Ductile Iron Lost Foam Castings
Ductile iron is not a single material but is part of a group of materials which can be produced to have a wide range of properties through control of the microstructure. The common defining characteristic of this group of materials is the shape of the graphite. In ductile irons, the graphite is in the form of nodules rather than flakes as it is in grey iron. The sharp shape of the flakes of graphite create stress concentration points within the metal matrix and the rounded shape of the nodules less so, thus inhibiting the creation of cracks and providing the enhanced ductility that gives the alloy its name. The formation of nodules is achieved by the addition of nodulizing elements, most commonly magnesium (note magnesium boils at 1100°C and iron melts at 1500°C) and, less often now, cerium (usually in the form of Mischmetal). Tellurium has also been used. Yttrium, often a component of Misch metal, has also been studied as a possible nodulizer.