Cast metal parts are sometimes unusable because they have internal gas pockets, or bubbles, which develop when the metal shrinks during solidification. A general term describing such bubbles or voids is “porosity.” When these bubbles are relatively large and localized the porosity is called macro-porosity. Prediction of macro-porosity in the interior of cast parts is a capability of most software packages currently used for the modeling of metal casting processes.
Another type of porosity, characterized by a more uniform distribution of small bubbles with a total average volume fraction on the order of one percent, is referred to as micro-porosity. This type of porosity is also caused by metal shrinkage during solidification, but its character is different from macro-porosity because it develops at a later stage in the solidification process. This distinction in types of porosity is important because each type requires a different modeling approach.
In this note we propose a new model that has been implemented in FLOW-3D® for predicting the occurrence of micro-porosity. The model is simple, requires only basic material property data, and adds virtually no noticeable CPU time to a solidification simulation. Best of all, the model is complimentary to macro-porosity models and may be used in conjunction with either a complete hydrodynamic shrinkage simulation that includes fluid flow or with simpler heat-transfer and shrinkage simulation having no fluid flow.
The new model has been checked using three sets of experimental test data. A final test, involving only qualitative results for the influence of pressure on micro-porosity formation has also been conducted.