The impact and solidification of 4 mm molten aluminum alloy 380 droplets on a tool steel substrate was studied both analytically and experimentally. Temperature histories at different radial location on the substrate surface under impacting droplets were recorded using an array of thin film thermocouples with response times less than 1 µs. Photographs were taken of droplet impact onto the substrate. Initial substrate temperature was varied from room temperature to 300°C and average surface roughness from 0.5 to 5.0 µm. Estimates of thermal contact resistance were made by matching measured substrate temperatures with an analytical solution for surface temperature variation. A model of the true area of contact between molten metal and a rough surface was developed in order to predict how contact resistance changes with surface roughness and contact pressure. Impact of molten aluminum alloy droplets was simulated using a three-dimensional numerical. Using values of thermal contact resistance predicted by the model gave good agreement between computed and observed droplet shapes during impact.

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