E. Cardoso Legorreta, H. V. Atkinson and H. Jones, Cooling slope casting to obtain thixotropic feedstock I: observations with a transparent analogue, Journal of Materials Science, Volume 43, Number 16 / agosto de 2008, ISSN 0022-2461, Edt. Springer Netherlands, pp 5448-5455
New Rheocasting (the NRC process) is a recently developed semisolid processing route. There are two versions of this route. In one, molten alloy is poured directly into a tilted mould and through careful temperature control during cooling a spheroidal semisolid microstructure is achieved, before the material in the mould is upended into a shot sleeve and hence forced into a die. Alternatively, the molten alloy is poured onto a cooling slope and thence into a mould before processing. The aim of the work described in this article, and its companion, was to develop understanding of the microstructural development during the initial stages of this process i.e. in the mould before processing and with the cooling slope/mould combination. In this first article, an analogue system based on aqueous ammonium chloride has been used to visualise what happens when an alloy is poured into a tilted mould with a chill wall. In the companion article, the results for pouring A356 aluminium alloy directly into a mould, and also via a cooling slope into a mould are presented.