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“What is to be done, then?” said Elphinstone, with a puzzled air.

“Employ another metal instead of cast iron.”

“Copper?” said Morgan.

“No; that would be too heavy. I have better than that to offer.”“What then?” asked the major.

“Aluminum!” replied Barbicane.

“Aluminum?” cried the three friends of the president in chorus.

“Unquestionably, my honorable friends. You know that the famous French chemist Henry Sainte-Claire Deville was the first one who in 1854 managed to produce aluminum in solid form. This valuable metal possesses the whiteness of silver, the indestructibility of gold, the tenacity of iron, the fusibility of copper, and the lightness of glass. It is easily wrought, is very widely distributed, forming the base of most of the rocks, is three times lighter than iron, and seems to have been created for the express purpose of furnishing us with the material for our projectile.”

“Hurrah aluminum!” shouted the Secretary of the Committee, always the loudest in the moments of rapture.

De la Terre à la Lune by Jules Verne, according to publication From the Earth to the Moon and Round the Moon, the Journey Undertaken in 87 Hours, Polish Weekly Review “Ruch Literacki,” 1875

Those of you who happen to have worked in a laboratory know very well that the images seen under the microscope often resemble a magical world full of the most original combinations of colors, designs, and ornaments. Those who have never done laboratory work, and to whom words such as “microscopy,” “microstructure,” and “alloy constituents” sound very odd, can find a new realm of impressions while looking at pictures that reveal to us the mysterious world of the interior structure of a metal. Giving readers this atlas of microstructures of aluminum-silicon casting alloys, I want to share with them my experience and research methodology that, to some extent, are an outcome and a kind of summary of the many years of my work in a metallographic laboratory of the Foundry Research Institute in Kraków. My intention is clear: I want to offer industrial and scientific laboratory workers a direct and substantive aid—a kind of tool for visual analysis of microscopic images of the microstructures of casting aluminum alloys, as examined during routine laboratory procedures. The gallery of microstructure images presented in the atlas has been selected and put in a systematic order with two main goals in mind:

  • Help the reader who has an image of the alloy microstructure identify from this image the examined alloy in a gallery of standard casting aluminum-silicon alloys.

  • Help the reader identify the typical microstructure of an alloy based on its estimated cooling rate.

This book is the result of the work of many people. First of all, I would like to highlight the enormous contribution of Grażyna Mrówka-Nowotnik, DSc, from Rzeszów University of Technology for the elaboration of Chapter II. My sincere words of gratitude and thanks are due to my colleagues from the Foundry Research Institute in Kraków: Grażyna Sęk-Sas, PhD, Edward Czekaj, DSc, and Piotr Dudek, PhD, who prepared alloys and castings; Łukasz Boroń, MSc, who made the metallographic cross sections for microscopic examinations; Krystyna Bany-Kowalska, MA, who revised the English text. Warm words of gratitude I give to Professor Jan Sieniawski from Rzeszów University of Technology for valuable comments and guidance. I want to thank Professor Jerzy Sobczak, Director of the Foundry Research Institute in Kraków, for support I received.

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