Author Topic: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment  (Read 16250 times)

Offline NormanV

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #50 on: May 16, 2017, 10:52:31 AM »
Ok, thanks for the quick response Andrew. When it's cooled down enough to handle I'll put it back in the kiln to heat treat it and try machining it this evening.

Offline NormanV

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #51 on: May 18, 2017, 10:15:54 AM »
Well, I did the heat treatment, I heated it until it just started to melt and then dunked it in water.
I machined it today, it cut quite well but I noticed that the surface that I achieved was not as good as the sample that Steve showed earlier in this thread. On close examination I saw that I am getting lots of tiny bubbles. I have said previously that I do not de-gas. Next time I melt some metal I will try it to see if it makes a difference for me.

Offline Biggles

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #52 on: May 19, 2017, 09:27:21 PM »
If you really want a hard alloy try Beryllium with Copper. Itís used to cover expensive golf clubs and can be used for armour piercing bullets!

Offline NormanV

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #53 on: May 25, 2017, 11:15:14 AM »
I did a little experiment today, not precise but it gave a ball park comparison of the aluminium/copper alloy and the normal alloy that I use that is car wheels melted down.
I used a centre punch and a club hammer. I arranged it so that the club hammer dropped a repeatable distance onto the centre punch and then measured the resulting punch mark using a magnifier. The copper alloy gave a punch mark 1mm dia and the plain alloy 2mm dia.
I can deduce from this that the addition of copper results in a harder alloy. :)

Offline awemawson

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #54 on: May 25, 2017, 11:35:13 AM »
 :clap:
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline Pete W.

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #55 on: May 25, 2017, 03:02:54 PM »
If you really want a hard alloy try Beryllium with Copper. Itís used to cover expensive golf clubs and can be used for armour piercing bullets!
 

Years ago, I had occasion to visit an aircraft company in the UK midlands.  There was a detached laboratory on the site, surrounded with a tall security fence.  Occasiomally, one or two of the staff could be seen outside the building, all clad in 'space suits'.  On enquiring of our hosts 'what's that all about?' we were told 'that's the Beryllium research department'.  My understanding is that beryllium's not very nice stuff, even alloyed (e.g. beryllium copper) or in the ceramic form (beryllia) used for semiconductor heat-sinks. 
Best regards,

Pete W.

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Offline vtsteam

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #56 on: May 28, 2017, 09:19:21 PM »
Good work Norman! And I like the sound of your test results. :beer:
I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
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Offline Biggles

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #57 on: May 29, 2017, 08:09:49 PM »
I didnít realise it was that bad Pete as they have it as a coating on several things. Perhaps itís the heating process and vapours that are bad. :doh:
Well done Norman, bypass Beryllium then. :headbang:

Offline Pete W.

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #58 on: May 30, 2017, 05:16:54 AM »
I didnít realise it was that bad Pete as they have it as a coating on several things. Perhaps itís the heating process and vapours that are bad. :doh:
Well done Norman, bypass Beryllium then. :headbang:

Have a look here:  https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/diseases/beryllium.html 

I chose that one at random from from the Google response to the phrase 'Beryllium health risks?'  There were lots more. 
Best regards,

Pete W.

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Offline Biggles

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #59 on: June 11, 2017, 01:18:31 AM »
Oh! i havent touch any that i know off. Better keep clear of that stuff then.  :bugeye:

Offline seadog

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #60 on: June 11, 2017, 05:59:49 PM »
It's used in dental plate manufacture so it's not that bad in certain applications. Dust or fumes are the real problem as I see it. We were warned back in the 70s about the risks since we had RF transistors that used Beryllia. In fact most kitchens have Beryllium present. The magnetron in your microwave cooker will have a Beryllia ceramic as the insulator. It's used because of its superior thermal conductivity.

Offline vtsteam

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #61 on: June 12, 2017, 10:18:09 AM »
The use recommended against here was casting with it, or use in our home workshop, if unaware of the hazard.

If you're already in the business of making dental plates, old style RF transistors, or microwave insulators, then just ignore, you probably already know about the hazards.
I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
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Offline Biggles

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #62 on: June 13, 2017, 09:57:59 AM »
 :nrocks:

Offline NormanV

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #63 on: June 21, 2017, 12:26:11 PM »
I wasn't planning on using Beryllium as I have no idea where to get it.
One thing that I have found is that aluminium with the addition of copper in the cast, machines much more cleanly whether or not given heat treatment. That will be standard for me from now on. One problem though is that it work hardens. My milling machine only has hand feed and if I go too slowly the pressure required to turn the handle increases dramatically. If I turn the feed handle briskly I find that it will cut its way through the metal quite cheerfully. This is using a 20mm cutter with a 2mm depth of cut, 15mm wide at 1000RPM on my homemade milling machine. I judge the feed rate to be 150mm per minute. Is this good or bad?

Offline vtsteam

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #64 on: June 22, 2017, 09:53:46 AM »
Interesting to hear, Norman. I haven't machined my Al/Cu recently (or anything else except a cast tractor head). Been away from the machine shop (AFMS?). But being back here reading MM and finally finished with the waterball cistern project, I'm beginning to get the machining itch again. I do wonder whether the AlCu properties have increased over time -- if aging has maade it tougher. Will have to find out soon.

Sorry, don't know what best feeds and speeds would be for this homemade stuff. But probably somebody more professional here does.
I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
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Offline NormanV

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #65 on: October 30, 2017, 04:02:14 PM »
I have just cast another alloy, 90% copper 10% aluminium. I tried a file on it and it just skidded with barely a mark. It is certainly hard, will I be able to machine it? I'll find out tomorrow.
What I found interesting is the colour, with all that copper I expected it to be bronze coloured but it is silver with just a blush to it.
The copper that I used was old plumbing pipes with a few brass glands on it, so the actual composition if a bit vague.
One problem that I encountered was the low heat output of my propane torch. When I melt aluminium it normally takes approx. one hour to melt my 3kg ingots. I had thought that this was due to the size of the ingot, I have read of people having molten aluminium in 15-20 minutes.
Today I melted the aluminium first and then added the copper, from start to finish was over 4 hours! After two hours I almost gave up but by that time I had invested so much gas into the project I thought that I would see it through. I don't think that I will be trying to melt any iron with this torch.

Offline NormanV

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #66 on: October 30, 2017, 05:48:27 PM »
I was too impatient to wait until tomorrow morning so I went out at 9pm this evening to have a look at this alloy I have created. I had cast a stick 50x25x300mm. I decided to cut a piece 25mm off the end. I first tried with a hacksaw, it just skidded across the surface. So, I went back to my trusty angle grinder, the cutting disc on the grinder is somewhat worn so I was only able to make a cut 6-8mm deep around the bar, I then clamped the short piece in the vice and snapped the bar in two by hand.
Here is a photo of the break.

Offline NormanV

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #67 on: October 30, 2017, 05:53:42 PM »
What I find fascinating is that this alloy behaves nothing like copper or aluminium. Cast aluminium is quite brittle but is nothing like as hard as this. I am planning to use it as a bearing material, will it be good for this purpose? I will find out. It will definitely be better than plain aluminium or copper. What fun!

Offline mattinker

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #68 on: October 30, 2017, 06:17:42 PM »
You've made Aluminium bronze.It should be a good bearing material, it also has a high corrosion resistance.

Regards, Matthew

Offline NormanV

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #69 on: October 30, 2017, 06:36:31 PM »
Aluminium bronze was what I was aiming for but was unsure because of the lack of the other metals that it normally contains.
It should be good for when I take my traction engine on the beach!

Offline SwarfnStuff

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #70 on: October 31, 2017, 01:39:44 AM »
Hi Norman,
     My first thought was Aluminium Bronze (as did Mathew ) so off to Wikipedia and it does seem you have the basis for it.
  Whatever it really is perhaps only a metallurgist could tell but hey, if it does what you  want I'd say that's a win.
   As for the work-hardening, well you have 90% copper which we all know does just that It might be interesting to try a different ratio (75:25 perhaps) and see how that performs.
 One century I might just get my furnace finished and fired up but life seems to be interrupting things.
John B
Converting good metal into swarf sometimes ending up with something useful. ;-)

Offline NormanV

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #71 on: October 31, 2017, 06:50:29 AM »
I've machined a piece of it, it is hard. HSS won't touch it, I had to use a carbide tool. It gives a good finish.




I want to try annealing it to see if I can make it easier to machine. I don't understand annealing, it seems that I have to heat it up and then allow it to cool. Isn't that was just happened when I poured it into the mould?
Could someone advise me on annealing please?
Thanks.

Offline AdeV

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #72 on: October 31, 2017, 07:17:51 AM »
Annealing varies by metal. Plain copper; yeah, heat it to cherry red, hold it for a few moments, then let it cool (the slower the better). Similar for steel. For ali-bronze? I have no idea; does Machinery's Handbook cover it? [I don't have my copy to hand]
Cheers!
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Offline Joules

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #73 on: October 31, 2017, 09:47:14 AM »
Here you go for starters.  My own experience is to heat it up hot, with long cool down, the workshop furnace here is programable so I can set it to cool over many hours, but a hot sand bath to bury it in would also work if possible.

http://admin.copperalliance.eu/docs/librariesprovider5/pub-222---guide-to-nickel-aluminium-bronze-for-engineers/pub-222-07-heat-treatment.pdf?sfvrsn=2


Another interesting link, especially for other copper alloys.

https://www.copper.org/resources/properties/microstructure/al_bronzes.html
Just get doing and make swarf, you can decide what its going to be later.   :thumbup:

Offline NormanV

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Re: Aluminum Copper Alloy Experiment
« Reply #74 on: October 31, 2017, 11:33:46 AM »
Both suggestions suggest how to anneal, thank you. I have done that and am waiting for it to cool down. My real question is why is the metal not soft after it cools down after casting?
Another question. I have watched a number of videos of metal being forged, as it is done large amounts of slag, I think that is what you call it, falls off. I have just been trying to clean my mild steel crucible after casting the bronze. As I did it a lot of slag fell off the outside of the crucible, what exactly is this slag? It measured 0.8mm thick, quite substantial, but the crucible still has its integrity.