Since we recently started carrying Dura-Bar® Cast Iron stock, we’ve had a lot of customers contact us with variations of the same question: “The material seems interesting, but what is it good for?”

That’s a good question, and we’re here to answer it! We spoke to the manufacturer for recommended projects as well as customers who have used this for real world projects to give you specific examples.

Dura-Bar® Ductile Iron vs Carbon Steel

In many ways, Dura-Bar® Cast Iron are most similar to carbon steels, so that’s what we’ll compare them to here.

There are two grades of cast ductile iron:

65-45-12: This grade has high amounts of ferrite and low amounts of pearlite. The composition of this grade provides excellent machinability, optimal impact resistance, and high fatigue resistance.  Because of this, it is an excellent replacement for 1010, 1018, 1020, 12L14, 1212, and 1215 grades of steel.

80-55-06: This grade has a about a 50/50 mix of ferrite and pearlite. Therefore this grade is a bit less machinable than 65-45-12, but it is more durable and harder. It is well suited to replace medium carbon steels like 1040, 1045, 1060, 1141, and 1144.

Material Property 65-45-12 80-55-06 1018 1045 1117 1144 12L14
Tensile Strength (psi) 65,000 80,000 58,000 81,900 58,000 102,000 57,300
Yield Strength (psi) 45,000 55,000 31,900 45,000 31,900 60,900 34,100
Elongation % 12 6 25 16 25 21 22
Avg Hardness (BHN) 180 229 116 163 116 212 121
Machinability (1212 alloy=100%) 170% 95% 52% 56% 90% 83% 180%
Pieces/Insert Edge (relative tool life) 340 190 104 112 180 165 340

Gray Iron

Dura-Bar® Cast Iron comes in a third grade, G2, also known as Grey Iron. It is designed for applications requiring high wear resistance, vibration dampening, and good response to heat treatment. It is not ductile.

Cast Iron Inventory

We carry Dura-Bar® Cast Iron in Hollowbar, Round bar, Rectangle bar, and Square bar.

Example Customer Projects

Vibration Damping – gears

Numerous customers have switched their gears from steel to Dura-Bar® Cast Iron. The graphite inherent in the material cushions vibrations travelling through the part. Because of this, the gears and other components that are exposed to heavy vibrations will be quieter and retain tolerances better. However, they are generally suited for lower stress applications. Specifically, parts made from G2 cast iron have about 10 times the damping capacity as steel. The two ductile grades have about 3 times the damping.

Besides being significantly quieter, gears manufactured from cast iron provide lower costs. The raw material typically costs less than steel and as it is easier to machine, that saves time and is gentler on your tools.

Problems solved: Excessive vibration, noise, wear resistance, cost

cast iron dura-bar

Cast Iron gears made with G2 Gray Iron Dura-Bar®

Compressor Rotors

A customer was using 1045 carbon steel to make compressor rotors for a portable air pump and compressor. However, they were having issues with balance and high scrap rates on parts. So they decided to switch to a part made from 65-45-12 ductile iron. They reported reduced machining time, cheaper costs per part, and lowered tooling costs. Furthermore, they were pleased that their overall scrap rates dropped dramatically as well.

Problems solved: material quality, reduced scrap, and machinability.

cast iron dura-bar

Compressor rotor made with Cast Iron 65-45-12 grade Dura-Bar®

Cylinder Block – Piston Pump

A customer was using sand castings to create cylinder blocks for their piston pumps. They were experiencing issues with porosity, so they decided to try switching to ductile iron. Specifically, they chose the Dura-Bar® Cast Iron because the patented Continuous Cast process used to manufacture them results in a fine grained structure free of porosity.

The customer reported high satisfaction, higher quality parts, and greater wear resistance and lifetime use, resulting in lower costs for replacements. In fact, they reported that their costs for the part dropped 33% after switching to ductile iron.

Problems solved: Quality, wear resistance, cost.

cast iron dura-bar

Cylinder Blocks made with Cast Iron Dura-Bar® in multiple grades

Hydraulic Manifold

A customer was using Hot Rolled 1018 Carbon Steel to manufacture hydraulic manifolds, but they decided that their production time was too long and costs too high. Because of this, they switched to 65-45-12 ductile iron to make their parts. The performance was comparable to the steel, but manufacturing times were literally cut in half. The parts were easier and faster to machine, there was little to no deburring required, and less time spent changing worn tooling. This last note also resulted in lower total costs for the parts.

Problems solved: Machinability, pressure, cost.

cast iron dura-bar

Hydraulic manifold made from Cast Iron 65-45-12 grade Dura-Bar®


For our last example, a customer was using Hot Rolled 12L14 Carbon Steel to manufacture a pulley used in the transportation industry. They decided that their costs and rate of part replacement were too high. So they switched to 65-45-12. Immediately their cost per part dropped by about 15%, as their pieces were made faster with less wear on their tools. Additionally, the life expectancy of the parts increased as the superior durability and surface finish of the Cast Iron Dura-Bar® meant fewer necessary replacement parts. They also were pleasantly surprised to discover their shipping costs dropped a bit since Dura-Bars® are about 10% lighter than comparable steels.

Problems solved: Production times, poor surface finish, cost, poor wear resistance.

cast iron dura-bar

Pulley made from Cast Iron 65-45-12 grade Dura-Bar®

Would you like to know more?

Now that you’ve got some better ideas about what Dura-Bar® Cast Iron is good for, are you searching for more information? We’ve got an entire other blog post about that material with more data!

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