In many industrial casting processes, knowledge of the solid fraction evolution during the solidification process is a key factor in determining the process parameters such as cooling rate, stirring intensity and in estimating the total solidification time. In the present work, a new method of estimating solid fraction is presented, which is based on calorimetric principles. In this method, the cooling curve data at each point in the melt, along with the thermal boundary conditions, are used to perform energy balance in the mould, from which solid fraction generation during any time interval can be estimated. This method is applied to the case of a rheocasting process, in which Al-Si alloy (A356 alloy) is solidified by stirring in a cylindrical mould placed in the annulus of a linear electromagnetic stirrer. The metal in the mould is simultaneously cooled and stirred to produce a cylindrical billet with non-dendritic globular microstructure. Temperature is measured at key locations in the mould to assess the various heat exchange processes prevalent in the mould and to monitor the solidification rate. The results obtained by energy balance method are compared with those by the conventional procedure of calculating solid fraction using the Schiel equation.

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