FeZr Master Alloys
The ferro zirconium 80% master alloy is employed in the ferrous metal industry. Zirconium is a strong grain refiner and denitrifier, a powerful deoxidizer and also acts as an excellent sulfide shape controller. Appropriate additions of zirconium enhance impact resistance, yield strength and the hardenability of steels.
In addition, the alloy can be utilized as a zirconium additive and serves as a beneficial trace element in cobalt and nickel-based super alloys wherein iron does not have a detrimental influence.
Applications of FeZr Master Alloys
FeZr serves as a grain refiner in steel and cast iron
FeZr is used in carbide formation, desulphurisation, deoxidation, nitrogen scavenging
Ferro-Zirconium or more accurately, Zirconium-Iron (80% Zr: 20% Iron), is a master alloy used in the production of stainless steels, special steels and some cobalt and nickel-base superalloys. As with copper-zirconium, this master alloy is a means by which Zirconium is added to an alloy.
Zirconium is a strong grain refiner but also acts as a ‘getter’ of nitrogen, sulphides and oxides while aiding carbide formation. The addition of Zirconium improves impact resistance, yield strength and hardenability (a measure of the capacity of steel to be hardened in depth when quenched from its austenitic temperature).
At Lipmann Walton & Co Ltd, we commission production of 5x50mm FeZr lumps through our partners. We focus on tin-free FeZr by carefully controlling the Zirconium raw materials selected for re-melting, though tin-bearing FeZr is also available.
Ferro-Zirconium master alloy can be easily confused with ferro silicon zirconium, with dramatic effects. It is thought that a contributing factor in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill could have been the misuse of FeSiZr alloy instead of FeZr, which would have weakened components in the pipework. FeSiZr contains less than half the Zirconium content of FeZr master alloy.
Recent novel applications of special steels made with FeZr are exploited in certain amorphous alloy formulations. These applications are industrial hardware components for civil and marine construction, plant boiler tubes, gears and so forth as well as protective coatings for industrial machinery such as pipelines.
Why using rare metals to clean up the planet is no cheap fix
WE REAP seven times as much energy from the wind and 44 times as much energy from the sun as we did a decade ago. Is this good news? Guillaume Pitron, a French journalist and documentary maker, isn’t sure.
He is neither a climate sceptic nor a fan of inaction. But as the world moves to adopt a target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, Pitron worries about the costs. The figures in his book The Rare Metals War are stark. Changing the energy model means doubling the production of rare metals about every 15 years, mostly to satisfy demand for non-ferrous magnets and lithium-ion batteries. “At this rate,” writes Pitron, “over the next 30 years we… will need to mine more mineral ores than humans have extracted over the last 70,000 years.”
Before the Renaissance, humans had found uses for seven metals. During the industrial revolution, this increased to a mere dozen. Today, we have found uses for all 90-odd of them, and some are very rare. Neodymium and gallium, for instance, are found in iron ore, but there is 1200 times less neodymium and up to 2650 times less gallium than there is iron.