Entrainment defects

John Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

235 Citations (Scopus)


Most metals start their lives in the liquid state, and are subjected to various transfers involving pouring or other types of surface turbulence. These actions entrain (fold in) the surface film to create entrainment defects. These are principally (a) bubbles that in turn create bubble trails; (b) bifilms; doubled over surface films, that act as cracklike defects; and (c) sundry entrained debris, collectively known as exogenous inclusions. The bifilm is the subject of this perspective. It appears to be a common, but serious and almost overlooked metallurgical defect. Analysis of bifilms provides a simple, powerful and elegant concept based on an enduring legacy from turbulence during the pouring of liquid metals. Usually large populations of bifilms are introduced into metals at an early stage of their production. In general their presence has been unsuspected because although they can have large area, they can often be only nanometres thick and not easily detected by conventional non-destructive techniques. The populations of cracks in suspension in liquid metal explains many otherwise inexplicable features of cast products such as porosity, hot tearing, the morphologies of second phases, and impaired reliability of mechanical properties. The fundamental difference between such entrained defects (associated with a macroscopic unbonded interface) and defects and inclusions grown in the melt is seen to be of central significance for the failures of metals by mechanical or corrosion type mechanisms. For wrought products the continued presence of bifilms, now usually extended and elongated and mainly occupying grain boundaries, appears to offer explanations for many metallurgical phenomena. Bifilms are likely to influence the development of texture, and are the most likely source for many types of failure in the solid state. Thus the limitations to superplastic forming, cavitation in tertiary creep, pitting corrosion of various types and stress corrosion cracking are likely to be profoundly affected by bifilms. Although the effects of bifilms can be reduced by expensive post-casting operations such as hipping or working, the major future potential lies in techniques for their avoidance. Some casting operations are already taking some first steps in new technology for their avoidance, and benefiting technically and commercially.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-145
Number of pages19
JournalMaterials Science and Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2006


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