Interest and challenges
Availability of cheap, low quality scrap materials is an opportunity to increase recycling of special scrap, to reduce raw material cost, and increase foundries robustness. Impurities from the raw material will lead to the formation of slag on the melt surface and on equipment walls. An improved control of the slag will reduce equipment degradation and maintenance cost. Recent developments in cast iron technology is not fully exploited by the offshore and engineering industry. Preliminary internal study showed that for some subsea welded components, cast iron could provide a faster route from design to casting, easier quality control, better properties and lower production cost.
Nevertheless, handling galvanized and high-alloyed scrap is quite challenging for two main reasons: Zn emissions during melting is an environmental and health issue and both Cr and Zn have detrimental effects on the microstructure (and hence on the final component properties). Higher impurity content and customized high-performance alloy will require the development of specialized foundry additives to maintain/enhance product quality. Reaching new market segment is also challenging, as there is a need to demonstrate advantages of the new solution while competing with established products. It will require applying the latest research in the context of industrial production.
To realize that potential, ACTIF consortium will develop new technological solutions for impurities removal and fumes control, new foundry additives and procedures to control the slag for standard ductile iron and for new high-performance cast iron components based on new alloys.
SINTEF will contribute to this project by providing:
- Lab-scale melting and casting experiments
- High resolution microscopy characterization
- Thermodynamic modelling
- Process and microstructure simulations
Partners in the project are: Elkem Foundry Products, Furnes Jernstøperi, Mandal Castings and Ulefos Jernværk.