A high-quality magnesium alloy requires low or no levels of impurities, needs to resist corrosion and exhibit high stress-strain performance. In their molten state, magnesium alloys have a high level of chemical activity that requires special protective measures in the form of a low melting-temperature flux applied to the surface to protect the metal from ignition and oxidation.
Characteristics like these make such an alloy appropriate for high-technology applications, like in the automotive and aerospace industries. Materials scientists from Moscow’s National University of Science and Technology MISiS say they’ve developed a process to produce a super-strong, lightweight magnesium alloy that meets those criteria.
A new type of flux using carnallite, an evaporate mineral readily available in the Russian Ural Mountains, is behind the researchers’ work. (In metallurgy, a flux (from the Latin fluxus, meaning “flow”) is a chemical cleaning agent, flowing agent, or purifying agent.) Combined with a 30% mixture of calcium chloride, the flux has a strong purifying effect that allows for the casting of magnesium alloys with improved corrosion resistance, reduces material losses in alloying components, and allows for the creation of an alloy with a more stable chemical composition.
Anton Nalivaiko, the head of the university's project, commented on the prospective benefits of the researchers' work.
"The. . .technology developed by the NUS&T MISiS in partnership with our industrial partner OK Stroibis (Russia's largest producer of auxiliary materials for non-ferrous metallurgy) will help eliminate the formation of toxic barium-containing slag, improve the quality of the magnesium alloy produced, increase its competitiveness in domestic and export markets, and, ultimately, improve the prospects for import substitution in the aerospace and automotive sectors of Russian industry," he said.
The National University of Science and Technology "MISiS" (formerly Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys State Technological University is Russia's primary technological university in the field of steelmaking and metallurgy.
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