12th International Summer School on Light Alloys Casting

12th International Summer School on Light Alloys Casting

The 12th International Summer School on Light Alloys Casting – “From Innovative Design to Advanced Applications”

The international summer schools devoted to shape casting of light metals have been organized every two years or so by WPI and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), and have been held alternately in Norway and the United States. This year, the summer school tradition was continued, but a third venue was added: the University of Padova’s Department of Management and Engineering (DTG) in Vicenza, Italy. Held July 25 to 29, the school drew nearly 60 participants from 13 countries.

Professors Diran Apelian (WPI), Lars Arnberg (NTNU), and Franko Bonollo (DTG) opened the school on Monday with a brief history of the international summer schools, an overview of the school at Vicenza and announcement of the social program. The first day included lectures on the Integrated Approach to Design of Castings and Processes by Professor Bonollo and Solidification Fundamentals by Professor Arnberg that featured real-time synchrotron x-ray video images of dendritic solidification produced using the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France. The final lecture on Monday provided an overview of Performance Constraints and Challenges for Light Metals Castings presented by Dr. Alois Franke, CEO of Aluminium Rheinfelden in Germany.

An important aspect of every summer school is the numerous opportunities provided for students to engage with the lecturers and with each other. Coffee breaks and lunches each day provided many such opportunities and both students and lecturers gathered on Monday evening at a small café in the ancient palazzo dei NODARI for a welcome reception featuring local hors d’oeuvres and wines. Afterwards, the lecturers were given a special opportunity to mingle and exchange thoughts at Al Pestello where they were served delicious traditional Vicenza cuisine from a menu written in Dialettl Venneto (regional language).

The morning session on Tuesday covered Modeling of Fill and Solidification by Nicola Gramegna of Enginsoft in Padova, Italy and Professor Paolo Ferro of DTG. That was followed by a lecture from John Jorstad of J L J Technologies in the USA on Aluminum Alloys and another by Dr. Karl Kainer of GKSS Forschungszentrum Geesthacht in Germany on Magnesium Alloys.

Tuesday’s afternoon session covered Treatment of Liquid Alloys by Professor Apelian, Grain Refinement by Professor Lindsay Greer from Cambridge University in the UK and Eutectic Modification by Professor Arne Dahle from the University of Queensland in Australia. Dahle too has generated real-time synchrotron x-ray video images, his showing the growth of bAl5FeSi in 3-D.

Day three covered Casting Processes. The morning session was billed as conventional processes and the afternoon as advanced processes, but it was impossible to differentiate between those broad categories because lecturers introduced new concepts in every talk. The first lecture in the morning by David Weiss of Eck Industries in the USA was on Sand and Gravity Die Casting (Permanent Mold) Processes for Light Alloys and included both traditional information and the introduction of Ablation Casting which provides exceptionally rapid solidification rates in sand molds and shows promise to accommodate such normally-wrought alloys as 7075 so potentially provides mechanical properties far in excess the best available today. The second morning lecture was by Professor Lothar Kallien from the University of Aalen, Germany on Pressure Die Casting, Conventional and Innovative, and that lecture featured his research into hollow die castings, formed my gas ejection of remaining liquid following partial solidification. The afternoon session on Wednesday covered Squeeze and Semi Solid Processing of Light Alloys by John Jorstad and Processing of Advanced Composites by David Weiss, who presented both traditional MMCs and also nanocomposites.

On Wednesday evening all students and lecturers were transported to a wonderful social dinner at Ristorante Biasio, a historic restaurant founded in 1848 that features a terrace with a breathtaking over Vicenza. Fitting to the theme of the summer school, the motto of the restaurant is ‘innovation is well-made tradition’.

On Thursday, the morning session covered Casting Defects by Professor Bonollo and Simulation of Foundry Processes; the Fundamentals by Professor Kallien. The afternoon was devoted to Modeling Microstructure, Defects and Properties by Professors Bonollo and Giulio Timelli (DTG) and Innovative Design of Cast Components by Gramegna of Enginsoft.

Thursday night was the official event banquet, held at Trattoria Zamboni, a restaurant set in the Berici hills overlooking Vicenza and Fimon Lake and run by the Zamboni family for several generations. They are well known for their truffle-flavored dishes.

The final session of the summer school was on Friday morning and was devoted to Advanced Casting Applications. Dr. Claudio Mus, a consultant from Aosta, Italy, spoke about Advanced Aluminum Castings for Automotive, Diego Cacciatore from Lamborghini also spoke about Advanced Aluminum Castings for Automotive, Dr. Rodney Riek from Harley Davidson in the USA spoke about Advanced Aluminum Casting Applications for Custom Motorcycles and Dr. Kainer talked about Advanced Magnesium Castings.

All agreed that this was another outstanding international summer school, and all are anxious for the next one, to be held at WPI, probably in 2013.

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