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U.S. Economy Grew 0.7% in the First Quarter of 2017

Friday, 28 April 2017  |  Chris Guy

Real GDP in the U.S. fell short of expectations, increasing at an annual rate of 0.7% in the first quarter of 2017; this according to the advance esti...

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Industry Headlines

Mueller Water Products Reports 2017 Second Quarter Results

1 DAY AGO

For its fiscal second quarter ended March 31, 2017, Mueller Water Products’ net sales were up 1.3% to $199.7 million and net income was $73.3 million, or $0.45 per diluted share. Operating income from continuing operations was $10.9 million. The quarter's results included $68.6 million of income...

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Weir Group Reports First Quarter 2017 Results

1 DAY AGO

The Weir Group's first quarter input was 15% higher than the prior year period with good sequential growth primarily driven by increased activity levels in North American Oil & Gas and strong aftermarket orders in Minerals. Group-wide aftermarket orders were 21% higher than the prior year period w...

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Permian Basin Oil Production Continues to Increase

2 DAYS AGO

Crude oil production in the Permian Basin is expected to increase to an estimated 2.4 million barrels per day in May, based on estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration . Between January 2016 and March 2017, oil production in the Permian Basin increased in all but three months, even as...

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East Coast Refiners Eye Texas as Alternative to North Dakota

2 DAYS AGO

“Major U.S. East Coast refiners profited from railing hundreds of thousands of barrels of discounted Bakken crude to their plants daily from 2013 until 2015. But as more and more pipelines were built in North Dakota, the discount began to disappear, and so did the rail cars,” Reuters repor...

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U.S. Economy Grew 0.7% in the First Quarter of 2017

1 DAY AGO

Real GDP in the U.S. fell short of expectations, increasing at an annual rate of 0.7% in the first quarter of 2017; this according to the advance estimate just released by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The 0.7% figure, down from 2.1% in the fourth quarter and 3.5% in the second half of 2016, and is...

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Survey Shows Small Business Confidence Increasing

2 DAYS AGO

The second annual Allstate/ Small Business Barometer finds increasing optimism and innovation among small business owners, despite the rising cost of doing business. Nine in 10 local entrepreneurs say the benefits of owning a business outweigh the challenges. This year’s Barometer found that, ...

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Supplemental Requirement S23 in ASTM A703

materials_q_and_a_graphicQ: A customer has asked whether we can supply carbon and alloy steel valve bodies meeting Supplemental Requirement S23 in ASTM A703. What is the purpose of this requirement?

A: The macroetch test specified in Supplemental Requirement S23 in ASTM A703 is designed to detect the occurrence of aluminum nitride embrittlement in castings.

When steel is melted, oxygen and nitrogen can be dissolved in the molten steel. When the metal is poured into the casting mold, the oxygen can come out of the solution and form gas porosity in the castings. In order to avoid castings with excessive gas porosity, the foundry may add deoxidizing elements to the melt. The presence of these elements results in the formation of oxide compounds, which mitigates the formation of oxygen gas bubbles during solidification.

One of the elements that is sometimes added as a deoxidizer is aluminum, which creates a potential for the formation of aluminum nitride. This compound tends to precipitate in the prior austenite grain boundaries and can result in castings that display loss of ductility that could result in brittle failure of the casting if it is shock-loaded in service. If fracture occurs, it has a rock-candy appearance due to fracture along the prior austenite grain boundaries. The fracture is often very shiny due to the presence of aluminum nitride platelets on the surface.

Variables That Influence Embrittlement

There are a number of variables that influence the potential for this type of embrittlement:

1) The steel must contain enough aluminum and nitrogen to support the formation of enough aluminum nitride to cause a significant embrittling effect. Most foundries have the equipment necessary to analyze and report aluminum content. However, the specifications for the common cast steels used in valve bodies do not require analysis or reporting of aluminum as a standard requirement, so some foundries do not monitor and/or report the aluminum content.

Although some foundries monitor nitrogen levels in their steel, many do not have the necessary equipment to do this. The specifications for the common cast steels used in valve bodies do not require analysis or reporting of nitrogen as a standard requirement. Therefore, the nitrogen content of the steel is often not known or reported, and it is possible that enough nitrogen is present to form aluminum nitride.

2) Other elements that inhibit the formation of aluminum nitride must be present in low enough quantities that the reaction can occur. Certain elements are known to inhibit the formationof aluminum nitride. Additionsof titanium and/or zirconium, addedeither along with or after the additionof aluminum, can inhibit the formationof aluminum nitride by forming titaniumnitride and/or zirconium nitrideinstead. It has also been found thathigher levels of phosphorus, sulfur,boron, molybdenum and copper inhibitaluminum nitride embrittlement.

3) The cooling rate in the mold must be slow enough through the critical temperature range to allow the formation of the aluminum nitride phase. The thickness of the casting (orportion of the casting) is an obviousfactor influencing whether embrittlementoccurs, since thicker casting sectionswill cool more slowly through thecritical temperature range than thinsections.

The casting configuration can also influence the cooling rate. A complex casting with relatively thin walls may experience slower cooling rates than a simple casting with the same wall thickness because the complex casting will lose heat through the mold less effectively.

The mold material can also influence the cooling rate. For example, air-set sand is known to inherently produce molds that cool slower than green-sand molds.

Reporting Aluminum Content

When Supplemental Requirement 23 in ASTM A703 is imposed on steel castings produced under ASTM A216, A217 and A352, aluminum is required to be reported. For heats with aluminum content greater than 0.08%, a macroetch must be performed on one of the following:

  • A cross-section of the heaviest section of a sacrificial casting
  • A coupon attached to the heaviest section
  • A coupon removed from directly under a riser or
  • A coupon from the same heat of material removed from a separately cast test block with a thickness representative of the heaviest section of the casting.

The resulting etched specimen is compared with 10 reference macrographs. Heats with severity levels 4 and lower are acceptable. Heats exhibiting higher levels are dispositioned by a number of means, including examination of etch structures on individual castings, fracture testing to determine the degree of “rock candy” appearance, mechanical testing, weld crack susceptibility testing and/or high-temperature solution heat treatment, as agreed upon by the supplier and purchaser.


REFERENCES:

1. ASTM A703 (latest revision), “Steel Castings, General Requirements, for Pressure-Containing Parts,” ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA.

2. ASM Materials Information On-Line: ASM Metals Handbook - Volume 1, Properties and Selection: Irons, Steels, and High Performance Alloys -> Embrittlement of Steels -> Embrittlement in Carbon Steels and Alloy Steels.

3. SFSA SFSA Casteel Reporter, August 2006, Page 2, Steel Founders’ Society of America, Crystal Lake, IL.

4. Banks, WC, “Avoiding Aluminum Nitride Embrittlement in Steel Castings for Valve Components,” V-Rep 84-1, Flowserve, 2003, Raleigh, NC.

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