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This chapter describes various aspects of the billet making process and how they affect the quality of aluminum extrusions. It begins with an overview of the direct-chill continuous casting technique and its advantages over other methods, particularly for hard aluminum alloys. It then discusses the influence of casting variables, including pouring temperature and cooling rate, and operating considerations such as the make-up of charge materials, fluxing and degassing procedures, and grain refining. The chapter also provides information on vertical and horizontal casting systems, billet homogenization, and the cause of casting defects, including cracking and splitting, segregation, porosity, and grain growth.

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