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Induction Skull Melting of Ti-6Al-4V: Process Control and Efficiency Optimization

Mechanical and Manufacturing Department, Mondragon University, Loramendi 4, 20500 Mondragon, Gipuzkoa, Spain
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Metals 2019, 9(5), 539; https://doi.org/10.3390/met9050539
Received: 15 April 2019 / Revised: 3 May 2019 / Accepted: 8 May 2019 / Published: 10 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Processes and Machine Tools for Advanced Metal Alloys)
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Abstract

Titanium investment casting is one of the leading and most efficient near-net-shape manufacturing processes, since complex shape components are possible to obtain with a very low amount of material waste. But melting these reactive alloys implies the usage of specific melting technologies such as the Induction Skull Melting (ISM) method. In this work the ISM was extensively studied with the aim of deepening the characteristics of this specific melting method and improving the too low energy efficiency and overall process performance. A 16 segment copper crucible and 3 turns coil was employed for the melting of 1 kg of Ti-6Al-4V alloy. Through the calorimetric balance, real-time evolution of the process parameters and power losses arising from the crucible and coil sub-assemblies was displayed. Results revealed the impact of coil working conditions in the overall ISM thermal efficiency and titanium melt properties, revealing the use of these conditions as an effective optimization strategy. This unstudied melting control method allowed more heat into charge and 13% efficiency enhancement; leading to a shorter melting process, less energy consumption and increased melt superheat, which reached 49 °C. The experimental data published in this paper represent a valuable empiric reference for the development and validation of current and future induction heating models. View Full-Text
Keywords: titanium; melting; cold crucible; efficiency; superheat titanium; melting; cold crucible; efficiency; superheat
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Chamorro, X.; Herrero-Dorca, N.; Bernal, D.; Hurtado, I. Induction Skull Melting of Ti-6Al-4V: Process Control and Efficiency Optimization. Metals 2019, 9, 539.

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