Recent research on the interactions between alloy chemistry, microstructure and performance in die-casting alloys was funded by a $500,000 grant from the Department of Energy and overseen by the Cast Metal Coalition and the North American Die Casting Association (NADCA). The work culminated in the book Microstructures and Properties of Aluminum Die Casting Alloys, published by NADCA.
ACRC was established in 1984 under the name Aluminum Casting Research Laboratory (ACRL) at a time when university research was mostly funded through the defense sector of the federal government, and when industry-university alliances were quite uncommon. Ray H. Witt, president of CMI International Inc. (now Hayes-Lemmerz), and a group of industry leaders encouraged the faculty and helped establish the center.
The membership of the consortium spans a broad spectrum of the casting industry. In addition to aluminum, the Casting Center has a focused program on SSM (Semi Solid Metals Processing) technologies and magnesium. Between 1996 and 2000, MPI housed the Consortium for Semi Solid Metal Processing (SSMC) which was consolidated with the Aluminum Casting Research Laboratory (ACRL) in the Fall of 2000. The Casting Center at MPI is dedicated to expanding the metal casting knowledge base of light metals.
The Casting Center provides a forum where primary and secondary producers of aluminum and light metals, casters from various sectors of the industry, foundry suppliers, and end users come together on campus to discuss the research needed to establish the knowledge base, as well as the educational issues facing the industrial sector.
Faculty members associated with ACRC are Makhlouf Makhlouf and Diran Apelian. Affiliated faculty members Reinhold Ludwig, Andreas Alexandrou (University of Cyprus), Weidong Huang (Northwestern Polytechnical University), Lars Arnberg (NTNU, Norway), and Srinath Viswanathan (University of Alabama) are also associated with the Center.
The Center performs basic and developmental research relevant to the industry. The research staff concentrates on several projects at a time (precompetitive and fundamental projects) funded by the Consortium Members. In addition, the Center conducts projects funded by the Department of Energy, AMC, ATP, etc. These complement the research agenda of the Casting Center.
The nature of the precompetitive fundamental projects carried out by ACRC staff members and students include the following:
- Operating Mechanisms During Dynamic Loading of Al Cast Components
- Evolution of the Eutectic Microstructure During Solidification of Hypoeutectic Aluminum Silicon Alloys
- Microstructure Evolution in Magnesium Cast Alloys
- Optimization of Heat Treatment Using Fluidized Bed Reactors
A detailed description of these projects can be found under Research Programs.
ACRC also performs company-specific and proprietary research when appropriate.
ACRC is active and aggressive in securing outside funding to complement the research agenda. As an example, in 1997, ACRC received a $2.8 million cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct a five-year research project on clean metal processing. The project focused on aluminum and aluminum alloys. In 2000, ACRC was awarded $238,000 by the American Metalcasting Consortium (AMC) to fund a three-year project on the "Development of an Electronic Data Base for Rapid Selection of Aluminum Die Casting Alloys". In 2001, ACRC was awarded $1.4 million by the DOE-CAST Metal Coalition to study "Low Cost and Energy Efficient Methods for the Manufacture of (SSM) Feedstock. In 2005-06, ACRC was awarded funding for the following projects:
- Low-Cost Semi-Solid Processing of Copper Alloys using the Continuous Rheoconversion Process (CRP)
- High Integrity Magnesium Auto Castings
- Copper Based Casting Technology
- High Performance Die Casting Alloys
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Last modified: August 11, 2008 11:37:08