What Is Cast Iron?

- Sep 06, 2018 -


Cast iron is a family of metals produced by smelting metal, and then pouring it into a mold. The primary difference in production between wrought iron and cast iron is that cast iron is not worked with hammers and tools. There are also differences in composition—cast iron contains 2–4% carbon and other alloys, and 1–3% of silicon, which improves the casting performance of the molten metal. Small amounts of manganese and some impurities like sulfur and phosphorous may also be present. Differences between wrought iron and cast iron can also be found in the details of chemical structure and physical properties.

Due to the presence of carbon in cast iron, it may sometimes be confused with steel. However, there are significant differences. Steel contains less than 2% carbon, which enables the final product to solidify in a single microcrystalline structure. The higher carbon content of cast iron means that it solidifies as a heterogeneous alloy, and therefore has more than one microcrystalline structure present in the material.

It is the combination of high carbon content, and the presence of silicon, that gives cast iron its excellent castability.

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