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Magnesium For Diecasting

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Magnesium (Mg) has a specific gravity of 1.74 g/cc, making it the lightest commonly used structural metal. Alloy AZ91D offers the highest strength of the commercial magnesium die casting alloys.

Alloys AM50A and AM60B are used in applications requiring good elongation, toughness and impact resistance, combined with reasonably good strength and excellent corrosion resistance. AM50A contains 5% aluminum whereas AM60B contains 6%. Ductility increases as aluminum content decreases, but at the expense of castability and strength. Therefore, the alloy with the highest aluminum content that will meet the application requirements should be chosen.

The following are among the more common magnesium applications: auto parts such as transfer cases, cam covers, steering columns, brake and clutch pedal brackets, clutch housings, seat frames, and dash board supports. Non-automotive products include chain saws, portable tools, vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, household mixers, blood pressure testing machines, slide and movie projectors, cameras, radar indicators, tape recorders, sports equipment, calculators, postage meters, computers, telecommunications equipment, fractional horsepower motors, solar cells, snowmobiles and luggage.

The magnesium alloys exhibit the best machinability of any group of commercially used metal alloys, although special precautions must routinely be taken when machining or grinding magnesium castings.

Decorative finishes can be applied to magnesium die castings by painting, chromate and phosphate coatings, as well as plating. Magnesium castings can be effectively plated by applying an initial immersion zinc coating, followed by conventional copper nickel chromium plating procedure generally used for plating zinc metal/alloys.

Magnesium underbody auto parts, exposed to severe environmental conditions, are now used with no special coatings or protection. Other Mg die castings, such as computer parts, are often given a chemical treatment. This treatment or coating protects against tarnishing or slight surface corrosion which can occur on unprotected magnesium die castings during storage in moist atmospheres. Painting and anodizing further serve as an environmental corrosion barrier. Improved wear resistance can be provided to magnesium die castings with hard anodizing or hard chrome plating.

For more information about the advantages of magnesium, click here.

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Last updated February 24, 2008