Light Metals Facility

IFM houses a range of specialised equipment for the formation, testing and analysis of light metals.

300 ton horizontal extrusion press

Our 300-ton horizontal extrusion press is Australia's only large scale research-dedicated extrusion facility. 

We can develop new light metal alloys, metal-matrix composites, micro-truss structures and powder-base metals for structural and biomedical applications. This facility is a result of successful Australian Research Council LEIF grant.

Specifications:

  • Max ram speed of 27.5mm per second
  • Container can heat up to 400°C to maintain die temperature
  • Programmable like a commercial extruder 
  • Quench unit has powerful misting unit, which can control water and air mix
  • Three IR pyrometers, to measure billet, exit and post-quench temperatures
  • Two-meter long ageing oven

Melting Facility

IFM's metals research group has exceptional capabilities in the melting and casting of both ferrous and non-ferrous alloy systems.

Our facilities include various casting options as well as fully instrumented strip casting simulation equipment. Our casting facility is run by an experienced foundry operator supported by IFM central funding, as well as individual research grants.

Ferrous casting facilities

Dura-Line steel casting induction furnace (25kg)

The Dura-Line coreless induction furnace has a body constructed of heavy cast refractory, with stainless steel reinforcement. This furnace is tuned for melting ferrous alloys. The furnace is digitally controlled and signal processing is carried out by fibre-optic connectors.

  • Induction melting furnace, tuned for ferrous alloys
  • Up to 25kg capacity
  • Max. temperature > 1650°C
  • Alumina refractory lining
  • Casting options include chill mould, sand mould or furnace cooling
  • Alloying elements: Al, Si, Cr, C, Cu, Mn, Zr, Ni, Mo, Co, V, N, P, Ti, S, Ca, B etc
  • Cover gas: Argon

Dura-Line steel casting induction furnace (100kg)

The Dura-Line coreless induction furnace has a body constructed of heavy cast refractory, with stainless steel reinforcement. This furnace is tuned for melting ferrous alloys. The furnace is digitally controlled and signal processing is carried out by fibre-optic connectors.

  • Induction melting furnace, tuned for ferrous alloys
  • Up to 100kg capacity
  • Max. temperature > 1650°C
  • Alumina refractory lining
  • Casting options include chill mould, sand mould or simulated strip casting
  • Alloying elements: Al, Si, Cr, C, Cu, Mn, Zr, Ni, Mo, Co, V, N, P, Ti, S, Ca, B etc
  • Cover gas: Argon

Strip casting simulator

  • To simulate the rapid cooling experience during twin roll strip casting, we have a lab-scale simulator designed to be used on the 100kg ferrous alloy induction furnace.
  • The simulator is fully instrumented and can measure temperatures up to 1700°C at an aquisition rate of over 10,000 measurements per second.
  • Using the strip casting simulator, we can change casting gas, casting speed, liquid temperature, substrate temperature and substrate condition.

Non-Ferrous casting facilities

Magnesium casting facility

  • Induction-heated steel crucible
  • Capacity: up to 400 grams (~250mL)
  • Chill casting under argon
  • Temperature up to 800°C
  • Capable of casting most Mg alloys
  • Alloying elements: Gd, Y, Sn, Zn, Ce, Ca, Al, Ni, Sr, Li etc

Light alloy casting facility

  • Can melt magnesium or aluminium alloys
  • Resistance heated furnace
  • Capacity: up to 2kg of magnesium (~1.2L)
  • Chill casting under cover gas
  • Temperature up to 1000°C

SPECTROMAXx with Spark Analyser MX Software

SPECTROMAXx (LMX05) stationary metal analyser is used to determine alloy composition in metallic systems. This is housed in our casting facility for testing composition of alloy melts before casting.

Specifications

  • Machine's memory contains calibration data for Fe, Cu, Al, Mg, and Ti
  • Wavelength range from 140-670nm
  • Light-sensitive electronic detector (CCD technology), to convert light into electric charges
  • Fe, Cu, Al, Mg, Ti and their alloys can be tested for purity and elemental composition
  • Spark analyser software for analytical operation and calibration

Metal Forming Facility

Rolling mill 1

The metal forming facility is equipped with a stand-alone furnace which is capable of room temperature and hot rolling (up to 1100°C). Rolling of Mg alloys can also occur at elevated temperatures (up to 450°C).

Specifications

  • 200-tonne rolling mill with motor driven aperture adjustment
  • Surface speed of 16m/min
  • Roll diameters - 350mm
  • Roll face width - 450mm
  • Max roll aperture - 110mm

Rolling mill 2

Rolling mill with motor driven aperture adjustment. Asymmetric rolling option is available. Cold and hot rolling of most metal samples can be done.

Specifications

  • 50-tonne rolling mill with motor driven aperture adjustment
  • Surface speed of 12m/min
  • Roll diameters - 200mm
  • Roll face width - 180mm
  • Max roll aperture - 30mm

Thermo-electric property measurement

The ULVAC-RIKO-ZEM3 is used for thermoelectric characteristics evaluation of a wide range of materials, such as semiconductors, ceramics, and metals. This equipment is used by the group, mainly to measure Seebeck coefficient and electrical conductivity at elevated temperatures (up to 450°C) and also to evaluate the effect of aging on thermoelectric properties of Mg alloys.

Specifications

  • Temperature range: 30–800°C
  • System control software
  • Measurement temperature steps: 125 max
  • Sample Size: 2–4mm (square or diameter) x 5 to 22mm (length)
  • Atmosphere: low pressure helium gas (air) and vacuum (-0.09 Mpa)

The light metals facility also makes use of equipment and personnel based at the mechanical testing facility and the electron microscope facility.


Contact us

Research Engineer
Mohan Setty
+61 3 5227 3423
Email Mohan Setty