4th International Conference on Advances in Solidification Processes
8-11th July 2014, Beaumont Estates, Old Windsor, UK

Prof John Campbell - University of Birmingham, UK

Educated at Cambridge, Sheffield and Birmingham he first trained as a physicist, then became a metallurgical engineer, but finally has spent most of his life in foundries where he thinks he has made more cylinder heads than he has had hot dinners.

He developed the Cosworth Casting Process, then a novel process making Al alloy cylinder heads and blocks for the Formula One racing engines, using counter-gravity filling of molds by electromagnetic pumps. Later still, after 15 years as Professor of Casting Technology in the University of Birmingham, UK, he has worked for over ten years with his partner in the USA, John Grassi, to set up a new casting operation, Alotech, helping to develop the new and exciting Ablation Casting Process.

His “COMPLETE CASTINGS HANDBOOK” published in 2011 is not light bed-time reading, but is a bargain for the determined and fearless reader with an open mind.

He continues to work in the industry, in different parts of the world, introducing the new casting concepts to greatly improve quality and reduce costs, re-designing their foundries to adopt new melting and counter-gravity techniques for the production of fault-free castings which promise to herald a revolution in engineering attainment.


Sixty Years of Casting Research

John Campbell

Department of Metallurgy and Materials, University of Birmingham, UK

The sixty years of solidification research since the publication of Chalmer’s constitutional undercooling in 1953 has been a dramatic advance of understanding of the science of solidification which has been, and continues to be, an inspiration. In contrast, sixty years of casting research has seen mixed fortunes. One of its success stories relates to improvements in inoculation of gray irons, and another to the discovery of spheroidal graphite iron, although both of these can be classified as metallurgical rather than casting advances. It is suggested that true casting advances have dated from the author’s lab in 1992 when a critical surface turbulence condition was defined for the first time. This last twenty years have seen the surface entrainment issues of castings developed to a sufficient sophistication to revolutionize the performance of light alloy and steel foundries. However, there is still a long way to go, with large sections of the steel and Ni-base casting industries still in denial that casting defects are important or even exist. The result has been that special ingots are still cast poorly, and shaped casting operations have suffered and continue to suffer massive losses. For secondary melted and cast materials, ESR has the potential to be significantly superior to expensive VAR, which has cost our aerospace and defence industries dearly over the years. This failure to address and upgrade our processing of liquid metals is a serious concern, since the principle entrainment defect, the bifilm, is seen as the principle initiator of pores and cracks in both liquid and solid metals; in general, bifilms are the Griffith cracks to initiate failure by cracking. A new generation of crack resistant metals and engineering structures can now be envisaged.