The influence of cerium addition on solidification structure of the low-carbon 42CrMo4 steel was investigated. Alloys were prepared by means of a centrifugal casting. The addition of up to 0.05 wt. % of Ce in the steel produced greatly improved solidification structure with a suppressed columnar grain zone, finer grain size in the equiaxed grain zone, and zero area fraction of casting shrinkage cavity. The added cerium occurred in the steel both in the form of Ce oxide-sulphide inclusions and as dissolved atomic Ce segregated along with other elements at prior austenite grain boundaries and at interdendritic spacings. Microstructure (light optical microscope, SEM), X-ray EDX chemical microanalysis, and TOF-SIMS analysis (TESCAN ORSAY HOLDING) – mapping of elements in the structure of alloys were obtained. Rare-earth metals addition can be considered as a potential solution for grain structure refinement in heavy-weight castings of 42CrMo4 grade steel.Keywords: 42CrMo4 steel, centrifugal casting, cerium addition, microstructure, inclusion, segregation
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