Direct Chill Casting

Vertical direct chill casting is the most widely used method of casting aluminum for subsequent forming. Direct chill casting is characterized by continuous solidification of the metal while it is being poured. The length of an ingot cast using this method is determined by the vertical distance it is allowed to drop rather than by mold dimensions. Molten aluminum is tapped from the melting furnace and flows through a distributor channel into a shallow mold. Noncontact cooling water circulates within this mold, causing solidification of the aluminum. The base of the mold is attached to a hydraulic cylinder that is gradually lowered as pouring continues. As the solidified aluminum leaves the mold it is sprayed with contact cooling water, reducing the temperature of the forming ingot. The cylinder continues to lower into a tank of water, causing cooling of the ingot as it is immersed. When the cylinder has reached its lowest position, pouring stops and the ingot is lifted from the pit. The hydraulic cylinder is then raised and positioned for another casting cycle. Lubrication of the mold is required to ensure proper ingot quality. Lard or castor oil is usually applied before casting begins and may be reapplied during the drop.

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