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Argentium cracking?


#1

There have been several posts that mentioned cracking argentium. I
am familiar with how it cracks or breaks during fusing, when support
was obviously insufficient. But cracking much later ( as in the
example given of a dragonfly having cracked in the maker’s hand at a
show) - this is something I’d like to know more about.

Is there any way to observe in a newly finished piece the fault that
will eventually cause the cracking? Or do you only suspect it, based
on how the piece was handled during fusing or brazing?

I ask because I am constructing fused argentium rings, and at times,
in order to fuse-on certain elements, I have supported the shanks (
with pieces of solderite and rolled up chunks of “ceramic blanket”)
at various angles, i.e. not flat on the charcoal.

I do switch to soldering in the final stages. I don’t move my pieces
until they are cool. But I’d like to be able to somehow inspect
these rings to be quite sure they are structurally sound. Anyone
know how I could do this?

Susan


#2

Susan - this is just a thought - sometimes another field has answers
that we seek and I am wondering about the American Society for
Non-Destructive Testing and what they might offer. They use
penetrants in the form of sprays and gases - then look for instance
in black light. Cracks in large castings, even tiny cracks, stand out
clearly. Just a thought. Barbara on a night of the day when the fox
did not come.


#3

It could be an effect of age hardening (precipitation hardening).
essentially this is where heating causes the growth of brittle phases
in an alloy that harden it but make prone to cracking. I’m sure Jim
Binnion can tell you a lot more about the whys and wherefores but
this is not limited to Argentium by any means. Knowing what the alloy
is precisely will tell you phases are likely to grow and therefore
what you can do to prevent it or at least limit its effects.

Nick Royall