Magnesium alloys due to their low density and high strength-to-weight ratio are promising material for the automotive and aerospace industries. Many elements made from magnesium alloys are produced by means of sand casting. It is essential to investigate impact of the applied mould components on the microstructure and the quality of the castings. For the research, six identical, 100x50x20mm plates has been sand cast from the Elektron 21 magnesium casting alloy. Each casting was fed and cooled in a different way: one, surrounded by mould sand, two with cast iron chills 20mm and 40mm thick applied, another two with the same chills as well as feeders applied and one with only the feeder applied. Solid solution grain size and eutectics volume fraction were evaluated quantitatively in Met-Ilo program, casting defects were observed on the scanning electron microscope Hitachi S3400N. The finest solid solution grain was observed in the castings with only the chills applied. Non metallic inclusions were observed in each plate. The smallest shrinkage porosity was observed in the castings with the feeders applied.
The Mg-RE alloys are attractive, constructional materials, especially for aircraft and automotive industry, thanks to combination of low density, good mechanical properties, also at elevated temperature, and good castability and machinability. Present paper contains results of fatigue resistance test carried out on Elektron 21 magnesium alloy, followed by microstructural and fractographical investigation of material after test. The as-cast material has been heat treated according to two different procedures. The fatigue resistance test has been conducted with 106 cycles of uniaxial, sine wave form stress between 9 MPa and 90 MPa. Fractures of specimens, which ruptured during the test, have been investigated with scanning electron microscope. The microstructure of specimens has been investigated with light microscopy. Detrimental effect of casting defects, as inclusions and porosity, on fatigue resistance has been proved. Also the influence of heat treatment's parameters has been described.