Malleable cast iron is an iron alloy containing a small percentage of carbon (typically between 2 and 4 percent). The material is formed when cast iron is heated to high temperatures, typically 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit, and then left to cool very slowly. Malleable cast iron has a range of features, such as strength, high resistance to wear and strong shock resistance, which makes it useful for a range of private and commercial purposes. The material is often used as an alternative to steel as it is cheaper to produce and use.
Malleable cast iron parts are commonly used in machine construction, typically in the paper, printing and agricultural industries, where the material is used to make oil, cooling and lubrication pipes. The material is also used in the construction of industrial plants where it is used for pressured air pipe, emulsion and gas work. The durability, resistance to heat and mechanical strength make malleable cast iron ideal for these fittings.
In the automotive industry malleable cast iron parts are used for cylinder blocks and heads as well as gearbox cases. The material is particularly effective for producing large scale parts in commercial vehicles. Malleable cast iron parts are also used in the railway industry, particularly for railroad track construction and carriage joining mechanisms. Here, the material’s ability to resist rust (oxidization) makes it well suited for heavy-duty use and exposure to extreme weather conditions. However, malleable cast iron’s use in the transport industry is in decline as more cost-effective, durable materials are being developed.
Heating, Cooling and Safety Systems
Malleable cast iron fittings can withstand high pressure conditions (above 5 bar on the pressure scale). This reliability means that they are commonly used in emergency systems, such as gas and sprinkler fire extinguishing mechanisms. For similar reasons, the parts are also used in cooling, air conditioning and heating systems in both private and commercial properties.
Malleable cast iron is commonly used in the gas industry as the narrow threads in the material allow pipes to be precisely aligned and sealed, reducing the cost of construction and the possibility of dangerous gas leakage. As well as domestic and commercial gas installation systems, malleable cast iron’s reliability means that it is used to build gas pipes during the construction of petrol stations.
- railway track image by Edsweb from Fotolia.com