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Cerium-Based, Intermetallic-Strengthened Aluminum Casting Alloy: High-Volume Co-product Development

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Journal
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Cerium-Based, Intermetallic-Strengthened Aluminum Casting Alloy: High-Volume Co-product Development
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Several rare earth elements are considered by-products to rare earth mining efforts. By using one of these by-product elements in a high-volume application such as aluminum casting alloys, the supply of more valuable rare earths can be globally stabilized. Stabilizing the global rare earth market will decrease the long-term criticality of other rare earth elements. The low demand for Ce, the most abundant rare earth, contributes to the instability of rare earth extraction. In this article, we discuss a series of intermetallic-strengthened Al alloys that exhibit the potential for new high-volume use of Ce. The castability, structure, and mechanical properties of binary, ternary, and quaternary Al-Ce based alloys are discussed. We have determined Al-Ce based alloys to be highly castable across a broad range of compositions. Nanoscale intermetallics dominate the microstructure and are the theorized source of the high ductility. In addition, room-temperature physical properties appear to be competitive with existing aluminum alloys with extended high-temperature stability of the nanostructured intermetallic.