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2012, Brno, Czech Republic, EU

CHARACTERIZATION OF MICROSTRUCTURE AND FRACTURE BEHAVIOR OF GG20 AND GG25 CAST IRON MATERIALS USED IN VALVES Zeynep TALIUKUR*, Gzde S. ALTU*, eyda POLAT**, . Hakan ATAPEK**, Enbiya TRED**
*) Gedik University, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Istanbul-Turkey ztasli@gmail.com , gsultan.altug@gmail.com **) Kocaeli University, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Kocaeli-Turkey seyda@kocaeli.edu.tr, hatapek@kocaeli.edu.tr, enbiya.turedi@kocaeli.edu.tr

Abstract In this study, the microstructural characterization of GG20 and GG25 gray cast iron materials were carried out and their fracture behavior was examined. These materials are commonly used in high pressure safety valves. In the first stage of the study, the matrix phases (ferrite/pearlite) were determined in addition to the morphology and distribution of graphite, using light microscope and scanning electron microscope. Image analysis was done to obtain the amount of graphite which plays an important role on fracture. In the second stage, microhardness measurements, tensile tests and Charpy impact tests at room temperature were performed to determine the mechanical properties of the matrices. In the third stage fractographic analysis was carried out on the fracture surfaces, using scanning electron microscope to indicate the effects of matrix phase, loading type and test temperature on the fracture behavior. Keywords : Gray cast iron, characterization, mechanical properties, fractographic analysis. 1. INTRODUCTION

Gray cast iron is an attractive material used in industrial applications due to its some advantageous properties such as good castability, corrosion resistance, machinability, low melting point, low cost, and high damping capacity. It is used widely in the manufacturing of some machine components, disc brake rotors and hydraulic valves [1-7]. Graphite flakes, which are formed during the solidification process, basically control the mechanical properties and confer low strength and toughness to the gray cast iron. The microstructure of gray cast iron is characterized by graphite lamellas dispersed in the ferrous matrix. The amount of graphite and size, morphology and distribution of graphite lamellas are critical in determining the mechanical behavior [1, 4, 6, 8, 9]. The high damping capacity of gray cast iron, which is considerably greater than that of the steel or other kinds of cast iron, may be attributed to its flake graphite structure [10]. In this study, the microstructural characterization of GG20 and GG25 cast iron materials used in valves was carried out. A fractographic analysis was also done to determine fracture behavior of the matrix as function of ferrite, pearlite and graphite distribution under tensile and impact loading. 2. 2.1 EXPERIMENTAL STUDY Materials

In grey cast iron, which is also known as flake graphite cast iron, most of the carbon is present as flake graphite. The properties of grey cast iron depend on the distribution, size and amount of graphite flakes, and

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the matrix structure. Tab. 1 shows the standard chemical compositions of cast iron materials used in this study. Table 1. The standard chemical compositions of GG20 and GG25 cast iron materials. Materials GG20 GG25 2.2 C 3.20-3.40 3.00-3.25 Si 2.10-2.30 1.85-2.10 Mn 0.50-0.80 0.40-0.70 S max. 0.12 max. 0.12 P max. 0.40 max. 0.25 Fe balance balance

Mechanical tests

In order to determine the mechanical properties of cast iron samples, hardness measurement, tensile and notched impact tests were carried out. Hardness values of the materials were obtained by macro Vickers hardness tester as HV10. Tensile and notched impact tests were carried out at room temperature according to TS 138 EN 10002-1 and TS EN 10045-1 standards, respectively. All the mechanical data obtained are listed in Tab. 2. Table 2. The mechanical properties of cast iron materials. Materials GG20 GG25 2.3 Tensile strength, MPa 162 123 Hardness, HV10 187 159 Impact toughness, J/mm 7.2 7.8
2

Metallographic sample preparation and microscopic examinations

All samples for the microstructural characterization were prepared by grinding with 320, 600 and 1000 mesh size SiC abrasives, respectively and then ground surfaces were polished using 3 m diamond solution. Etching was carried out with nital (% 3 HNO3) in order to determine the phases within the matrix. Zeiss Axiotech 100 light microscope (LM) and Jeol JSM 6060 scanning electron microscope (SEM) were used for metallographic examinations. SEM was used for fractographic analysis as well. 2.4 Image analysis

Leica QWin software package was used to determine the amount of graphite by means of image analysis. The average and standard deviation values of this spacing were calculated from at least 60 measurements on images of etched specimen surfaces. 3. 3.1 RESULTS Microstructural characterization

Figure 1 shows the microstructure of polished and etched cast iron materials. The flakes in dark contrast are clearly seen in the polished matrices (Fig. 1a and c). The flakes can be broken during grinding due to the contact with abrasives which are harder and polished microstructures exhibit globular/semi-globular regions indicating the dropped ones. The matrices of GG20 and GG25 materials have typical pearlitic structure which is a common phase for grey cast iron family (Fig. 1b and d). Its lamellar structure and amount affect the mechanical properties of the material. As the distance between the lamellas in the pearlite decreases the mechanical properties of material increase. An increase in the amount of this phase also causes an increase in the mechanical properties. The amount of carbon has an important role on the formation of pearlite and GG20 has a higher carbon concentration giving higher mechanical properties.

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(a)

(b)

(d) (c) Figure 1. As polished (a and c) and etched (b and d) microstructures of cast iron materials; (a and b) GG20, (c and d) GG25. Both of the materials have flake graphites in pearlitic matrix. 3.2 Graphite distribution

All gray cast irons contain flake graphite dispersed in a silicon-iron matrix. Amount of the graphite, its distribution in the matrix and length of the flakes directly influence the properties of the iron. The basic strength and hardness of the iron are provided by the metallic matrix. Graphite has little strength or hardness and it decreases these properties of the metallic matrix. Image analysis shows that GG20 material has 8.676 % graphite in its matrix and GG25 material has only 7.483 %. Figure 2 shows selected ones for the measurement. The amount of graphite in GG20 material is higher than GG25 due to the higher carbon content in its composition.

(a) (b) Figure 2. The microstructures showing the amount of graphite in (a) GG20 and (b) GG25 materials.

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3.3

Mechanical properties

The microstructure of grey cast iron is characterized by graphite lamellas dispersed into the ferrous matrix. Foundry practice influences the nucleation and growth of graphite flakes, thus their size and type may enhance the desired properties. The amount of graphite and size, morphology and distribution of graphite lamellas are critical in determining the mechanical behavior of grey cast iron [1]. For a given pearlitic matrix, three concepts must be clarified to understand the matrix strengthening. Carbon is the major element for interstitial strengthening mechanism in ferrous based materials. An increase in the amount of carbon causes the development of the mechanical properties (hardness, strength, not toughness) of the matrix. On the other hand, a fully pearlitic matrix can be assumed as a precipitation hardened matrix having ferrite and cementite phases in lamellar morphology. As it is well known from the principles of physical metallurgy, the strength of pearlite strongly depends on its interlamellar spacing. As the spacing decreases the strength (hardness) of the matrix increases. The mechanical properties of GG20 and GG25 cast iron materials are given in Tab. 2. In fact, all these concepts simply indicate why the mechanical properties of GG20 cast iron is higher than those of GG25 cast iron. Higher carbon results in higher hardness and strength in the matrix, however, impact toughness values indicate the inverse correlation. This is possibly due to the effect of higher graphite amount in GG20 (Fig. 2). 3.4 Fractographic analysis

Hornbogen reported that the mechanical properties and also fracture behavior of grey cast irons have captured attention due to two points of view; (i) in the case of sufficient toughness some cast irons will compete successfully with steels and (ii) grey cast irons may serve as model materials due to their microstructure consisting of metallic matrix with graphite which provides quasi-holes of different sizes, shape and volume fraction [11]. Bradley et al. studied the fracture behavior of different types of cast irons: namely, grey, white, ductile, malleable and compacted graphite (vermicular) cast irons and reported that the fracture behavior and the fracture toughness of mentioned cast irons depend on the graphite morphology as well as the matrix microstructure [12]. Gonzaga et al. investigated the dependency of mechanical properties on the pearlite content of ductile irons and concluded that (i) a mixture of ferrite and pearlite or a full pearlitic microstructure with good mechanical properties can be obtained, (ii) the higher hardness values appear in the cast iron having 100% pearlite, (iii) pearlite hardens the matrix but elongation is lowered while the tensile strength is increased as consequence of increasing pearlite [13]. The crack formation and propagation result in failure for a given material under loading. The secondary phases having microvoids with their matrix are commonly responsible for the crack formation/propagation. Fig. 3 shows the weak bonding between graphite and pearlitic matrix and there are several microvoids surrounding the graphite. Bertolino et al. reported that lamellar grey cast iron presents a non-lineal loaddisplacement record. This macroscopic behaviour has originated from the complex microstructure of these materials that are formed by two phases (metallic matrix with distributed graphite lamellaes) that induce a non-uniform distribution of stresses. The graphite lamellaes act as stress raisers producing self microcracking, or interface debonding at very low stress levels and plastic deformation in the matrix. As a consequence, the deformation mode of this type of material containing a crack, notch or defect has to be characterized by the presence of a damaged region ahead the notch formed by a network of microcracks. The propagation of a macroscopic crack will result from the coalescence of these microcracks together with the matrix plastic deformation that surrounds the microcracks [14]. The tensile fracture surfaces of experimental cast irons are given in Fig. 4 and they exhibit typical cleavage fracture. For a cast iron having fully pearlitic matrix in addition to graphite, cleavage rupture is the dominant fracture under tensile loading. The fracture of flake graphite cast iron mainly goes through the graphite matrix interface and the inside of the graphite [15]. The effect of flake on the decohesion is simply illustrated in Fig. 5. All fracture surfaces in Fig. 5 exhibit cleavage type fracture indicating that there is no significant plastic deformation under loading.

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(a) (b) Figure 3. The interfaces between graphite and matrix having microvoids; (a) GG20 and (b) GG25 materials.

(a) (b) Figure 4. Tensile fracture surfaces of (a) GG20 and (b) GG25 materials.

(a)

(b)

(c) (d) Figure 5. Impact fracture surfaces of (a and b) GG20 and (c and d) GG25 materials.

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4.

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, the microstructural characterization of GG20 and GG25 gray cast iron materials were carried out and their fracture behavior was examined. The results are given as follows; (i) Both GG20 and GG25 cast iron have pearlitic matrix having graphite flakes and image analysis showed that GG20 material has higher graphite due to higher carbon content. (ii) Carbon content, interlamellar spacing and also precipitated matrix directly affect the mechanical properties of a given pearlitic matrix. GG20 cast iron has higher hardness and strength values than that of GG25 cast iron. However, impact toughness of GG25 material is higher than that of GG20 due to low amount of the graphite in its matrix. Fractographic analysis showed that cast irons exhibited similar fracture surfaces after tensile/impact loading. Cleavage rupture is the dominant fracture type and there is no indication of plastic deformation. ACKNOWLEDGMENT The authors wish to acknowledge Gedik Casting & Valve Inc. within the Gedik Group for their support in mechanical tests. REFERENCES
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