The goal of this work was to identify the inclusions in lamellar graphite cast iron in an effort to explain the nucleation of the phases of interest. Four samples of approximately the same carbon equivalent but different levels of sulfur and titanium were studied. The Ti/S ratios were from 0.15 to 29.2 and the Mn/S ratios from 4.2 to 48.3. Light and electron microscopy were used to examine the unetched, color-etched, and deep-etched samples. It was confirmed that in irons with high sulfur content (0.12 wt pct) nucleation of type-A and type-D graphite occurs on Mn sulfides that have a core of complex Al, Ca, Mg oxide. An increased titanium level of 0.35 pct produced superfine interdendritic graphite (~10 μm) at low (0.012 wt pct) as well as at high-S contents. Ti also caused increased segregation in the microstructure of the analyzed irons and larger eutectic grains (cells). TiC did not appear to be a nucleation site for the primary austenite as it was found mostly at the periphery of the secondary arms of the austenite, in the last region to solidify. The effect of titanium in refining the graphite and increasing the austenite fraction can be explained through the widening of the liquidus-eutectic temperature interval (more time for austenite growth) and the decrease in the growth rate of the graphite because of Ti absorption on the graphite. The fact that Ti addition produced larger eutectic cells supports the theory that Ti is not producing finer graphite because of a change in the nucleation potential, but because of lower growth rate of the graphite in between the dendrite arms of a larger fraction of austenite. In the presence of high-Ti and S, (MnTi)S star-like and rib-like inclusions precipitate and act as nuclei for the austenite.
Metallurgical and Materials Transactions a, 2013, Vol 44, Issue 11, p. 5134-5146