Ductile cast iron with high toughness at low temperatures
High life expectancy of cast components and good material performance at dynamic load are a prerequisite to cater for future trends in wind energy generators. To remain competitive in this ever evolving sector challenges reside in alloy development. In this work fractional factorial design has been applied to ferritic ductile iron with varying contents of silicon (1.6-2 wt%), nickel (0-1 wt%), cobalt (0-3 wt%) and copper (0-0.2 wt%). The minimum criteria the new alloy should meet were a minimum yield strength of 240 MPa and an impact work of minimal 8 J at a temperature of -20 °C for wall thicknesses of 60-200 mm. To obtain these mechanical properties thick-walled castings with additional insulation were produced to achieve a higher thermic module. They provided the material for test specimens to perform static tensile tests, Charpy impact tests at varying temperatures and a microstructure analysis. With these results, a sweet spot plot has been created. That way, an optimum alloy composition could be found and has been proven by validation experiment. The optimum alloy for thick-walled castings is composed of Si = 1.6 wt%, Cu = 0.2 wt%, Ni = 0 wt% and Co = 0 wt%. It offers an enhancement in yield strength and acceptable impact work at low temperatures for massive castings in as cast state. The heat treated, full ferritic material could even improve these results.