Aluminum paper foiled by slew of errors

Alloys of various metals

The authors of a 2019 paper on the properties of an aluminum alloy have retracted the work because, well, it was pretty much wrong.

The article, “Effect of ultrasonic temperature and output power on microstructure and mechanical properties of as-cast 6063 aluminum alloy,” appeared in the March issue of the Journal of Alloys and Compounds, an Elsevier title. The authors are affiliated with Taiyuan University of Science and Technology in China.  

According to the abstract

The effect of an ultrasonic temperature and output power on microstructure and mechanical properties of 6063 aluminum alloy during solidification was investigated by optical microscopy, hardness test, tensile test, SEM. The results showed that compared with the grains in samples without UST, those of under UST are much finer. The grain size approaches to about 80 μm at 750 °C and 600 W and the grain size decreases continuously with falling of test temperature. The grain refinement is significantly affected by temperature than the output power of ultrasonic sound. After UST, the intermetallic phases volume fraction is about 6%, which is much smaller than that (about 11%) of without UST, and no dendrites exsist [sic] in the samples after UST. The fracture surface is more uniform without UST, and the reduction of cleavage plane and showing of a typical tearing characteristic demonstrates great improvement of this alloy’s mechanical properties.

But the retraction notice tarnishes those claims: 

This article is retracted at the request of authors and the Editor-in-Chief.

The authors declared that the reasons for retraction are the following:

1. The chemical composition analysis of materials selected in the experiment was wrong, resulting in inaccurate data;

2. The frequency setting of ultrasonic generator in the experimental scheme is wrong, and the overall experimental scheme needs to be confirmed;

3. The cavitation bubbles were not shown in the microstructure results, which is not corresponding to the expression in the paper;

4. Due to the mistake in material selection, the experimental test points in table 2 are not accurate

Based on the above reasons, this paper cannot be reproduced experimentally.

Apologies to the readers that this was not noticed in an earlier stage.

The corresponding author of the paper has not responded to a request for comment from Retraction Watch, and the editor of the journal could not be reached.

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