Deformation of Aluminium Dendrite


The aim of the present study was to understand and simulate the deformation behavior of a semi-solid during twin roll casting of aluminum alloys. AL-12 wt.% Cu alloy was used, this is directionally solidified and quenched to freeze the columnar dendrite structure. The structure was scanned and a simulation was created.


  • Based on X-ray tomography (XMT)
  • Deformation of semi-solid
  • Accurate mesh of complex multiphase material
  • Scan to mesh in 10 minutes

Thanks to

D. Fuloria and P. Lee (Imperial College London)

Image Processing

A sample of material, 6mm in diameter and 60mm in length was scanned in a commercial Microtomography (XMT) unit, producing a 7.2µm voxel size image. A single Al dendrite was segmented out from the Al-Cu matrix using the semi-automated segmentation tools within ScanIP.

Mesh Generation

The segmented data was meshed using the +FE module in less than 5 minutes. The complex structure of a single Al dendrite was accurately represented, providing the basis for finite element simulation.


The deformation behaviour of the meshed dendrite structure was simulated using Abaqus by applying a compressive displacement of 25µm at the top face and fixing the bottom face. For this preliminary study, the dendrites were assumed to have the properties of pure aluminium.