Production and characterization of kiln cast composite alloys

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The aim of this study is to develop a technique by which wear-resistant steel parts may be created in both a cost effective and energy efficient manner. Manufacture of such items has previously been carried out by techniques such as hardfacing. However hardfacing is generally expensive and time intensive, can only create relatively thin wear layers (meaning they have to be replaced regularly) and can only be used to coat relatively simple geometric shapes. As another example, the O₂ Block™ kiln casting technique whereby a molten white iron is cast directly onto a solid steel substrate in a vacuum furnace has been utilised successfully but requires the process to be conducted in a vacuum furnace. This is quite expensive and slows the production of parts due to the need to pump down the furnace after inserting the part to be cast. This extended procedure also consumes more energy with the furnace cooling and subsequently requiring to be reheated between each cycle. In the present project I seek to develop the above casting technique further, with the specific objective of finding a means to carry out the production of composite wear-resistant steel parts in a standard or protective atmosphere. To achieve this aim I needed to elucidate the mechanisms by which joining is obtained in this technique.
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