The mechanical properties of a metal can be significantly influenced by its internal microstructure. When a molten metal is cast into a solid shape, it forms a crystalline structure. It is actually very difficult to create a single crystal, so all of the stainless steel, nickel alloys and copper alloys that we stock are made up of a huge number of individual crystals or ‘grains’. The boundaries between these individual grains work to slow down the deformation of the metal when subject to an external load i.e. a metal with a fine grain size will have a higher yield strength than one with a coarse grain size.
A cast component will cool down very slowly from the molten state. This encourages the formation of relatively large grains, and so the component will have a lower strength. When a cast ingot is forged, the reduction in section helps to breakdown individual grains and ‘refine’ their size. This results in a far finer grain structure with increased strength and more consistent properties in different axes. Therefore, forged bars and components will typically have a higher strength than cast components.
If you have any more questions about sourcing forged or cast components in austenitic or duplex stainless steels, nickel alloys or high-performance copper alloys, please contact us today. A member of our team will be more than happy to help and can also advise you on the best option for your application.