TECHNICAL PAPER

Indian Foundry JournalIndian Foundry JournalIndian Foundry JournalIndian Foundry JournalIndian Foundry Journal

23

Vol 58

No. 4

April 2012Mould filling takes the shortest time in the lifecycle of a cast product, yetexerts the most influence on its quality. Complete, smooth and uniform fillingof mould with clean metal is achieved by an appropriate gating system, whichcomprises one or more pouring basins, sprues, runners and gates. Thenumber, location, shape and size of the gating elements determine thesequence and rate of flow of molten metal into the mould cavity. There arehowever, no mathematical models to estimate the discharge and volume of flow through each gate. This is needed to balance the flow through multiplegates (by adjusting their position and cross-sectional area), and to ensurethat the mould cavity is filled in an optimal time. In this work, we presentexperimental and simulation studies on discharge through multiple gatesconnected to a horizontal runner. Experiments are conducted by tap andcollect method using water and the volume of flow through each gate isobserved for two different setups: end-sprue and centre-sprue. The resultsare compared with computer simulation, providing valuable insights usefulfor designing multi-gate systems.KKKKKeyweyweyweyweywororororords:ds:ds:ds:ds: Gating system, Hydraulic approach, Numerical simulation.

INTRODUCTION

To study the fluid flow through gating systems and to evaluate theirdesign, three approaches have been adopted in casting industry. Theseare: (1) empirical relations derived from experimental observations,(2) hydraulics based analysis involving Bernoulli’s and continuityequation, and (3) numerical simulation involving solution of the massand momentum conservation relations. In this paper, we first reviewhydraulic based analysis of gating systems. Experiments on a multi-gate gating system using water in a transparent mould are performedto study the flow behaviour. Later commercial software is used tosimulate the experimental models.Proper design of a gating system can be made easier by the applicationof several fundamental principles of fluid flow. Chief among theseprinciples are Bernoulli’s theorem, the law of continuity, and the effect

Flow Rates in Multi-Gate Systems : Experimental andSimulation Studies

+

K.H. RenukanandaK.H. RenukanandaK.H. RenukanandaK.H. RenukanandaK.H. Renukananda

1

, Akash Chavan, Akash Chavan, Akash Chavan, Akash Chavan, Akash Chavan

2

and B. Raviand B. Raviand B. Raviand B. Raviand B. Ravi

3

1

Ph.D. Research Scholar, Mechanical Engineering Department, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai.E-mail: renukananda@iitb.ac.in

2

Masters Student, Mechanical Engineering Department, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai,E-mail: achavan.13@gmail.com

3

Professor, Mechanical Engineering Department, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai,E-mail: prof.b.ravi@gmail.com

of momentum. Two basic assumptions have to be made beforehydraulics can be applied to gating problems. The first is that all moltenmetal poured remains liquid until filling of mould cavity is completedand second one is that the molten metal behaves like true liquid.One of the earliest investigations of flow through gates was publishedby Dietert

etal.

(1926), who from practical experience established alaw for pouring rate, depending on the thickness of section cast andcasting weight which was later used to find the total ingate area usingan empirical formula. Later many researchers developed differentempirical relations either based on Dietert’s equations or their own forgating system design. Petin (1937, 1939) modified Torricelli’s formulato also incorporate the height of the casting, for top and bottom pouring,from which he calculated the overall loss-coefficient. Severalinvestigators, Osann (1939), Lehmann (1941), Stone (1951) usedmodifications or similar formulas to compute the total ingate area andloss-coefficients. These empirical relations were later proved to belimited to a particular casting. This influenced many researchers toapply hydraulic principles to design gating system in castings.Most of the investigations mentioned above aimed at calculating thetotal ingate area required to fill a casting in a given time. Throughexperimental investigation, it is well- known that in the case of castingsfed through several gates, all the gates do not fill evenly and some of them carry more molten metal than others. Johnson

etal.

(1950)observed that the discharge is highest in the gates farther to sprue andit reduces from farther to nearer gates. It is possible from hydraulicprinciples to calculate the amount of metal carried into the mould byeach ingate at least for the case where gates are on the same level.The first analysis of overall loss coefficient on a hydraulic basis wascarried out by Miaskowski (1932). He considered gating systemcomposed of an assembly of geometrically simple components andworked out the total friction losses as a sum of individual losses at

+ The paper was originally presented at 60th Indian Foundry Congress held during February 2-4, 2012 in Bangalore.

TECHNICAL PAPER

24

Indian Foundry JournalIndian Foundry JournalIndian Foundry JournalIndian Foundry JournalIndian Foundry Journal

Vol 58

No. 4

April 2012

these various components. He derived equations for loss-factors,determined by the flow of water.A comprehensive theoretical and experimental study was carried outby Berger and Locke (1951) in the context of applying fluid dynamicsin design of multiple-gating systems by making use of continuityequation, Bernoulli’s equation of law of conservation, and dischargeequation. He suggested that the ratio of flow rates from two gatesdepends on the two dimensionless ratios (gate to runner area ratiosand discharge coefficient ratios). It implies that flow ratios are apparentlyindependent of the distance between the gates, or the length of therunner between the gates.Ruddle (1955) proposed a method for calculating relative flows fromdifferent gates by precisely computing the frictional and head lossesat different channels. The total losses represented by the coefficients,are the sum of several separate losses. This enables the overall lossesto be computed, provided the individual coefficients are known.The pipe-node-path representation proposed by Kannan (1991) andlater modified by Bradley etal. (1993), facilitates data input andautomatic assembly of the system of energy balance and continuityequations governing flow in the gating system. The approach is torepresent a gating system as an assembly of pipe segments connectedat nodes. Individual pipe segments are identified with numbers andnodes by alphabets. Determination of the flow rate in each pipe segmentis accomplished by writing an energy balance equation for each path inthe system and a continuity equation for each node, and then bysolving the system of simultaneous algebraic equations.Large castings require multiple gates so that all sections fill atapproximately the same time. Uniform filling ensures less variation inmechanical properties developed during solidification. This is influencedby flow parameters like pressure, velocity, discharge and geometricparameters in a multi-gate gating system (Fig. 1). Discharge variationin such a system reported earlier(Johnson etal., Berger etal.) showsonly a discharge trend in a multi-gate system. Actual discharge ineach gate is required to optimise the flow to be smooth and uniform. Todetermine the correct location and cross-sectional area of each gatein such a gating system, discharge through each gate has to bepredicted. This requires the determination of loss coefficients duringflow through the gating channels. The current work presents the resultsof experiments carried out on horizontal multi-gate gating system withfour gates, followed by computer simulation, to study the variation indischarge and velocity. The experimental setup and observations arediscussed in the next section.

EXPERIMENTAL STUDIES

The modular experimental setup for studying the flow of liquid in amulti-gate gating system is shown in Fig. 2. It consists of a pouringbasin, a tapered sprue of circular cross-section, a runner of constantsquare cross-section (15 mm x 15 mm) and four gates of same areaof rectangular cross-section (9 mm x 18 mm). All these are cut intoPerspex blocks and joined for leak-less flow of water. The experimentalsetup is designed with a gating ratio of 1:2:1.5. In the first set of experiments, the sprue is placed at one end, with all four gates to oneside, spaced equi-distant from each other. In the second set of experiments, the sprue is placed in the centre, with two gates on eitherside as shown in Fig. 3. Each set includes seven experiments, withFig. 2Fig. 2Fig. 2Fig. 2Fig. 2: Experimental Setup - End Sprue Arrangement.Expt.Volume through gates (cm

3

)NumberGate 1Gate 2Gate 3Gate 4Time (sec)13404185067369.92468657Closed8759.83470Closed6608709.94888ClosedClosed1112115Closed854Closed114610.762000ClosedClosedClosed12.57ClosedClosedClosed200013.6TTTTTablablablablable-1: Re-1: Re-1: Re-1: Re-1: Reeeeesulsulsulsulsulttttts of Exps of Exps of Exps of Exps of Experimenterimenterimenterimenteriments with End Ss with End Ss with End Ss with End Ss with End SprueprueprueprueprueArrangementArrangementArrangementArrangementArrangementFig. 1:Fig. 1:Fig. 1:Fig. 1:Fig. 1: Flow Through Multiple Gates [ASM, 2009].

TECHNICAL PAPER

Indian Foundry JournalIndian Foundry JournalIndian Foundry JournalIndian Foundry JournalIndian Foundry Journal

25

Vol 58

No. 4

April 2012

different combinations of gates being open or closed. Water is pumpedinto the pouring basin to maintain a constant head. Potassiumpermanganate is used to colour the water for better visibility during itsflow. The amount of water coming out of each gate is collected into jars and measured. The total time, from start of filling of pouring basinto 2000 cm

3

volume of flow through the pouring basin, is noted. Eachindividual experiment is repeated thrice and the average values areused for analysis. All experiments are also recorded on video forverification and analysis.The observations of the experiments are tabulated in Table-1 for end-sprue arrangement and in Table-2 for centre-sprue arrangement. Inthe end-sprue arrangement, the time taken to fill a given total volumeof liquid depends on the number of open gates and their position, asseen in Table-1. In the first experiment, all four gates are open and filltime is just under 10 seconds. In the last two experiments, only onegate is open, and the fill time is more than 12 seconds. However, inexperiment 6, in which only the first gate is open, has a slightly lessfilling time (12.5 seconds) than experiment 7, in which only the lastgate is open (13.6 seconds). This can be attributed to the fact that thegates closer to the sprue receive metal earlier than other gates, andalso have a higher velocity of flow due to lower flow losses (owing toshorter distance of flow). The difference in fillingtime is less apparent in centre sprue arrangementbecause of a more balanced flow, as seen inTable-2.The discharge (flow rate) through different gates,when all the gates are open, is observed to be thehighest in the gate farthest to sprue and least in thegate closest to the sprue as seen by the calculatedresults in Table-3. In the end-sprue arrangementwith all gates open (experiment 1), the flow throughgate 4, which is the farthest from the sprue, is morethan twice the flow through gate 1, which is thenearest to the sprue. If one or more gates are closed,then there is obviously more discharge through theopen gates, compared to the discharge when allgates are open. In experiments 6 and 7, thedischarge through the single open gate is about twice the highestdischarge (through the last gate) when all gates are open.In the centre-sprue arrangement with all gates open (experiment 1),the flow through gates 1 and 4 (farthest from sprue) is about 50%more than the flow through gates 2 and 3 (closest to sprue). The flowis fairly mirrored on both sides of the sprue, as seen in Fig. 4. When oneof the gates nearest to the sprue is closed (experiments 2 and 3), thenthe discharge through the remaining gates increases by 20-25%. Thisimbalance in discharge can be observed from plot shown in Fig. 5.Another observation is that the velocity is the highest in the gate nearestto the sprue, and the lowest in the gate farthest from the sprue.

NUMERICAL SIMULATION

Numerical simulation is performed by solving Navier-Stokes equations.This consists of mass, momentum and energy equations, which aresimultaneously solved to analyse fluid flow or a coupled fluid andthermal behaviour. A number of numerical codes exist today, many of which are commercially available. In this work, simulation wasperformed using NovaFlow (Novacast AB, Sweden), which is based oncontrol volume method (Novacast, 2012).TTTTTablablablablable-3: Dischare-3: Dischare-3: Dischare-3: Dischare-3: Discharge Thrge Thrge Thrge Thrge Through Diff ough Diff ough Diff ough Diff ough Diff erererererent Gent Gent Gent Gent Gaaaaattttteeeees in the Ts in the Ts in the Ts in the Ts in the Twwwwwo Setupo Setupo Setupo Setupo Setupsssss End Sprue ArrangementCentre Sprue ArrangementExpt.Discharge through gates (cm

3

/s)Discharge through gates (cm

3

/s)No.Gate 1Gate 2Gate 3Gate 4Gate 1Gate 2Gate 3Gate 4134.442.251.174.465.843.140.360247.666.8Closed88.984.454.5Closed85.2347.4Closed66.387.873.6Closed48.775.6488.5ClosedClosed110.7Closed92.751.275.85Closed84.4Closed113.478.751.782.4Closed6159.3ClosedClosedClosed102.9ClosedClosed97.87ClosedClosedClosed146.6Closed108.5100.8ClosedTTTTTablablablablable-2: Re-2: Re-2: Re-2: Re-2: Reeeeesulsulsulsulsulttttts of Exps of Exps of Exps of Exps of Experimenterimenterimenterimenteriments with Centrs with Centrs with Centrs with Centrs with Centre Se Se Se Se SprueprueprueprueprueArrangementArrangementArrangementArrangementArrangementExpt.Volume through gates (cm

3

)NumberGate 1Gate 2Gate 3Gate 4Time (sec)16304123855739.52744Closed49276410.13754486Closed7608.94Closed8444666909.15740485775Closed9.461025ClosedClosed9759.97Closed1038962Closed9.5Fig. 3:Fig. 3:Fig. 3:Fig. 3:Fig. 3: Experimental Setup –Centre Sprue Arrangement.