Aluminium Bronze alloys are already pretty wear-resistant. But there exists a special technology, which increases this wear-resistance even further and makes the material perfectly suitable for applications with high safety requirements such as roller coasters.
The hardness and the strength of a material play a central role when it comes to wear resistance. The principle here is that the harder a material, the more resistant it is to wear. However, with increased hardness, a material also becomes less deformable - its ductility decreases. The result: the material becomes fragile and breaks faster. If the material is too soft, the surface wears out much faster. A material must therefore be hard and still have high ductility. Thanks to years of experience in metallurgy, AMPCO METAL has developed a special manufacturing method that meets these high demands on a material.
MICROCAST®- the technology behind high perfoming alloys
When casting Aluminium Bronzes, a distinction is made between three different phases: the alpha phase, the beta phase and the intermetallic compound. Roughly speaking, the alloy is softened in the alpha phase. This has a positive effect on ductility, but the hardness of the material also suffers. The hardness and the strength are then produced in the beta phase. However, the metal is susceptible to embrittlement if unsuitable foundry techniques are used.
The MICROCAST® method is a production process developped by AMPCO METAL for the manufacture of various high-performance Aluminium Bronzes and special copper alloys. This method ensures an extremely fine and uniform grain microstructure, promoting excellent dispersion of the alloy's chemical elements guaranteeing consistency, quality and durability. The intermetallic compound is the key to maintaining good microstructure and superior physical properties. Thanks to the MICROCAST® technology, this intermetallic compound is unique in AMPCO® alloys and differs from that in commercial Aluminium Bronzes. This gives AMPCO® alloys a fine and uniform grain size, which sets them apart from other standard products.
How can wear resistance be guaranteed?
This special process makes AMPCO® alloys unique and gives them very special properties. They are therefore extremely stable over an enormous range of applications due to its superior quality. Basically, all Aluminium Bronzes are characterised by their wear resistance. Thanks to the MICROCAST® technology, AMPCO® bronzes achieve an even better wear resistance. But they are not completely immune to wear and tear - no metal is. Because after all, all metals are at the mercy of wear and tear. However, the excellent distribution of the alloying elements significantly increases the quality and durability of the alloy. Outstanding wear resistance is achieved when properly lubricated.
Aluminium Bronze - a suitable material in roller coaster construction
Amusement parks place very high demands on the components of their facilities because the safety of the passengers of a roller coaster has top priority. To ensure this safety, the materials used must be corrosion-resistant and wear-resistant as they're exposed to very harsh conditions. Furthermore, the tractive and frictional force as well as other forces are very strong on roller coasters. Among other things, Aluminium Bronze is characterized by its wear resistance and corrosion resistance. It is therefore very often used in the construction of brake pads components for roller coasters. Especially the high strength and fatigue resistance are big advantages of Aluminium Bronze. In addition, its shock and impact resistance are also exceptional.
It is precisely these advantages that make the materials AMPCO® M4 and AMPCO® 18 interesting for amusement parks. In the past, these two products have already been used in various roller coasters and amusement parks benefitting from MICROCAST® technology, which gives the alloys their excellent quality and longevity.
If you want to dive deeper into the various applications of Aluminium Bronze, download our Technical Paper «The advantages of Aluminium Bronze in corrosive environments».