colored metallurgy.
Ferrous metallurgy involves processes and alloys based on iron while non-ferrous metallurgy
involves processes and alloys based on other metals. The production of ferrous metals accounts
for 95 percent of world metal production.
Steels are alloys of iron and other elements, primarily carbon, widely used in construction
and other applications because of their high tensile strengths and low costs. Carbon, other
elements, and inclusions within iron act as hardening agents that prevent the movement of
dislocations that otherwise occur in the crystal lattices of iron atoms.
Heat treating is a group of industrial and metalworking processes used to alter the
physical, and sometimes chemical, properties of a material. Metallic materials consist of a
microstructure of small crystals called "grains" or crystallites. The nature of the grains (grain size
and composition) is one of the most effective factors that can determine the overall mechanical
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behavior of the metal. Heat treatment provides an efficient way to manipulate the properties of
the metal by controlling the rate of diffusion and the rate of cooling within the microstructure.
Heat treating is often used to alter the mechanical properties of a metallic alloy, manipulating
properties such as the hardness, strength, toughness, ductility, and elasticity.
In metallurgy, a non-ferrous metal is a metal which is not ferrous, including alloys, that
does not contain iron in appreciable amounts. Generally more expensive than ferrous metals,
non-ferrous metals are used because of desirable properties such as low weight (aluminiums),
higher conductivity (copper), non-magnetic property or resistance to corrosion (zinc). Some nonferrous materials are also used in the iron and steel industries. For example, bauxite is used as
flux for blast furnaces, while others such as wolframite, pyrolusite and chromites are used in
making ferrous alloys.

THEORY
The characteristics of ferrous metals
Ferrous metals include mild steel, carbon steel, stainless steel, cast iron, and wrought iron. These
metals are primarily used for their tensile strength and durability, especially mild steel which
helps hold up the tallest skyscrapers and the longest bridges in the world. Ferrous metals can also
find in housing construction, industrial containers, large-scale piping, automobiles, rails for
railroad and transportation, most of tools and hardware such the knives and other utensils at
home.
Due to the high amounts of carbon used when creating them, most ferrous metals and alloys are
vulnerable to rust when exposed to the elements. Most ferrous metals also have magnetic
properties, which makes them very useful in the creation of large motors and electrical
appliances. Most importantly, ferrous metals make up the most recycled materials in the world.
In 2008 alone, 1.3 billion tons of steel were produced, and 500 million tons of that was made
from scrap materials.
Steels
The carbon content of steel is between 0.002% and 2.1% by weight for plain iron-carbon alloys.
These values vary depending on alloying elements such as manganese, chromium, nickel, iron,
tungsten, carbon and so on. Basically, steel is an iron-carbon alloy that does not undergo eutectic
reaction. In contrast, cast iron does undergo eutectic reaction, suddenly solidifying into solid
phases at exactly the same temperature. Too little carbon content leaves (pure) iron quite soft,
ductile, and weak. Carbon contents higher than those of steel make an alloy, commonly called
pig iron that is brittle (not malleable). While iron alloyed with carbon is called carbon steel, alloy
steel is steel to which other alloying elements have been intentionally added to modify the
characteristics of steel. Common alloying elements include: manganese, nickel, chromium,
molybdenum, boron, titanium, vanadium, tungsten, cobalt, and niobium. Additional elements are
also important in steel: phosphorus, sulfur, silicon, and traces of oxygen, nitrogen, and copper.
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Alloys with a higher than 2.1% carbon content, depending on other element content and possibly
on processing, are known as cast iron. Cast iron is not malleable even when hot, but it can be
formed by casting as it has a lower melting point than steel and good cast ability properties.
Certain compositions of cast iron, while retaining the economies of melting and casting, can be
heat treated after casting to make malleable iron or ductile iron objects. Steel is also
distinguishable from wrought iron (now largely obsolete), which may contain a small amount of
carbon but large amounts of slag.

Low Carbon Steel Composition of 0.05%-0.25% carbon and up to 0.4% manganese.


Also known as mild steel, it is a low-cost material that is easy to shape. While not as hard
as higher-carbon steels, carburizing can increase its surface hardness.
Medium Carbon Steel Composition of 0.29%-0.54% carbon, with 0.60%-1.65%
manganese. Medium carbon steel is ductile and strong, with long-wearing properties.
High Carbon Steel Composition of 0.55%-0.95% carbon, with 0.30%-0.90%
manganese. It is very strong and holds shape memory well, making it ideal for springs
and wire.
Very High Carbon Steel - Composition of 0.96%-2.1% carbon. Its high carbon content
makes it an extremely strong material. Due to its brittleness, this grade requires special
handling.

Stainless Steel
The stainless steels are highly resistant to corrosion in a variety of environments, especially the
ambient atmosphere. Their predominant alloying element is chromium; a concentration of at
least 11 wt% Cr is required. Corrosion resistance may be enhanced by nickel and molybdenum
additions.
Stainless steels are divided into three classes which is:

Martensitic
Ferritic
Austenitic

Cast Iron
Cast iron is a group of iron-carbon alloys with carbon content greater than 2%. The alloy
constituents affect its color when fractured: white cast iron has carbide impurities which allow
cracks to pass straight through.
Gray Iron
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Gray iron is a hard brittle material with excellent damping characteristics and good mach
inability. This is due to graphite flakes which precipitate into the iron during solidification. The
carbon and silicon contents of gray cast irons vary between 2.5 wt% and 4.0 wt% and 1.0 wt%
and 3.0 wt%, respectively. A great thermal conductor with great wear resistance, gray iron is the
engineering alloy.
Ductile Iron
Adding a small amount of magnesium and cerium to the gray iron before casting produces a
distinctly different microstructure and set of mechanical properties Ductile Iron is a unique
engineering alloy that is similar to gray iron except that it is not brittle. The material is able to
flex and has more fatigue resistance than gray iron. These properties are a result of creating
graphite nodules instead of graphite flakes during solidification. Ductile iron boasts more
strength and flexibility than gray iron while also featuring impact resistance.

White Iron and Malleable Iron


For low-silicon cast irons which contains less than 1.0 wt% Si and rapid cooling rates, most of
the carbon exists as cementite instead of graphite. A fracture surface of this alloy has a white
appearance, and thus it is termed white cast iron. Generally, white iron is used as an intermediary
in the production of yet another cast iron, malleable iron.
Compacted Graphite Iron
A relatively recent addition to the family of cast irons is compacted graphite iron. As a gray,
ductile and malleable irons, carbon exists as graphite which formation is promoted by the
presence of silicon. Silicon content ranges between 1.7 wt% and 3.0 wt%, whereas carbon
concentration is normally between 3.1 wt% and 4.0 wt%.
The characteristics of non-ferrous metals
Non-ferrous metals include aluminum, brass, copper, nickel, tin, lead, and zinc, as well as
precious metals like gold and silver. While non-ferrous metals can provide strength, they are
primarily used where their differences from ferrous metals can provide an advantage.
For instance, non-ferrous metals are much more malleable than ferrous metals. Non-ferrous
metals are also much lighter, making them well-suited for use where strength is needed, but
weight is a factor, such as in the aircraft or canning industries. Because they contain no iron,
non-ferrous metals have a higher resistance to rust and corrosion, which is why youll find these
materials in use for gutters, water pipes, roofing, and road signs. Finally, they are also nonmagnetic, which makes them perfect for use in small electronics and as electrical wiring.

As far as recycling goes, aluminum is the third most recycled material in the world. However,
many other non-ferrous materials like copper, brass and lead are relatively scarce, and
metallurgists rely heavily on scrap material recycling to make new ones.

Copper Alloys
The similarity in external appearance of the various alloys, along with the different combinations
of elements used when making each alloy, can lead to confusion when categorizing the different
compositions. There are as many as 400 different copper and copper-alloy compositions loosely
grouped into the categories: copper, high copper alloy, brasses, bronzes, copper nickels, copper
nickelzinc (nickel silver), leaded copper, and special alloys. The following table lists the
principal alloying element for four of the more common types used in modern industry, along
with the name for each type.
Unalloyed copper is so soft and ductile that it is difficult to machine. It also has an almost
unlimited capacity to be cold work. Furthermore, it is highly resistant to corrosion in diverse
environments including the ambient atmosphere, sea water and some industrial chemicals. . Most
copper alloys cannot be hardened or strengthened by heat-treating procedures; consequently, cold
working and solid-solution alloying must be utilized to improve these mechanical properties.
Aluminium Alloys
Aluminium alloys are alloys in which aluminium (Al) is the predominant metal. The typical
alloying elements are copper, magnesium, manganese, silicon, tin and zinc. There are two
principal classifications, namely casting alloys and wrought alloys, both of which are further
subdivided into the categories heat-treatable and non-heat-treatable. About 85% of aluminium is
used for wrought products, for example rolled plate, foils and extrusions. Cast aluminium alloys
yield cost-effective products due to the low melting point, although they generally have lower
tensile strengths than wrought alloys. Aluminium alloys are characterized by a relatively low
density, high electrical and thermal conductivities and a resistance to corrosion in some common
environments including the ambient atmosphere. Many of these alloys are easily formed by
virtue of high ductility; this is evidenced by the thin aluminium foil sheet into which the
relatively pure material may be rolled. Since aluminium has an FCC crystal structure, its ductility
is retained even at very low temperature. The chief limitation of aluminium is its low melting
temperature, which restricts the maximum temperature at which it can be used.
Magnesium Alloys
Magnesium alloys are mixtures of magnesium with other metals (called an alloy), often
aluminum, zinc, manganese, silicon, copper, rare earths and zirconium. Magnesium is the
lightest structural metal. Magnesium alloys have a hexagonal lattice structure, which affects the
fundamental properties of these alloys. Plastic deformation of the hexagonal lattice is more
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complicated than in cubic latticed metals like aluminium, copper and steel. Perhaps the most
outstanding characteristic of magnesium is its density, 1.7g/cm3, which is the lowest of all the
structural metals; therefore, its alloys are used where light weight is an important consideration.
Magnesium has an HCP crystal structure, is relatively soft and has a low elastic modulus. At
room temperature magnesium and it alloys are difficult to deform. In fact only small degrees of
cold work may be imposed without annealing
Titanium Alloys
Titanium alloys are metals that contain a mixture of titanium and other chemical elements. Such
alloys have very high tensile strength and toughness (even at extreme temperatures). They are
light in weight, have extraordinary corrosion resistance and the ability to withstand extreme
temperatures. However, the high cost of both raw materials and processing limit their use to
military applications, aircraft, spacecraft, medical devices, highly stressed components such as
connecting rods on expensive sports cars and some premium sports equipment and consumer
electronics.
EXPERIMENTAL EQUIPMENT
Optical microscope

FERROUS ALLOY
SPECIMEN 1 (X17)
0.8% carbon steel, rolled bar, heated for 1 hour at 800C, furnace cooled (annealed) to room
temperature

SPECIMEN 2 (X18)
0.8% carbon steel, rolled bar, heated for 1 hour at 800C cooled in still air (normalized)

SPECIMEN 3 (X19) 0.35% carbon steel bar, furnace cooled from 870C

SPECIMEN 4 (X20) 6

1.3% carbon steel bar, furnace cooled from 970C

NONFERROUS ALLOY

SPECIMEN 5 (X12) Cu 58% / Zn 42%, reheated to 800C for 1 hour, furnace cooled to 600C and then water
quenched

SPECIMEN 6 (X13) Cu 58% / Zn 42%, reheated to 800C for 1 hour, furnace cooled to room temperature

SPECIMEN 7 (X14) Aluminium / 4% copper alloy, sand cast, heated at 525C for 16 hours and then water quenched

SPECIMEN 8 (X15) Aluminium / 4% copper alloy, sand cast, heated at 525C for 16 hours and then water quenched,
reheated at 260oC for 70 hours

EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE
Students were provided with 8 specimens, which have been heat treated under the following
conditions. Students were required to observe the microstructure under the optical microscope
and the data obtained were recorded.