Chunky graphite is a particular form of graphite degeneracy that appears in the centre of large iron castings, with a well-defined transition from the outer unaffected area and the inner affected one. All previous works that looked for macrosegration to explain the phenomenon concluded that there are no significant composition differences between the inner and outer parts of such castings. This was challenged again because the analytical methods generally used for chemical analysis are not efficient for low-level elements. Accordingly, an ICP-MS procedure has been developed and validated to replace the usual ICP-OES method. Together with the usual methods for analysis of C, S and Si, this ICP-MS procedure has been applied to characterize chemical heterogeneities in a large block with chunky graphite in its centre, and to a standard part for comparison. It could be concluded that no macrosegregation has built up during the solidification process of the block investigated, i.e. that chunky graphite appearance is not related to any composition changes at the scale of the cast parts, in particular of elements known to affect graphite shape such as Ce, Mg, Sb, S, ···.
2011 by The Iron and Steel Institute of Japan