The distribution homogeneity of grain size affects the fluidity of the semi-solid slurry, which in turn affects the properties of the casting. One key factor affecting grain size uniformity resides in the nucleation number, which has been studied thoroughly, while the other factor is temperature gradient which has not been investigated yet. In this study, the microstructure evolutions under certain temperature gradients are investigated by experiment and simulation using a two-dimensional quantitative phase-field (PF) model. A parallel and adaptive mesh refinement algorithm is adopted to solve the nonlinear phase-field equations. The results indicate that temperature gradient can affect the size distribution of microstructure in the semi-solid slurry prepared by the SEED process. A higher temperature gradient (in the range of 0.230~0.657 °C/mm) along the radial direction is beneficial to the homogeneity of the grain size in a slurry.
Keywords: grain size distribution; numerical visualization; phase-field; semi-solid; temperature gradient.