Ultrasound treatment of liquid aluminum alloys is known to improve mechanical properties of castings. Aluminum foundry alloys are frequently used for production of parts that undergo severe cavitation erosion phenomena during service. In this paper, the effect of the ultrasound treatment on cavitation erosion resistance of AlSi7 alloy was assessed and compared to that of conventionally cast samples. Cavitation erosion tests were performed according to ASTM G32 standard on as-cast and heat treated castings. The response of the alloy in each condition was investigated by measuring the mass loss as a function of cavitation time and by analyzing the damaged surfaces by means of optical and scanning electron microscope. It was pointed out that the ultrasound treatment increases the cavitation erosion resistance of the alloy, as a consequence of the higher chemical and microstructural homogeneity, the finer grains and primary particles and the refined structure of the eutectic induced by the treatment itself.
Keywords: AlSi7; SEM; cavitation erosion; ultrasound treatment.