Projects

Reduction of Oxidative Melt Loss This project will identify melt conditions that will significantly reduce the oxidation of aluminum. The potential benefits of this project include: estimated annual energy savings in excess of 58 trillion Btu; lowered cost of aluminum products; reduced industrial emissions and, significantly increase recycling capability of the aluminum industry.

The Evaluation and Characterization of In-Line Annealed Continuous Cast AluminumThis project will develop in-line heatin/annealing protocols for continuously cast aluminum sheet prior to coiling. The focus is on utilizing a process optimization model and increasing the understanding of the evolution of microstructure and microtexture in continuously cast sheet during in-line anneal. The implementation of this work will result in the production of continuous cast alloy sheet with improved formability at high levels of productivity, consistency and quality.

Modeling Optimization of Direct Chill Casting to Reduce Ingot Cracking This project will reduce aluminum ingot scrap by developing advanced models for ingot stress crack formation and butt deformation. The potential benefits of this project include: improved ingot consistency and quality; reduction in ingot scalping; elimination of butt sawing; annual energy savings of over six trillion BTU; annual cost savings of more than $500 million and emissions reduction.

Improving Energy Efficiency in Aluminum Melting The goal of this project is to improve energy in aluminum melting by 25%. Project partners will build an experimental reverberatory furnace (ERF) with the ability to vary burner design and other furnace parameters. Combinations of oxy-fuel, staged combustion, new refactory/insulation materials, and intelligent and robust control systems will be assessed.Results from the ERF will be supplemented with modeling studies of mass, heat, and fluid flow and then extended to full scale furnaces. Optimal furnace systems and the most effective technologies will be demonstrated on full-scale furnaces with the coorperation of the industrial partners.The research will focus on determining the influence of the cast microstructure and the spatial distribution of the intermetallic constituents and dispersion phases of the microtexture during deformation and recrystallization. The object of this research is to study in detail the difference in structure between DC and CC aluminum alloys that leads to the difference in formability. This work will concentrate on the 5000 series aluminum alloys, which have great potential for continuous cast product market growth. The difference in formability will be correlated with the difference in bulk texture and microtexture of the two materials. The fundamental insight obtained from this research will provide a science-based approach for optimizing wide continuous casting technology.

Structural Factors Affecting Formability The research will focus on determining the influence of the cast microstructure and the spatial distribution of the intermetallic constituents and dispersion phases of the microtexture during deformation and recrystallization. The object of this research is to study in detail the difference in structure between DC and CC aluminum alloys that leads to the difference in formability. This work will concentrate on the 5000 series aluminum alloys, which have great potential for continuous cast product market growth. The difference in formability will be correlated with the difference in bulk texture and microtexture of the two materials. The fundamental insight obtained from this research will provide a science-based approach for optimizing wide continuous casting technology.

Advanced Scalable Clean Aluminum Melting Systems This project focuses on the development and integration of technologies that will enable significant reduction in the energy consumption and environmental impacts of melting aluminum through substitution of immersion heating for the conventional radiant burner methods used in reverberatory furnaces. Specifically, the program will couple heater improvements with furnace modeling that will enable cost-effective retrofits to a range of existing furnace sizes, reducing the economic barrier to application. This project is directly relevant to the Metalcasting industry since melting represents 55% of the energy used in the industry, yet there is substantial installed capital that inhibits adoption of technologies that require complete replacement to obtain benefits.

Materials for Industrial Heat Recovery Systems This project will address materials improvements for enhanced heat recovery, reliability and competitiveness in two industries: Aluminum and Forest Products. The Aluminum and Forest Products Industry Technology Roadmaps specifically identify the need for fuel efficiency and cost effectiveness in melters and recovery boilers, respectively. The proposed project will concentrate on recuperators associated with aluminum melting furnaces and the superheater and wall tubes in black liquor recovery boilers. These are only two of a large number of heat recovery systems that have issues with the performance of components, but these two were identified because of the significant energy savings that could be realized from material improvements and associated increases in reliability. In addition, there are several common features for these two areas including flue gas temperatures, requirements for high duty cycle, and service in oxidizing and reducing environments. In both recuperators and primary air ports, there is an issue of local combustion and the effects of localized high temperature on the tubes. The recuperator and superheater tubes also have common issues of distortion and corrosion over a limited area.

Multifunctional Metallic and Refractory Materials for Energy Efficient Handling of Molten Metals The research objectives of this project are to develop multifunctional metallic and refractory materials and surface treatment, coatings and claddings for life improvement of molten metal containment and submerged hardware and improved thermal management in aluminum, steel, and metal casting industries. The project goal is to extend the molten metal containment and submerged hardware life by an order of magnitude and improve thermal efficiency with energy savings of 333 trillion BTU/year and cost savings of approximately $1 billion/year by 2020.

Materials Solutions for Hydrogen Delivery in Pipelines This project presents an integrated approach to developing and testing new materials solutions to enable pipeline delivery of hydrogen at high pressures. Pipeline transmission is the most economical method for hydrogen delivery in large quantities from the point of generation to point of use. Literature to-date clearly shows that hydrogen embrittlement of pipeline steels is one of the limiting factors in the cost-effective, high-pressure transport of hydrogen. Over the past few years, significant advances have been made in understanding the mechanisms of hydrogen embrittlement in a wide variety of materials. Furthermore, integration of computational techniques with experimental methods has resulted in the development of designer materials along with the scientific methodologies for developing customized materials better suited for any given application. We strongly believe that revolutionary advances are now possible in addressing the problem of hydrogen embrittlement of steels.

Prediction of Texture and Formability of Continuous Cast AA 5000 and 2000 Series Aluminum Alloy Sheets and Their Quality Improvement The research objective is to develop a quantitative (mathematical) model for the prediction of the crystallographic texture and formability of CC aluminum alloy sheet as a function of processing parameters. The model will be based on thorough experimental investigation of the evolution of microstructure and texture, and their effects on formability of the alloys. This model will show the effect of alloy composition, hot rolling procedure, homogenization practice as well as annealing temperature on the texture evolution during cold rolling and annealing. It will subsequently allow the prediction of formability both from a mechanical anistropy point of view as well as from a limit strain consideration. It is anticipated that the model will be valuable in the optimization of the processing of continuous cast aluminum alloys and the development of aluminum alloys for industrial thermo-mechanical processing.


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