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Application of Electromagnetic Fields for Enhancement of Structural Metal Performance

Final Report Summary - EMFFORMET (Application of Electromagnetic Fields for Enhancement of Structural Metal Performance)

The objectives of the project were (i) to transfer knowledge of electromagnetic field (EMF) treatment to the Host institution via the creation of an experimental facility for the treatment of metals in the molten and solid states and provide training courses (ii) to fulfill a series of comprehensive tests for the experimental evidence of the benefits of the treatment for the refinement of the microstructure of castings and enhancement of the corrosion and wear resistance of metals (iii) to understand the mechanisms by which improvement in metals performance is achieved and (iv) to undertake interaction with industrial companies to introduce the treatment.
During the Project the following work was performed: (i) experimental facilities for the EMF treatment of metals in the solid and molten states were developed; a generator for pulsed electric current (PEC) treatment and different types of inductors to generate a pulsed magnetic field (PMF) were assembled and facilities for the treatment of metals by application of alternating magnetic fields (AMF) and rotating magnetic fields (RMF) were designed, built and commissioned; all the required hardware and software to register the treatment parameters (magnitude of current, field, temperature, etc.) were purchased and installed; (ii) investigation of the effects of PEC, PMF and AMF treatments on the corrosion behaviour of pure titanium and its alloys; (iii) investigation of the effect of PMF, AMF and RMF treatments on the corrosion behaviour of mild steel as well as low-carbon and dual phase steels; (iv) investigation of the effect of PEC and PMF treatments on the stress corrosion cracking (SCC) of pure titanium and 70/30 brass; (v) investigation of the effect of PMF treatment on the friction and wear behaviour of bearing steel; (vi) investigation of the effect of PEC treatment on the refinement of the grain structure of A356 casting aluminium alloy, and (vii) interaction with industrial companies to introduce the treatment was undertaken.

The main results that were achieved include:
- corrosion immersion tests of CP TA2 (Commercially Pure Grade 2) titanium, titanium alloy TiAl6V4 and TiAl intermetallic in solutions of sodium and tin fluorides (these tests are critical for usage of the metals as dental implants) demonstrated a reduction of the amount of corrosion of up to 40% due to application of the PMF and AMF treatment as shown in Fig. 1;
- salt spray (5% solution of NaCl) corrosion tests of mild steel, low-carbon and dual phase steels demonstrated a reduction of the amount and rate of corrosion of more than 70% due to the use of the PMF, AMF and RMF treatments;
- SCC of cold-drawn 70/30 brass immersed in a 2% mercurous nitrate solution and CP TA2 titanium immersed in a 0.9% NaF solution was eliminated due to the use of direct electropulsing and PMF treatment as illustrated in Fig. 2;
- decrease of the wear rate and coefficient of friction (reduced by 14%) was observed for the treated AISI 52100 bearing steel following PMF treatment (data are shown in Fig. 3);
- application of direct electropulsing to molten A356 aluminium alloy (artificially enriched with 2% of iron) dramatically improved the fluidity of the alloy and its properties.