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Title: Energy-Saving Melting and Revert Reduction Technology (E-SMARRT): Use of Laser Engineered Net Shaping for Rapid Manufacturing of Dies with Protective Coatings and Improved Thermal Management

In the high pressure die casting process, molten metal is introduced into a die cavity at high pressure and velocity, enabling castings of thin wall section and complex geometry to be obtained. Traditional die materials have been hot work die steels, commonly H13. Manufacture of the dies involves machining the desired geometry from monolithic blocks of annealed tool steel, heat treating to desired hardness and toughness, and final machining, grinding and polishing. The die is fabricated with internal water cooling passages created by drilling. These materials and fabrication methods have been used for many years, however, there are limitations. Tool steels have relatively low thermal conductivity, and as a result, it takes time to remove the heat from the tool steel via the drilled internal water cooling passages. Furthermore, the low thermal conductivity generates large thermal gradients at the die cavity surfaces, which ultimately leads to thermal fatigue cracking on the surfaces of the die steel. The high die surface temperatures also promote the metallurgical bonding of the aluminum casting alloy to the surface of the die steel (soldering). In terms of process efficiency, these tooling limitations reduce the number of die castings that can be made per unit timemore » by increasing cycle time required for cooling, and increasing downtime and cost to replace tooling which has failed either by soldering or by thermal fatigue cracking (heat checking). The objective of this research was to evaluate the feasibility of designing, fabricating, and testing high pressure die casting tooling having properties equivalent to H13 on the surface in contact with molten casting alloy - for high temperature and high velocity molten metal erosion resistance – but with the ability to conduct heat rapidly to interior water cooling passages. A layered bimetallic tool design was selected, and the design evaluated for thermal and mechanical performance via finite element analysis. H13 was retained as the exterior layer of the tooling, while commercially pure copper was chosen for the interior structure of the tooling. The tooling was fabricated by traditional machining of the copper substrate, and H13 powder was deposited on the copper via the Laser Engineered Net Shape (LENSTM) process. The H13 deposition layer was then final machined by traditional methods. Two tooling components were designed and fabricated; a thermal fatigue test specimen, and a core for a commercial aluminum high pressure die casting tool. The bimetallic thermal fatigue specimen demonstrated promising performance during testing, and the test results were used to improve the design and LENS TM deposition methods for subsequent manufacture of the commercial core. Results of the thermal finite element analysis for the thermal fatigue test specimen indicate that it has the ability to lose heat to the internal water cooling passages, and to external spray cooling, significantly faster than a monolithic H13 thermal fatigue sample. The commercial core is currently in the final stages of fabrication, and will be evaluated in an actual production environment at Shiloh Die casting. In this research, the feasibility of designing and fabricating copper/H13 bimetallic die casting tooling via LENS TM processing, for the purpose of improving die casting process efficiency, is demonstrated.« less
  1. Ohio State University
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Advanced Technology Institute
Sponsoring Org:
Advanced Manufacturing Office (EE-2F)
Contributing Orgs:
North American Die Casting Association (NADCA), Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), Lehigh University Northern Illinois University (NIU), Mo-Tech Die Manufacturing, Shiloh Die Casting
Country of Publication:
United States
32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; Die Casting; Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS); Dies; Protective Coatings of Dies; Thermal Management of Dies