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What are conditioners?

Optimizing slag separation in ductile iron treatments.

Conditioners (or cover alloys) provide a variety of benefits for ductile iron treatments, including improved magnesium recovery and simplified slag separation and removal. Elkem will work with your foundry team to select and supply the best conditioner for you, in whatever country you’re based.

Conditioners: Controlling the reaction of nodularizers in treatment ladles

The addition of magnesium ferrosilicon (FSM) nodularizer during the production of ductile iron causes an intense reaction, with the associated risk of low and variable magnesium recovery, metal spillage, emission of magnesium oxide fume, slag formation, and loss of nucleation.

To overcome these challenges, a conditioner can be used to cover the FSM within the ladle, to delay and control the intensity of the reaction. Various conditioners can be employed, but the best results are obtained with specially formulated ferrosilicon-based conditioners (also known as cover alloys). These ensure that the FSM reacts with the molten iron in a controlled manner, optimizing magnesium recovery within the treated iron.

Premium-quality conditioners from Elkem

Our TOPSEED™ conditioner offers several benefits for the production of ductile iron:

  • Due to its higher density and longer time for dissolution, it is highly effective at delaying the reaction of the FSM with the molten iron, minimizing magnesium loss and reducing fume generation. This in turn improves nucleation levels and reduces heat loss from the melt.
  • It helps to reduce slag-related issues in both the treatment ladle and the final castings, not only controlling its formation, but making it ‘drier’. This in turn makes the slag less prone to sticking to the sides of the ladle or causing inclusions, and makes removing it easier.
  • It improves process stability, and so optimizes other aspects of melt treatment, such as reducing consumption of FSM and inoculant.

In addition, the formulation of TOPSEED™ conditioner is also highly consistent from batch to batch, eliminating concerns over performance between runs.

With you at every step

We’re more than just manufacturers of foundry alloys – we’re collaborators too. We’ll start by listening carefully to your requirements, after which we’ll define the specification that will maximise cost-effectiveness and deliver the best product quality. And naturally, at every stage of the whole production process, you're guaranteed expert guidance and insight.

Plus, we’re the only manufacturer of foundry alloys with a dedicated network of metallurgists, process engineers and research staff distributed globally, and with manufacturing facilities close to all the principal foundry clusters. So wherever you’re based, you can be assured of expert service and prompt supply of conditioners and other foundry alloys for cast iron manufacture.

Sustainability at Elkem

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Foundry alloys for ductile iron

Foundry alloys for ductile iron

Ductile iron is a versatile material that has grown in popularity over recent decades, due to its excellent mechanical properties and castability. For these reasons, ductile iron castings are the preferred choice in many sectors, including wind energy, engineering and automotive industries.


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