Manufacturing engineering has had to undergo drastic changes in the approach to material selection in order to meet new design challenges. In the automotive industry, researchers in their effort to reduce emissions and satisfy environmental regulations, have shifted their focus to new emerging materials such as high-strength aluminium alloys, metal matrix composites, plastics, polymers and of late, Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI). ADI is a good choice for design where the criterion is high performance at reduced weight and cost. The unique, ausferrite microstructure gives the material desirable material properties and an edge over other materials. A comparative study of ADI in terms of materials properties and machining characteristics with other materials is desirable to highlight the potential of the material. This paper focuses on a comparative assessment of material and machining characteristics of ADI for different applications. The properties under consideration are machinability, weight and cost savings and versatility. ADI has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than aluminium making it a ready alternative for material selection. In terms of machinability, there are some problems associated with machining of ADI due to its work hardening nature. This paper attempts to identify the possible potential applications of ADI, by critically reviewing specific applications such as machinability, overall economics and service.

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