Casting metal is a process in which metal is formed into a specific shape using a mold. This process has been in use for thousands of years in order to create a wide range of items from metal. Depending on the type of object you are trying to cast, or the type of use you want to get from that object, you will have to select the ideal metal for casting. Throughout the years, metal workers and casting experts have found that different metals are suited to a number of different applications. Knowing which metal is best for each application is necessary in order to ensure you get the most out of your metal casting. Below you’ll find a brief description of the most common metals used for metal casting, their properties and the application for which they are best suited.
Common metals used in metal casting
1. Grey Iron
As one of the most frequently used metals for casting, especially in industrial settings, grey iron’s unique strength and density makes it extremely versatile. This metal can be modified during the casting process to be softer for machine applications, or stronger for uses in vibration control, or other situations where more tensile strength is required. Not only is grey iron one of the most versatile materials used for industrial metal casting, it is also one of the most cost effective metals on the market when purchased in high volumes.
2. White Iron
White iron is more expensive compared to grey iron, but it is also far more durable over time, and can be used for more applications. White iron is far better suited when it comes to machinability as well as welding, making it ideal for more specialized industrial or artistic projects. Even though is costs more to use white iron in metal casting compared to grey iron, white iron is still a lot more cost effective compared to other metals used in more specialized metal casting projects.
3. Ductile Iron Casting
The strongest and most versatile iron used in metal casting is known as ductile iron. This metal is ideally suited to applications which require high levels of strength and durability combined with reduced weight and shrinkage after the metal casting process. Ductile describes the metal’s ability to be stretched thin without compromising it’s toughness and pliability. This makes this type of iron ideal for a wide range of uses in multiple settings from industrial to aesthetic.
4. Stainless Steel
Unlike the metals described above, steel is made using a combination of metals mixed during the metal casting process. This mixture allows the steel to become stain resistant, even when exposed to water or outdoor elements. It also enhances the heat resistance and overall durability against corrosion. Mixtures of steel and other metals such as chromium or nickel are fairly common, and can be used in a number of different environments where corrosion and oxidization are an issue.
On its own copper is the ideal metal for use as a conductive material in electrical applications. Its superior malleability and ductility make it an excellent option for creating wire and other thin conductive material. When combined with other metals like silicon, tin, nickel and silver, copper becomes even more durable and less susceptible to cracking over time.
Thanks to its low melting point of 425 degrees Celsius, zinc metal casting is ideally suited for die-cast materials. Because it can melt and cool in a short period of time it is one of the easiest metals to cast into complex shapes that feature both precision and durability.
One of the most universally capable metals when it comes to casting happens to be aluminum. Thanks to its wide range of features such as superior conductivity, corrosion resistance, malleability and durability, aluminum metal casting can be effective for a huge number of applications. These include things like sand casting, die casting, permanent mold casting and much more. For its adaptability and relative cost effectiveness compared to other metals mentioned above, aluminum is one of the best options for metal casting of any kind.