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This chapter serves as a study and guide on the main phase constituents of cast aluminum-silicon alloys, alpha-Al solid solution and Si crystals. The first section focuses on the structure of Al-Si castings in the as-cast state, covering the morphology of the alpha-Al solid solution grains and the process by which they form. It describes how cooling rates, temperature gradients, and local concentrations influence the topology of the crystallization front, and how they play a role in determining the morphology and dispersion degree of the grains observed in cross sections of cast parts. It also describes the mechanism behind dendritic grain crystallization and how factors such as surface tension, capillary length, and lattice symmetry affect dendritic arm size and spacing. The section that follows examines the morphology of the silicon crystals that form in aluminum-silicon castings and its effect on properties and processing characteristics. It discusses the faceted nature of primary Si crystals and the modification techniques used to optimize their shape. It also describes the morphology of the (alpha-Al + Si) eutectic, which can be lamellar or rodlike in shape, and explains how it can be modified through temperature control or alloy additions to improve properties such as tensile strength and plasticity and reduce shrinkage.

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