Evaluation of Recycled AZ91D Magnesium Alloy for Steering Column Components 970332
A pilot production program was initiated to evaluate the suitability of recycled AZ91D magnesium alloy ingot in a production steering column component. Class I A291D magnesium alloy scrap was remelted and refined using an argon flotation technique. The non-metallic inclusion content of the metal was continually monitored by a newly developed light reflectance technique. In addition, chemistry was checked and adjusted to bring the metal into ASTM chemistry specifications. Analysis of the refining operation with respect to cleanliness showed that modifications to the argon gas distribution were necessary. After the necessary modifications were implemented, metal refining efficiency increased. The refined alloy was cast into 11 kg (25 lb.) ingots that were subsequently remelted at Contech's production facility. Parts were produced under the same conditions used for “virgin” metal, and the metal quality was again assessed with the light reflectance technique. Castings from the recycled material were examined by microscopy, and tested for mechanical properties and corrosion performance. Properties of the castings produced from refined AZ91D magnesium alloy were indistinguishable from the production die castings.