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Home > Tips and Facts > Understanding Cast Irons > White Iron

Understanding Cast Irons - White Iron

If the composition of the iron is appropriate or the cooling rate of the metal is sufficiently rapid during solidification, the metal will solidify with the C combined with iron as iron carbide. This compound, also called cementite, is hard and brittle and dominates the microstructure of white iron. Thus, white iron is hard and brittle and has a white crystalline fracture because it is essentially free of graphite.

White iron has a high compressive strength and excellent wear resistance, and it retains its hardness for limited periods even up to a red heat. It can be produced in selected areas of a casting—such as on the periphery of a cam—by causing localized rapid solidification of the iron. White iron at the surface of a casting is called chill. It is produced by making that portion of the mold—where the white iron is desired—of a material that can extract heat very rapidly, such as iron or graphite. White iron does not have the easy castability of other irons because its solidification temperature is generally higher, and it solidifies with C in its combined form as iron carbide.

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Atlas Foundry Company, Inc.
601 N. Henderson Avenue
Marion, IN 46952-3348
Telephone: (765) 662-2525 • Fax: (765) 662-2902
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Understanding Cast Irons
  1. Introduction
  2. Gray Iron
  3. Ductile Iron
  4. Compacted Graphite Iron
  5. Malleable Iron
  6. White Iron
  7. High Alloy Irons