Three-dimensional study of nodule clustering and heterogeneous strain localization for tailored material properties in ductile iron
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Tailored heterogeneous distributions of microstructural features enable extraordinary material performance in biological and physiological structures such as trees, the aortic arch, human teeth and dinosaur skulls. In ductile iron, a heterogeneous distribution in size and morphology of graphite nodules and variations of the fractions of ferrite and pearlite are created during solidification, and varies as a function of parameters such as local cooling rate, segregation and flow. In the current work, the size distribution as well as the orientation and relation between graphite nodules is obtained by a three-dimensional reconstruction of a ductile iron microstructure from X-ray tomography. The effect of the nodule morphology and clustering on the localization of plastic strains is studied numerically using finite element analysis of the reconstructed microstructure. Real castings have a variation in geometry, solidification conditions and are subjected to variations in loads. A framework for optimized geometry and solidification conditions in order to design and deliver castings with tailored local material performance is proposed.