Metals Used in Our UK Metal Casting Foundry

Date: October 18, 2023

Metal casting is a vital process within manufacturing, serving as the cornerstone for creating a broad range of products. Such diversity creates unique application requirements and demands adaptability as specific metal alloys will be needed to ensure the desired results.

This is why we prioritise various metals to create an adaptable casting process and easily fulfil our client's metal casting needs. The following is a selection of three of the three most common metals cast at our UK foundry and why they are so popular with our clients.

Stainless Steel Metal Casting

Stainless steel is a remarkable material known for its incredible versatility and ability to withstand the test of time. These castings are higher than other grades of steel and have a chromium-rich oxide film on the material's surface, giving it its phenomenal corrosion resistance.

Varied Applications in Diverse Industries

Stainless steel investment castings possess extraordinary characteristics that make them suitable for a wide array of applications.

  • The defence industry reaps the benefits of stainless steel's exceptional resistance to corrosion, employing it in creating military-grade equipment and weaponry.
  • The automotive industry relies on stainless steel castings for various components that require unparalleled durability, such as exhaust systems and engine parts.

5 Types of Stainless Steel Alloys for Casting

Stainless steel alloys come in various types with distinct properties suited for specific applications. Factors like temperature, welding, magnetism and metal part shape determine the right type of alloy selection. Below are five types of stainless steel alloys we work with, but there are many other variations our facility is capable of working with:

  1. Martensitic alloys are ferromagnetic and heat-treatable, suitable for making golf club heads and valve parts.
  2. Ferritic alloys are ductile, magnetic, and cost-efficient, used in mufflers and sinks.
  3. Austenitic stainless steels are weldable with non-magnetic properties. They contain austenite formed by nickel, manganese and nitrogen, a corrosion-resistant property ideal for chemical, pharmaceutical and firefighting purposes.
  4. Duplex alloys have exceptional tensile and yield strength and stress corrosion cracking resistance, making them ideal for industries like construction.
  5. Precipitation-hardening alloys offer high strength and corrosion resistance and are widely used in surgical instruments and fall arrest equipment in the construction industry.

Carbon Steel Metal Casting

Carbon steel casting is a common process for creating high-quality industrial components. Carbon steel is an alloy composed of carbon and iron, with no minimum content required for additional elements like manganese, vanadium, nickel, or copper.

Carbon steel offers several benefits, including its ferromagnetic properties, making it highly suitable for motor and electrical appliances. Additionally, carbon steel is known for its durability, safety, and structural integrity, making it one of the most widely used alloys worldwide.

Carbon Steel Applications

  • Food Processing: They are components of food processing equipment, including mixers, grinders, and conveyors.
  • Power Generation: Carbon steel castings are also used in power plants for components such as turbine blades, boiler parts, and supporting structures.
  • Mining: Carbon steel is often essential for mining equipment, including crushers, grinding mills, and conveyor systems.

3 Types of Carbon Steel Alloys

  1. Low carbon steel castings are a softer and more malleable alloy. Low carbon steel is often used in engineering applications that require low to medium strength, such as brackets, casings, and links. It can be heat-treated to achieve high surface hardness and good core ductility.
  2. Medium carbon steel castings offer increased durability, strength, and flexibility. This grade is suitable for applications that require good ductility, shock resistance, and machinability. It finds use in products like levers, air-frame parts, and hydraulic machinery.
  3. High carbon steel castings are known for their excellent shape memory and tensile strength. This grade is commonly used in applications that require high tensile properties and resistance to wear and abrasion. It is well-suited for heavy-duty components like cranks and pins.

Aluminium Casting

Aluminium casting provides unique characteristics that make it ideal for specific applications. Being the lightest metal, it offers excellent weight reduction potential, enhancing energy efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint of aircraft. Its natural corrosion resistance also ensures long-lasting durability, even in moist and corrosive environments. Despite its lightweight nature, aluminium exhibits high strength, making it capable of withstanding structural loads in demanding applications.

4 Types of Aluminium Alloys

Aluminium alloys are classified based on the elements or compounds they are alloyed with and the constituent ratios of the materials. Some common classifications of aluminium alloys include:

  1. ADC Alloys: Internationally recognised alloys for aluminium pressure die-casting are categorised as ADC (aluminium die-casting) alloys. Examples include ADC12 and ADC10. These alloys possess varying properties, making them suitable for a wide range of industries based on the specific demands of the casted parts.
  2. Silicon Alloys: Adding silicon to aluminium forms alloys with excellent wear resistance and high thermal conductivity. These alloys find applications in pistons, cylinder heads, and other engine components.
  3. Magnesium Alloys: Aluminium-magnesium alloys exhibit improved strength and excellent corrosion resistance. These alloys, such as aircraft frames and structural components, are commonly used in aerospace applications.
  4. Copper Alloys: Aluminium-copper alloys offer enhanced strength, durability, and resistance to high temperatures. They are utilised in applications such as electrical connectors and heat exchangers.

Aluminium alloys are also alloyed with elements like iron, nickel, zinc, manganese, and tin to achieve specific properties based on the desired application requirements.

Metal Casting at Dean Group

Regarding metal alloy choices, we offer a tailored investment casting service perfectly suited to meet the specific requirements of any project, no matter the sector. Our expert engineers and state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques ensure outstanding accuracy in every process stage, from the initial rapid casting prototyping to final review and shipping. Contact us today to discover how our processes will support your next project.

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