A novel process for manufacturing complex shaped Fe-Al intermetallic parts resistant to extreme environments

The project

The Equinox Project 6M Meeting

imdea materials 12/13 September 2016

Madrid, Spain

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The Equinox Project Consortium

imdea materials 12/13 September 2016

Madrid, Spain

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The Equinox Project Research

a glance to a laboratory

TUL and Dr Kochanek Entwicklungsgeselschaft (KE)

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The Equinox Project

The main objective of EQUINOX is to develop a novel process that allows to substitute Cr/Ni based (stainless) steel parts used
in high volume end consumer products such as in the lock industry.

Background

After World War II some east European countries were facing severe problems to buy Cr and shortage Ni on the free market to cover their needs for stainless steel production and materials for high temperature using. To overcome this shortage Russia and Czech Republic initiated a strong partnership in the 50s between national research institutions, universities and local industry to develop low cost alternatives for heat resistant cast iron and stainless steel alloys based on intermetallics casted from accessible and cheap Iron, Aluminium and Carbon. These efforts result in the past in the materials such as Thermagal© Tchugal© and Pyroferal©. Pyroferal© offered quite impressive results on high temperature corrosion resistance. It was tested against various severe conditions, such as air atmosphere, vanadium pentoxide, molten glass, carburization, nitration and the atmosphere of the natural gas cracking generators. Though Pyroferal© was manufactured only by casting, welding was the important procedure not only to produce complicated shapes, but also to repair the faults in casts. Unfortunately, the practical use of these materials was limited due to various problems. These problems related to instability and welding could not be overcome by state of the art in material science at that time. In the 60s, access to Chromium was no problem any longer and the dust of history covered the knowhow on (pre-) industrial use of FeAl. But things may change again. Chromium and Nickel are listed in the table of CRMs with a current projected lifetime of 25 - 100 years. EQUINOX tries to blow away the dust of history from this early work on FeAl, aiming to combine latest state of the art in intermetallic metallurgy to overcome the problems that our ancestors were facing when they failed to translate.


There is a need to find solutions to replace Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) such as Chromium, Nickel, Molybdenium and Vanadium in high volume end consumer products. Steels and superalloys with considerable amounts of these CRMs are widely used in many industrial applications, particularly under extreme conditions where corrosion and wear resistance are needed. It is generally accepted, that intermetallics in particular low cost FeAl offer outstanding material properties. Unfortunately it is difficult to translate their properties to real products, as intermetallics suffer from low ductility at ambient temperature and poor machinability. The impact of FeAl intermetallics as a low cost Cr-free alternative for stainless steel would therefore be much higher if a cost effective industrial process would be available, that allows to manufacture complex 3-D geometries of almost unlimited shapes from small grain size (0.1-5 µm) high ductility material. The main objective of EQUINOX is to develop a novel process that allows to substitute Cr/Ni based (stainless) steel parts used in high volume end consumer products such as in the lock industry, electronics, process industry and automotive industry with a novel near net shape production technology for a new class of highly advanced ductile Fe-Al based intermetallics. Ductility at low to medium temperatures, while maintaining good tensile strength and optimum level of residual stress will be based on a radical new production process that use abundant raw material Fe3O4 and Al2O3.


Main objective: A novel near net shape production technology that allows to substitute stainless steel parts in high volume end consumer markets by a new class of CRM-free, ductile Fe-Al based intermetallics.

Picture1. The answer on shortage of Chromium and Nickel in Czechoslovakia in the late 50s;Carburization chamber casted from FeAl(C) based alloy.

Picture2. Ductility versus grain size of FeAl based upon various production technologies.

Specific objective 1: To produce extremely fine grained FeAl-Material with high ductility via reactive infiltration of porous iron preforms with liquid Aluminium.
Specific objective 2: To understand how ultrafine particle based porous iron structures of complex 3D-shape may be tailored to be used as optimized preforms
for reactive infiltration of liquid Al-alloys.
Specific objective 3: To develop a reactive infiltration process by using two different techniques: suction and centrifugal casting.
Specific objective 4: To simulate reactive infiltration process by physically based multi-scale models based on StarCast and MICRESS.
Specific objective 5: To optimize mechanical properties of EQUINOX material with respect to microstructure based on process conditions and consecutive heat treatment.
Specific objective 6: To scale up the process from lab to small pilot plant with respect to the industrial needs.
Specific objective 8: To transfer the concept to at least one real demonstrator which will be tested for high corrosion and wear resistance.
Specific objective 9: To evaluate the industrial impact of EQUINOX-concept with respect to economic as well as technical aspects.

Picture3. Basic principle of EQUINOX-process.

EQUINOX tries to blow away the dust of history from this early work on FeAl,
aiming to combine state of the art in intermetallic metallurgy so as to overcome the problems that our ancestors
were facing having failed to translate the unique corrosion and wear properties of FeAl into a low cost Cr/Ni-free alternative for stainless steel products

Picture: SLM_68_AR_section_5k. SLM sample in state "as received" and after Gleeble testing for determination of thermal expansion. Source: Pavel Hanus.

Picture 4. Partners of EQUINOX project

Partners of EQUINOX project.

It is obvious that the impact of FeAl as a low cost Cr-free alternative for stainless steel would be much higher if a cost effective process would be available, one that allows to manufacture complex 3-D geometries of almost unlimited shapes from small grain size material at high volumes. Today this process is obviously missing as outlined earlier. For this reason EQUINOX has invited some of the most advanced groups on intermetallics from Spain, Germany and Czech Republic under the external advisory of Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH which has an outstanding tradition of more than 40 years in that field. EQUINOX will combine the sound expertise of these R&D-partners with the market push of outstanding industrial players in the field of process technology. Following this, EQUINOX addresses a special sector of a huge market in the first run, the impact of which will be multiplied by entering other sectors through a sound D&E-strategy in a later stage. More about partners....

1st - EQUINOX - Project Kick-Off meeting
February 2016.

Equinox project Kick-Off meeting. Date: Tuesday, 16/2/2016. Venue: National Technical University of Athens, Greece.

HORIZON- 2020

The EQUINOX is supported by Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

Newsletter

The first newsletter has been released

PMS

EQUINOX Project Management

Project Progress.

The progress of project during time.

Project News and Events

EQUINOX Project News and Events.

Project intranet

EQUINOX Project Intranet.

Project Deliverables

EQUINOX Project Deliverables.

By substituting critical Chromium, Nickel (and Molybdenium) based stainless steel products with abundant iron and Aluminium based intermetallics, EQUINOX well addresses the intention of the Call “to develop innovative and sustainable solutions for the appropriate substitution of critical and scarce raw materials in applications under extreme conditions”

Picture: SLM_68_GLEEBLE_cte_section_0.5k. SLM sample in state "as received" and after Gleeble testing for determination of thermal expansion. Source: Pavel Hanus.

The Equinox Partners


The project brings together 11 partners from nine European states.

The Equinox Time schedule


A NOVEL PROCESS FOR MANUFACTURING COMPLEX SHAPED FE-AL INTERMETALLIC PARTS RESISTANT TO EXTREME ENVIRONMENTS

WORK PLAN —WORK PACKAGES

Picture 5. The Equinox-project Time schedule. The Gantt Chart.

Objectives:

Providing optimized porous preforms of complex 3D-shape for further infiltration with liquid Al-alloys. The following parameters will be varied with respect to meet optimal results for infiltration and final product: pore size, particle size, free volume of pores, bulk and surface chemistry of the particles as well as micro- and macrostructure of the body. The optimization strategy will be supported by the theoretical modelling of thermodynamic as well as flow simulation (WP3).

Objectives:

The main objective is to develop a reactive infiltration process with and without the application of pressure. Presureless infiltration will be performed by drop casting and immersion method; while pressure assisted methods will include suction and centrifugal casting. Also, influence of the preform features on the infiltration process will be determined and the reactivity control will be established. Finally melt flow modelling will be carried out. The specific objectives are:

  • Intake of information from TUL about structure of the preforms produced in WP1 by KE
  • Evaluate the feasibility of pressureless reactive infiltration
  • Perform and optimize reactive infiltration by suction casting
  • Perform and optimize reactive infiltration by centrifugal casting
  • Achieve reactivity control
  • Develop a melt flow model

The Project progress


Equinox progress-TUL

Photos from TUL laboratories

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Equinox progress-Dr kochanek

Photos from Dr Kochanek Entwicklungsgeselschaft (KE) laboratories.

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The Equinox Deliverables


There is a need to find solutions to replace Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) such as Chromium, Nickel, Molybdenium and Vanadium in high volume end consumer products. Steels and superalloys with considerable amounts of these CRMs are widely used in many industrial applications, particularly under extreme conditions where corrosion and wear resistance are needed. It is generally accepted, that intermetallics in particular low cost FeAl offer outstanding material properties. Unfortunately it is difficult to translate their properties to real products, as intermetallics suffer from low ductility at ambient temperature and poor machinability. The impact of FeAl intermetallics as a low cost Cr-free alternative for stainless steel would therefore be much higher if a cost effective industrial process would be available, that allows to manufacture complex 3-D geometries of almost unlimited shapes from small grain size (0.1-5 µm) high ductility material. The main objective of EQUINOX is to develop a novel process that allows to substitute Cr/Ni based (stainless) steel parts used in high volume end consumer products such as in the lock industry, electronics, process industry and automotive industry with a novel near net shape production technology for a new class of highly advanced ductile Fe-Al based intermetallics. Ductility at low to medium temperatures, while maintaining good tensile strength and optimum level of residual stress will be based on a radical new production process that use abundant raw material Fe3O4 and Al2O3.

The Equinox Newsletter


Volume 1

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The Equinox Press releases


Nanolab News

R-NANO Actions-Projects .

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The Equinox Project in Madrid

imdea materials 12/13 September 2016

Partners of project

The Equinox Events


Equinox Kick-Off meeting

Equinox project Kick-Off meeting. Date: Tuesday, 16/2/2016. Venue: National Technical University of Athens, Greece.

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EU-Advanced mining countries RMD event 2016

Equinox consortium took part, after invitation from the EC, to the event EU-Advanced mining countries RMD event 2016.

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Equinox 6M meeting

Equinox project 6M meeting. Date: 12th and 13th September 2016. Venue: IMDEA Materials Institute, Madrid, Spain.

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EIT RawMaterials

1st Greek Raw Materials Community Dialogue 23 - 24 November 2016.

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Growth Raw Materials Week

Raw Materials Week.

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The EquinoxContact


Costas A. Charitidis Professor,
NTUA Ethics Committee Representative
Director of Material Science and Engineering Department
National Technical University of Athens
School of Chemical Engineering

9 Heroon Polytechniou St., Zographos,
Athens, Greece GR-157 73

charitidis@chemeng.ntua.gr

Tel. 0030-210-772-4046

Fax: 0030-210-772-2339

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