Thixoforming depends on three factors: (a) the thermodynamic stability of the solid-to-liquid transformation in the presence of temperature fluctuations; (b) the size and morphology of the solid particles in the liquid in the semisolid state; and (c) the rheology of the semisolid slurry during formation. In this study, these parameters were characterized for an Al-Si-Cu alloy with a high Fe content (B319+Fe alloy). Fe is usually found in raw metal produced by recycling, and its removal increases processing costs. This study is an attempt to use this lower-cost alloy for the thixoforming route. Thermodynamic analysis was performed by numerical simulation (under Scheil conditions) and the application of the differentiation method (DM) to differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) curves recorded during heating cycles up to 700 °C at 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 °C/min. The processing window was evaluated by comparing the results of the DM and those of the analysis of open-die thixoforged samples after isothermal heat treatment at 575, 582, 591, and 595 °C for 0, 30, 60, and 90 s. The microstructural and rheological behavior of the semisolid slurry was analyzed at 591 and 595 °C for all four soak times. Isothermal heat treatment caused the refinement and spheroidization of the solid phase. Good agreement between the predicted thermodynamic behavior and the microstructural behavior of the thixoformed B319+Fe alloy samples was observed. Although the alloy exhibited a coarse microstructure, it was microstructurally and rheologically stable at all temperatures and for all the soak times studied, indicating that B319+Fe is a promising raw material for thixoforming.
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