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Porosity at a Glance

Die casting is a process whereby liquid metal is injected into a steel die to form a die cast part.  The filling and solidification occurs rapidly under high pressure, and the part “freezes” quickly.   The very nature of this fast-cycling process creates castings that contain some degree of porosity.

What is porosity?

Porosity in a die casting occurs when there is an air pocket that forms because air or gas is entrapped in the metal as it solidifies (gas porosity), or, it is caused by the metal shrinking away from thick sections and toward thin sections, leaving voids in the center (shrink  porosity).

 This indicates gas porosity in a zinc, aluminum or magnesium die cast part. Gas Porosity

The formation of “bubbles” is a sign that the gas is being trapped within the die cast part, which is indicative of gas porosity.  When close to the surface of the casting, these pores can cause surface blisters to form.  A die casting engineer will take a look at venting, gating, lubrication, an increase in time held within the die, and other factors that may contribute to the defect.

This is a picture of shrinkage porosity, which occurs in aluminum, magnesium, or zinc die castings.

Shrinkage Porosity

These pores are larger and irregular in size, occurring in heavy sections of the die casting.  Shrinkage porosity decreases the integrity of the die cast part, especially when machining operations are located in close proximity to the pores.  A die cast engineer will look at the potential of eliminating thick walls and redesigning the section where shrinkage porosity occurs.

Porosity can be influenced by:

–              Material cleanliness

–              Part Design

–              Die Design

–              Metal & Die Temperatures

–              Die Casting Machine Pressure

–              Spray or Mold Release

–              Shot Speed

–              Wall thickness

–              Shrinkage

In order to gain a better understanding of the formation of porosity, a basic knowledge of the die casting process is helpful.

Die Casting 101

Die casting is a process which involves molten metal being placed inside a shot cylinder.  A piston uses a great amount of force and speed to inject the liquid metal into the die that is mounted to a machine.  The machine provides the power to inject the metal and to hold the die shut until solidification occurs, which is aided by using water or oil cooling in the die.   The machine then opens the die and a series of ejector pins, built into the die, move forward to push the part out.

This process is repeated with every die cast part.

CWM die casts all 3 of the most common families of alloy; aluminum, magnesium, and zinc.   We employ state-of-the-art engineering systems to design the dies and develop the process parameters to help make sure that porosity is minimized.

For more information or if you would like to discuss your project further, feel free to contact one of our CWM engineers at sales@cwmtl.com or give us a call at 630-595-4424.

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