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Aluminum Division: growth through technology transfer.

During the last 10 years, the need for lighter materials has resulted in a dramatic growth in the aluminum casting industry. With this increase in production and expanded uses for aluminum alloys has come a renewed interest in basic and advanced aluminum technology. The direct measure of this interest can be seen in record attendance at the Aluminum Div technical sessions at the Casting Congress and other past conferences. It becomes more apparent with each succeeding function that the current growth of activities in the division is stimulated through the transfer of technology to our industry. The Aluminum Div acts as the catalyst for such topics as structure control through computerized thermal analysis, improved casting quality and properties, and expanding casting markets. Its mission is to continue to identify and address the technical needs of the producers and users of aluminum castings through timely investigation and dissemination of new developments. This will assist in the continuous improvement of goods and services that members of the aluminum casting community can offer their customers. The Aluminum Div has two permanent standing committees: the Executive Committee and the Program and Papers Committee. Special committees address specific current issues.

The Executive Committee plans, organizes and administers the divisional programs. This committee includes the elected officers, the chairmen of the special committees and several at-large members who are recognized strong supporters of the Division's mission.

The Program and Papers Committee is responsible for organizing the Division's technical program for each AFS Casting Congress. Record attendance figures and the recent Howard Taylor Awards are testimony to the hard work and success of this committee.

The Research Committee initiates and monitors projects targeted toward broad-based improvements in aluminum technology. The recently published "Solidification Characteristics of Aluminum Alloys, Vol. 2: Foundry Alloys," and accompanying software, will be the basis of a new aluminum casting alloy metallurgy course to be taught by CMI staff. Results of this project already have proved beneficial in other AFS-sponsored projects such as one on shrinkage prediction in progress at the Univ of Alabama.

A project relating the interdependence of oxides to shrinkage is being funded at the Aluminum Casting Research Lab at Worcester Polytechnical Institute. Also proposed is a shop floor method for oxide/cleanliness determination. An aluminum research plan coordinating longrange projects also has been established. The basic tasks outlined in this plan include topics that should assist in improved melt efficiency, melt recovery, metal quality, heat treatment optimization and reduction in product costs. The Premium Casting Committee represents a unique blend of producers and users of premium castings. This committee compiles and disseminates information regarding the design, specification and production of premium strength castings. Its work relates the methods used in determining the durability and damage tolerance of cast structures through various test methods. A design manual for premium castings is being developed. The Permanent Mold Practices Committee addresses the practical needs of permanent mold foundries. It assisted in sponsoring a successful symposium recently and is developing another aimed at automotive permanent mold practices, scheduled for fall 1991. Current projects include development of a mold material selection table, possible research topics concerning mold/core/metal interaction and videotapes for training. The Molten Metal Processing Committee is directing efforts at shop floor testing techniques for inclusion/oxide sampling and evaluation along with a basic understanding of current practices for hydrogen gas level controls. Efforts continue to be focused on improving quality of the melt, reducing metal-related scrap and economical treatment practices. The Casting Properties Committee is assembling case history information on the properties of aluminum castings in support of the needs of various specification writing agencies. The Permanent Mold Handbook Committee is in the editorial review process for its handbook. No such publication is available in the English language. The Aluminum Div recognizes the achievements and services of its key members at an annual Aluminum Award Reception. Last year's reception functioned as the kickoff for CastExpo '90. Award recipients were Ray Witt, CMI International; Tom Hurley, Bodine Aluminum; and Diran Apelian, Worcester Polytechnical Institute. As the Aluminum Div strives to meet the needs of an expanding industry, it continues to look to its members for direction, support and participation. Those interested in getting involved in the division's activities should contact Thomas Prucha through AFS.
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Title Annotation:American Foundrymen's Society Aluminum Division
Author:Prucha, Thomas E.
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Dec 1, 1990
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