Structure 3.1 3.2 Introduction

Moulding Processes

Centrifugal Casting
3.2.1 3.2.2 3.2.3 Features Types of Centrifugal Casting Process Variables


Permanent Mould Casting
3.3.1 3.3.2 3.3.3 Features Mould Coatings Mould Life


Investment Casting
3.4.1 3.4.2 3.4.3 Investment Casting Steps Applications Advantages and Limitations


Plaster Moulding
3.5.1 3.5.2 3.5.3 3.5.4 Features Advantages and Limitations Disadvantages Applications


Sand Molding
3.6.1 3.6.2 3.6.3 Grey Iron Castings Flask-less Molding Dry Sand Molding


Die Casting
3.7.1 3.7.2 3.7.3 3.7.4 Dies Die Casting Machines Hot Chamber Process Cold Chamber Process


Shell Moulding
3.8.1 3.8.2 3.8.3 3.8.4 Process Advantages Limitations Applications



3.10 Answers to SAQs

Molding processes are among the oldest manufacturing processes, and even today is first step in manufacturing of most of the products. In this the molten metal is poured into a previously prepared mold cavity, which acts as a negative of the desired product. After solidification the product is taken out of cavity and finished to shape. Based on type of moulds, pouring techniques, type of pattern and material, there are several molding processes. We shall discuss some of the features of various molding processes in the following sections. 37

Principle of Metal Casting

Objectives After reading this unit, you should be able to learn • about the main features of various molding processes viz. centrifugal casting, permanent mould casting, investment casting, plaster molding, sand molding, die casting, shell molding etc., and about the applicability of these molding processes in manufacturing of various products.

Since its inception at the beginning of nineteenth century several applications developed have survived commercial exploitation. The main feature of centrifugal casting that differentiates it from all other static casting processes is pouring of molten metal into a mould that is rotated during solidification. The castings produced by this process are completely free from porosity defect and are strong (at par with similar forgings). This is due to whirling out of metal towards the periphery because of centrifugal force. Lighter impurities are also removed as being lighter these remain at the center.

3.2.1 Features
Following are the main features of centrifugal casting process: • • Process is suitable only for products, which have rotational symmetry. General process is economical for ring shaped objects, tabular shaped objects and hollow cylinders, e.g. compressor cases, winding spools, furnace rollers etc. No core is needed to form the bore as in static casting. Temperature gradients during cooling can be controlled to some extent by controlling speed of rotation. Centrifugal pressures can be applied to advantage in checking premature freezing and imparting strength to the casting.

• •

Main advantage of centrifugal casting is that the porosity free castings are obtained.

3.2.2 Types of Centrifugal Casting
There are several variations of centrifugal casting process. These are : • • • True centrifugal casting Semi-centrifugal casting Centrifuge centrifugal casting

True Centrifugal Casting In true centrifugal casting process, the mould rotates about its axis. This axis of rotation can be vertical, horizontal or inclined depending upon the shape of final product. If the axis of rotation is horizontal it is called as horizontal centrifugal casting as shown in Figure 3.1 and if the axis is vertical or inclined it is called as vertical or inclined centrifugal casting as shown in Figures 3.2 and 3.3 respectively. In this the need of center core is completely eliminated. Castings produced by this method have true directional solidification. Because of directional solidification the casting thus produced is defect free without any shrinkage, which is prevalent in sand castings. The rotation speed selection is very important, particularly in the case of horizontal axis rotational speed plays a finite role. A speed lower than the required causes slipping and raining of the metal, which will not adhere to the mould surface. A speed higher than necessary may cause hot tears on its walls. 38

Moulding Processes

(a) Vertical Centrifugal Casting

(b) Horizontal Centrifugal Casting

(c) Inclined Centrifugal Casting Figure 3.1 : True Centrifugal Casting

Semi-centrifugal Casting In the semi-centrifugal casting process the mould is not rotated as fast as in the case of true centrifugal casting process. This is because only enough force is needed to cause the molten metal to flow first to the outer rims. In this process, mould is filled from rim to hub not from bottom to top.

Figure 3.2 : Semi-centrifugal Casting

This method is used for meeting large sized castings, which are symmetrical about their axis, e.g. gears, pulleys, spoke wheels etc. In this process, the metal is poured


Principle of Metal Casting

into central sprue, which in turn is forced outwards to the rim through hubs by centrifugal force. For hollow sections dry sand or CO2 core is used. Centrifuge Centrifugal Casting This process has the widest field of application. In this similar mould cavities are arranged symmetrically about the center axis of rotation like spokes of the wheel. Therefore multiple castings can be produced in one go. Sometimes for a large number of castings steel moulding is used. It is not a purely centrifugal process as castings produced are not rotated about their own axes and pouring pressure is different for all the castings.

Figure 3.3 : Centrifuge Centrifugal Casting

3.2.3 Process Variables
The main variables in the centrifugal casting process are rotation speed, pouring temperature, mould temperature and pouring speed. Rotation speed is varied during the casting process. At the time of molding the mould is rotated at a speed, which is sufficient to throw molten metal against the mould wall. As soon as the metal reaches the opposite end of the mould, the rotation speed is increased and kept constant for sometime depending upon metal being cast and final wall thickness. The most important effect of increased speed is to promote grain refinement in the structure of metal. The ideal speed of rotation curbs rapid adhesion of the molten metal to the mould wall with minimal vibration. Pouring temperature affects metal solidification. Higher pouring temperatures give rise to columnar grain structure whereas lower pouring temperatures promote grain refinement and result in equiaxed structure. The metal being cast regulates pouring speed, as it is necessary to complete delivery of the molten metal into the mould before the metal come in mushy state and may lead to faulty castings. Higher speeds may cause turbulence. Both expandable and permanent moulds, as discussed in Unit 2, are used for centrifugal casting.

How do you distinguish between True, Semi-centrifugal and Centrifuge Centrifugal Proccesses?

Although sand casting produces the bulk of the castings in modern industry, a large quantity of small size castings are cast by permanent mould casting. As metal is fed into the mould through gravitational force, this process is also referred as “gravity die


casting”. Like die casting this process uses metal moulds and cores. In conventional diecasting molten metal is given external pressure to fill the mould cavity whereas, in this process no external pressure is required to fill the mould cavity. In contrast to the sand mould the permanent moulds are used repeatedly. The cores are used for producing hollow sections. The simple removable cores are generally made of metal, but more complex cores where core removal is not easy these are made of sand or plaster. When sand or plaster is used as a core material the process is called as semi permanent mould casting. Permanent mould casting process is extremely useful for high volume production of castings with uniform wall thickness and limited undercuts.

Moulding Processes

3.3.1 Features
Some of the features of permanent mould are given below : • • • • • The mould is used repeatedly and is designed such that it can be separated to eject and remove the casting. The material to be cast is poured into the mould cavity under normal gravitational force. Metallic moulds facilitate faster cooling rates unlike sand mould. Because of faster cooling rates grain refinement and reduction of porosity with a consequent rise in room temperature strength takes place. Castings produced by this process usually have a higher degree of dimensional accuracy than castings produced in sand moulds.This is due to higher stability of metallic moulds. This process is characterized by high cost of tooling. Therefore, this is expensive for low production quantities. It is difficult to cast material through this process where there is difficulty in locating parting surface and removing the casting from mould is not easy. Shapes having undercuts are difficult to cast through this process. Special coatings are required to protect the mould from attack by molten metal and to reduce thermal shock to the moulds. Any change in the design of the part or in the gate or riser system of a permanent mould is much more costly and difficult to adapt than in sand molding process. Permanent mould casting permits the production of more uniform castings with superior surface finish and improved mechanical properties. Metals that can be cast in permanent moulds include Al, Mg, Zn and Cu alloys and hypereutectic gray iron etc.

• • • • •

• •

The main applications of permanent mould casting are in manufacturing of automobile pistons, connecting rods, cylindrical blocks, stators and aircraft fittings. Permanent mould materials have already been discussed in Unit 2 of the block.

3.3.2 Mould Coatings
Mould walls are coated because of the following reasons : • • • • • To make mould resistant to the thermal shock. To prevent premature freezing of the molten metal. To control the solidification rates thereby controlling soundness and structure of cast material. To provide vent for trapped air. To prolong mould life. 41

Principle of Metal Casting

3.3.4 Mould Life
Mould life for the permanent mould casting generally varies from 100 pours to as high as 3,00,000 pours. Factors, which affect the life of a permanent mould, are as follows: • • • • • • Higher pouring temperatures adversely affect the mould life. Higher the weight of casting earlier is the wear of mould. Severe heating and cooling cycles give rise to shorter mould life. Use of proper mould coatings increases mould life. Preheating of mould saves castings from thermal shock. This facilitates increased mould life. Gating design also influence the mould life. Poor gating causes excessive turbulence resulting in shortened mould life.

What is the effect of pre-heating of the moulds?

Investment casting process is also known as ‘lost wax’ process. In this process ceramic slurry is applied around a disposable pattern, usually made of wax and this is allowed to harden to form a disposable casting mould. The term ‘investment casting’ is derived from the process of investing (that is coating or surrounding) a wax pattern with a refractory. The term ‘lost wax’ comes from the fact that the wax pattern is burned off during the process. The mould is heated at temperature above 100oC depending on the type of cavity to remove wax from the mould. This forms the primary cavity (mold cavity) in the invested refractory. In this process a separate pattern is made for every casting and gating system, i.e. 100 castings require 100 patterns (see Figure 3.4). The patterns are cast by injection molding. Different types of wax materials are already discussed in Unit 2 of this block.

• •

Investment Casting Steps
Production of heat disposable wax pattern. A plastic pattern or mercury (mould preparation to be undertaken at temperature below 38oC) may also be used. Assembly of patterns into a gating system. This assembly includes pouring basin, sprue and ingate to the pattern. (In case of wax pattern gate and sprues are made by melting). Investing or covering the assembly with ceramic to produce a monolithic bond. Heating of the invested assembly, resulting in burning of pattern material, leaving behind a precise mould cavity. Firing of the ceramic mould to develop the high temperature bond. During this the last traces of pattern material are also removed. Pouring of the molten metal into the mould under gravity to produce the cast part. Cut finish and obtain the final casting.

• • • • • 42

Moulding Processes

Figure 3.4 : Investment Casting Slips



Applications of the investment casting exist in most of the manufacturing industries. Notable among these are aircraft engines, airframes, aerospace, missiles, automotive, cameras, microscopes, dentistry and dental tools. Jewellery, guns and small armament, sports gear, transportation, diesel engine valve, watches, sewing machine components etc.

• • • • •

Advantages and Limitations
Casting of high pouring temperature alloys with accurate dimensions can be done, which, otherwise was not possible with metallic mould processes. This process is extremely suitable for casting of difficult to machine alloys as products obtained are of good finish. Casting of intricate shapes can be done with ease through this process. Because of the heated mould thin sections may be cast even for the high pouring temperature alloys. Blowholes and other sand based defects can be completely eliminated by taking proper care.

Advantages of investment casting processes are as follows :

Limitations of this process are its unsuitability for large quantities. Moreover, the process is limited by size and mass of the casting.

Plaster moulding is a specialized casting process used to cast non-ferrous materials. Castings produced by this process have smoother surfaces and greater dimensional accuracy than obtained in sand moulding or permanent moulding. In this process, a plaster, usually gypsum or calcium sulphate, is mixed with talc, sand, asbestos, and sodium silicate and water to form a slurry. This slurry is sprayed on the polished surfaces of the pattern halves (usually brass). The slurry sets in less than 15 minutes to form the mould. The mould halves are extracted carefully from the pattern, and then dried in an oven. The mould halves are carefully assembled, along with the cores. The molten metal is poured in the moulds. After the metal cools down, the plaster is broken and the cores washed out.


Principle of Metal Casting

Parts cast are usually small to medium size, ranging in weight from 30 g to 7 kg. The section thickness can be as small as 0.6 mm and tolerances are 0.2 % linear. The draft allowance is 0.5-1.0 degree. The surface finish of 1.25 µm to 3 µm can be achieved. The Antioch Process This was developed primarily to overcome the limitations of the conventional plaster moulds. If undried moulds are partially dehydrated and then allowed to hydrate without being disturbed, gypsum crystals slowly recrystallise into granules about the size of the sand grains and the mould acquires a porous structure of relatively high permeability. Recrystallisation does not take at the surface of the mould, because no water is present and hence the surface is smooth. These moulds also have a greater heat capacity because they are composed of nearly 50% sand. Unlike conventional plaster moulds the Antioch moulds do not shrink. In fact they expand during processing. Because of their porous nature the moulds have low dry strength. This promotes early collapse of cores as the casting cools and minimizes hot tears in the castings. For larger castings this is taken care of using the internal reinforcement. Antioch process is well suited to the processes having angular blade like sections-rotor and nozzles. For dehydration the molds are placed in suitable racks in a standard autoclave. The autoclave is sealed and steam admitted. The autoclave is operated with a steam pressure of 105 kPa. The dehydration is followed by hydration at room temperature up to 14 hours. Drying follows this, with the temperature ranging from 175 to 230° C and drying time is 1 to 70 hours. Most of the copper based alloys are cast using this process. Yellow brass is commonly cast using the Antioch process. Metals, which have melting temperatures above 1040°C cannot be cast using this process.

• •

Create a two part pattern. A mould material is used that is a plaster of paris mixture (fast setting) to make two cavities. This may have some additives to improve properties. Foamed plaster may be used to increase permeability. After setting these cavities will be dried in an oven to remove moisture. The Antioch process is optional and increases mould permeability by dehydrating in an autoclave, and hydrating for a number of hours. The mould halves are then joined and heated. Molten metal is poured in the prepared mould cavity. As we know that in plaster moulding mould porosity is low. Therefore, pressure or vacuum must be used to encourage complete filling of the mould. The final part is removed and cleaned. Generally, no machining is required.

The main features of this process are as follows :

• • • •


Advantages and Limitations
One of the biggest advantages of plaster mould casting is that the plaster of paris has very low thermal conductivity. In other words, the mould medium does not conduct the heat away from the molten metal and, thus, allows the metal to stay in a liquid state much longer. Because of this, very thin sections can be properly filled using this procedure. High dimensional accuracy and smooth surfaces are obtained through this process. Almost unlimited intricacies.

• • 44

• • •

Low porosity. Plaster mould can be easily machined. Low thermal conductivity

Moulding Processes



Plaster of Paris (or gypsum plaster), with the addition of other compounds such as talc or magnesium oxide to prevent cracking is the moulding material for plaster mould casting. Because of this, though, only non-ferrous metals with a low melting point (less than 2100ºF) can be cast. • • • Limited to nonferrous metals Limited to relatively small parts Mould making time is relatively long



Low temperature melting materials such as aluminum, copper, magnesium and zinc can be cast using this process. This process is used to make quick prototype parts as well as limited production parts Patterns The patterns for plaster-mould casting are usually made from polished metal, sealed wood or lacquered plaster. A plaster slurry is poured over the pattern which is a match-plate pattern. When the mould has begun to set, the pattern is placed in an oven and baked so that all of the moisture is removed from the mould. Moisture in the mould will form gasses and steam when the metal is poured and can cause the moulds to crack or explode.

(a) (b) (c) What is “lost wax” process and why it is called so? Why plaster moulding is suitable for parts having very thin sections? Why Antioch processes preferred over conventional moulding process?

Sand moulding is probably the most commonly used casting platform throughout the entire casting industry, world wide. Simply put, there is a top, a bottom, and a middle portion of a mould. The pattern, or impression device, sits in the middle of the mould, and later is surrounded with sand. These are the basic, universal casting components, which can be applied to all casting processes. The top and the bottom of the pieces of the mould form the flask. The flask assembly, the top and bottom, “holds the whole assembly together”. The upper or topmost section of the flask of the mould (flask) is called the cope, while the bottom of the mould (flask) is called the drag. The impression device, in the middle, is called the pattern. The sand around the pattern is called the holding medium. The mould maker uses the pattern to make the impression in the sand. Then the pattern is set aside. At that point, the moulder closes the cope and drag, forming the mould. What is wanted is the void left from the impression of the pattern, in middle of the sand, inside the mould so that the void is filled with a molten material. Basic casting is also called “Green Sand Moulding, or Green Sand Casting”. These are the most basic moulding methods, currently used in today’s casting practices, regardless 45

Principle of Metal Casting

of the metal alloy, or any molten - liquid material being poured. Things used to be casted even before biblical times, using these very concepts.

Figure 3.5 : Sand Moulding

All casting techniques employed in the rest of the casting and moulding processes are in many ways, just like sand casting, or green sand moulding. With some thought and imagination, you can always see the cope and drag principle of casting. The different techniques of casting and molding processes are used to achieve a desired end product, which has a special need in the market place. This special need prompted man to develop special processes. Examples of usage would be Air movement components (fan blades), hubs, shafts, tubes, rectangles, squares, holes, no holes, the list is endless.


Grey Iron Castings

This process is very much like sand casting and green sand casting processes. It can be done as flask-less moulding, which is discussed in the next section. The difference being that the molten material is grey iron. Grey Iron is white iron to which 2% to 3% carbon has been added to reduce the hardness and brittleness of iron. Examples of usage would be: pump bodies, housings, impellers, sewer covers, gears, blanks, bases, pads, motor mounts etc.


Flask-less Moulding

This process is a sand casting, or a green sand moulding variation, that has been automated for speed and high volume output, of identical castings. Despite the name which is misleading, a flask-less moulding does use flasks. The flasks “ holds the whole thing together ”. A Flask must be used on all sand moulding for the containment of the sand, while the pattern is surrounded by sand. In flask-less moulding, in either a vertical or a horizontal stance, a sand filled flask is rebuilt and used over and over, in totally mechanized and automated way. In sand casting or green sand casting, a tight fitting, individual − most likely sand filled flask − is used for each mould produced. The benefits of these systems are very impressive like uniformity, high density moulds, high output of products, elimination of mould shift, just to mention a few, all of which drastically reduce labour expense. Flask-less moulding provides a mould hardness that is consistent throughout the mould. The operator can adjust to different cope, drag heights and total squeeze pressure to accommodate different mould densities and mould hardness to meet the moulding application. The operator can adjust the sand fill allowing the adjustment for variations in each pattern. It is possible to produce complex moulds and mould with deep pockets, which are difficult with traditional, normal sand casting procedures. Rapid core setting, easy inspection of cores used, utilization of existing tooling, high casting quality, reduced finishing time, quick pattern change, exceptional mould to mould consistency, high productivity are some of the many reasons to use flask-less moulding. 46

3.6.3 Dry Sand Moulding
Large components are very difficult to cast to exact size and dimensions. Hence, some foundries use dry sand moulds to produce such parts. Dry sand moulding is the green sand process modified by baking the mould at prescribed temperature. Engine blocks, large gears, big housings, construction parts, are examples of dry sand process candidates. Ferrous and non-ferrous metals are cast in this method. The key to this process is the proper baking time in relation to the binder and the moisture content. The other factors are the size, weight, and mass of the component being cast. Some good examples of the profitability of the process are, the great strength of the part cast, exactness in dimension, much smoother finish, etc. Some of the examples of dry sand moulding are engine blocks, transmission housings, big gear boxes, etc.

Moulding Processes

How do you differentiate between ordinary green sand moulding and flask-less moulding?

Die casting involves the preparation of components by injecting molten metal at high pressures into a metallic die. It is similar to permanent mold casting in the sense that both the processes use reusable metallic dies. The pressure is generally obtained by compressed air or hydraulically and varies from 70-5000 kg/cm2. Because of high pressures involved in the process, any narrow sections, complex shapes and fine surface details can be easily produced. Combination of high pressures and velocity of the injected liquid metal give a unique capacity for the production of intricate components at relatively low cost.



The die consists of two parts. One is called the stationary die or the cover die and is fixed to the die casting machine (as shown in figure). The second part called the ejector die is moved for the extraction of casting. The casting cycle starts when the two parts of the die are apart. The lubricant is sprayed on the die-cavity manually or by the auto lubrication system. The two die halves are closed and clamped. The required amount of metal is injected into the die. After the casting is solidified under pressure, the die is opened and the casting is ejected.

• • • • • •

Die Casting Machines
A die casting machine performs the following functions: Holding the two die halves firmly together. Closing the die. Injecting molten metal into the die. Opening the die. Ejecting the casting out of the die.

A die casting machine consists of four basic elements namely (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) Frame Source of molten metal and molten metal transfer Dies Metal Injection Mechanism. 47

Principle of Metal Casting

These machines are classified on the basis of injection mechanisms and are of two types: (i) (ii) Hot chamber Die casting, and Cold chamber Die casting.

The main difference between these two types is that in hot chamber, the holding furnace for the liquid metal is integral with the diecasting machine, whereas in the cold chamber machine, the metal is melted in a separate furnace and then poured into the diecasting machine with a laddle for each casting cycle which is also called ‘shot’.


Hot Chamber Process

In this process, a gooseneck is used for pumping the liquid metal into the die cavity. The gooseneck is submerged into the holding furnace containing the molten metal. The gooseneck is made of grey, alloy or ductile iron or of cast steel. A plunger made of alloy cast iron, which is hydraulically operated moves up in the gooseneck to uncover the entry port for the entry of liquid metal into the gooseneck. The plunger can then develop the necessary pressure for forcing the metal into the die cavity. A nozzle at the end of the gooseneck is kept in close contact with the sprue located in the cover die (as shown in Figure 3.6).

Figure 3.6 : Hot Chamber Process

The cycle starts with the closing of the die when the plunger is in the highest position in the gooseneck, thus facilitating the filling of the gooseneck by the liquid metal. The plunger then starts moving down to force the metal in the gooseneck to be injected into the die cavity. The metal is then held at the same pressure till it is solidified. The die is opened, and any cores if present, are also retracted. The plunger then moves back returning the unused liquid metal to the gooseneck. The casting, which is in the ejector die, is now ejected and at the same time the plunger uncovers the filling hole, letting the liquid metal from the furnace to enter the gooseneck. Air pressure required for injecting the metal into the die is that of the order of 30-45 kg/cm2. Depending upon its size, this hot chamber die casting machine can produce about 60 or more castings upto 20 kg each per hour and several hundred castings per hour for single impression castings weighing a few grams.


Cold Chamber Process

The hot chamber process is used for most of the low melting temperature alloys such as zinc, lead and tin. For materials such as aluminum and brass, their high melting temperatures make it difficult to cast them by hot chamber process, because gooseneck of the hot chamber machine is continuously in contact with the molten metal. Also liquid aluminum would attack the gooseneck material and thus hot chamber process is not used 48

with aluminum alloys. In the cold chamber process, the molten metal is poured with a ladle into the hot chamber for every shot. This process reduces the contact time between the liquid metal and the hot chamber. The operation starts with the spraying of die lubricants throughout the die cavity and closing the die when molten metal is ladled into the hot chamber of the machine either manually or by means of an auto ladle. An auto ladle is a form of robotic device, which automatically scoops molten aluminum from the holding furnace (as shown in Figure 3.7) and pours it into the die at the exact instance when required in the casting cycle. The pouring temperature can be precisely controlled with the help of auto ladle and hence the desired casting quality can be had. Then the plunger forces the metal into the die cavity and maintains the pressure till it solidifies. In the next step, the die opens. The casting is ejected. At the same time, plunger returns to its position completing the operation. Cold chamber and hot chamber die casting differs from each other in the following respects : (i) Melting unit is not an integral part of the cold chamber die casting machine. Molten metal is brought and poured into the die casting machine with the help of ladles. In case of cold chamber process high pressures tend to increase the fluidity of molten metal possessing relatively lower temperature and hence castings produced are denser, dimensionally accurate and free from blowholes. In case of cold chamber process die components experience less thermal stresses due to lower temperature of the molten metal. However, dies are required to be made stronger in order to bear high pressures. Cold chamber process has a longer cycle time compared to hot chamber process. In case of cold chamber process as metal is ladled from a furnace, it may loose superheat and may cause defects such as cold shuts.

Moulding Processes



(iv) (v)

Figure 3.7(a) : Feeding of the Metal

(b) Metal Enters the Cavity


Principle of Metal Casting

(c) Core Withdrawn and Component Released Figure 3.7 : Cold Chamber Process

Advantages of Die Casting Process (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) Very high rates of production can be achieved. Close dimensional tolerance of the order of ± 0.025 mm is possible. Surface finish of 0.8 micron is achievable. Very thin sections of the order of 0.50 mm can be cast. Fine details may be produced. Less floor space is required.

(vii) Longer die life is obtained. (viii) Unit cost is minimum. Disadvantages of Die Casting Process (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) Not economical for small runs. Only economical for non-ferrous alloys. Heavy castings cannot be cast. In fact, the size of the dies and the capacity of the die casting machines available limit the maximum size. Cost of die and die casting equipment is high. Die castings usually contain some porosity due to entrapped air.

Applications The typical products made by die casting are carburetors, crank cases, magnetos, handle bar housings, parts of scooters and motor cycles, zip fasteners, head lamp bezels, and other decorative automobile items.

It is not advisable to use hot chamber process in case of aluminium casting. Why?

Shell moulding is a process in which the sand mixed with a thermosetting resin is allowed to come in contact with a heated metallic plate, so that a thin and strong shell of mould is formed around the pattern. Then the shell is removed from the pattern and the cope and the drag are removed together and kept in a flask with the necessary backup material and molten metal is poured into the mould.



Generally, dry and fine sand (90 to 140 GFN) which is completely free of the clay is used for preparing the shell moulding sand. The grain size to be chosen depends on the surface finish desired on the casting. Too fine a grain size requires large amount of resin which makes the mould expensive. 50

The synthetic resins used in shell moulding are essentially thermosetting resins, which get hardened irreversibly by heat. The resins, most widely used, are the phenyl formaldehyde resins. Combined with sand, they give very high strength and resistance to heat. The phenolic resins used in shell moulding usually are of the two stage type, that is, the resin has excess phenol and acts like a thermoplastic material. During coating with the sand, the resin is combined with a catalyst hexa-methylene tetramine in a proportion of about 14 to 16% so as to develop the thermosetting characteristics. The curing temperature for these would be around 150oC and the time required would be 50 to 60 sec. Additives may sometimes be added into the sand mixture to improve the surface finish and avoid thermal cracking during pouring. Some of the additives used are coal dust, pulverized slag, manganese dioxide, calcium carbonate, and ammonium borofloride and magnesium silicoflouride. Some lubricants such as calcium stearate and zinc stearate may also be added to the resin sand mixture to improve the flowability of the sand and permit easy release of the shell from the pattern. The first step in preparing the shell mould is the preparation of the sand mixture in such a way that each of the sand grain is thoroughly coated with resin. To achieve this, first the sand, hexa and additives, which are all dry, are mixed inside a Muller for a period of 1 min. Then the liquid resin is added and mixing is continued for another 3 minutes. To this cold or warm air is introduced into the Muller and the mixing is continued till all the liquid is removed from the mixture and the coating of the grains is achieved to the desired degree. Since the sand resin mixture is to be cured at about 150oC temperature, only metal patterns with associated gating are used. The metal used for preparing patterns is grey cast iron, mainly because of its easy availability and excellent stability at temperatures involved in the process. But sometimes-additional risering provision is required as the cooling in shell mouldings is slow. The metallic pattern plate is heated to a temperature of 200 to 350 degrees depending on the type of pattern. It is very essential that the pattern plate is uniformly heated so that the temperature variation across the whole pattern is within 25 to 40 degrees depending on the size of the pattern. A silicone agent is sprayed on the pattern and the metal plate. The heated pattern is securely fixed to a dump box, wherein the coated sand in an amount larger than required to form the shell of the necessary thickness is already filled in. Then the dump box is rotated so that the coated sand falls on the heated pattern. The heat from the pattern melts the resin adjacent to it thus causing the sand mixture to adhere to the pattern (Figure 3.6). When a desired thickness of shell is achieved, the dump box is rotated backwards by 180 degrees so that the excess sand falls back into the box, leaving the formed shell intact with the pattern. The average shell thickness achieved depends on the temperature of the pattern and the time the coated sand remains in contact with the heated pattern. The shell along with the pattern plate is kept in an electric or gas fired oven for curing the shell. The curing of the shell should be done as per requirements only because over curing may cause the mould to break down as the resin would burn out. The under curing may result in blow holes in the casting or the shell may break during handling because of the lack of strength. The shells thus prepared are joined together by either mechanical clamping or adhesive bonding. The resin used as an adhesive may be applied to the parting plane before mechanical clamping and then allowed for 20 to 40 seconds for achieving the necessary bonding. Since the shells are thin, they may require some outside support so that they can withstand the pressure of the molten metal. A metallic enclosure to closely fit the exterior of the shell is ideal, but it is too expensive and therefore impractical. Alternately, a cast iron shot is generally preferred as it occupies any contour without unduely applying any pressure on the shell. With such a backup material, it is possible to reduce the shell thickness to an economical level.

Moulding Processes


Principle of Metal Casting

Figure 3.8 : Steps in Shell Moulding


Shell moulding castings are generally more dimensionally accurate than sand castings. It is possible to obtain a tolerance of ± 0.25 mm for steel castings and ±0.35 mm for grey cast iron castings under normal working conditions. A smoother surface finish can be obtained in shell castings. This is primarily achieved by the finer size grain used. The typical order of roughness is of the order of 3 to 6 microns. Draft angles are lower than required in sand castings. The reduction in draft angles may be between 50 to 75% which considerably saves the material costs and the subsequent machining costs. Sometimes, special cores may be eliminated in shell moulding. Since the sand has a high strength the mould could be designed in such a manner that the internal cavities can be formed directly with the shell mould itself without the need of the shell cores. Also, very thin sections of the type of air cooled cylinder heads can be readily made by the shell moulding because of the higher strength of the sand used for shell moulding. Permeability of the shell is high and therefore no gas inclusions occur. Very small amount of sand needs to be used. Mechanisation is readily possible because of the simple processing involved in shell moulding.

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The patterns are very expensive and therefore are economical only if used in large scale production. In a typical application, shell moulding becomes economical over sand moulding above 15000 pieces because of the higher pattern cost. The size of the casting obtained by shell moulding is limited. Generally castings weighing upto 200kg can be made, though in smaller castings upto a weight of 450 g can also be made. Highly complicated shapes cannot be obtained.

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More sophisticated equipment is needed for handling the shell moldings such as those required for heated metal patterns.

Moulding Processes



Cylinders and cylinder heads for air cooled I. C. engines, automobile transmission parts, cast tooth bevel gears, brake beam, track rollers for crawler tractors, transmission planet carrier, steel eyes, gear blanks, chain seat bracket, refrigerator valve plate, small crank shafts are some of the common applications of shell mould castings.

(a) (b) (c) What are the essential differences between die casting and permanent mould casting? What are the typical situations in which shell moulding process is used? Is it possible to obtain a sound casting of solid bar by centrifugal casting? Give reasons in support your answer.

Selection of casting process depends upon the required speed of production, desired smoothness of casting surface or dimensional accuracy of some other features of interest in the cast components. In this unit, various casting process and their distinct features have been discussed. It also discusses the method of casting in different processes like – centrifugal casting, permanent mould casting, investment casting, plaster moulding, sand moulding, die casting and shell moulding. It is also essential to know the advantages and disadvantages of various processes before selecting a process. To cast a particular component different casting methods are available but in this economics also play a crucial role. After reading this unit, one gets fairly good idea about these concepts related to various casting processes.



Please refer the preceding text for the answers to SAQs.

Q1 Describe the Molding Process? Q2 What is Centrifugal Casting? Q3 What are the features of Centrifugal Casting? Q4 What are the types of Centrifugal Casting? Q5 What is true Centrifugal Casting? Q6 What is Cemi-Centrifugal Casting? Q7 What is Centrifuge Centrifugal Casting? Q8 What are the Process Variables in Cenrifugal Casting Process? Q9 What are Expandable Moulds? Q10 Why are Expandable Moulds called so? Q11 What are Permanent Moulds? Q12 What are the Advantages of True Centrifugal Casting Process? Q13 How does True Centrifugal Casting differ from Cemi-Centrifugal Casting and Centrifugal


Principle of Metal Casting

Q14 Q15 Q16 Q17 Q18 Q19 Q20 Q21 Q22 Q23 Q24 Q25 Q26 Q27 Q28 Q29 Q30 Q31 Q32 Q33 Q34 Q35 Q36 Q37 Q38 Q39 Q40 Q41 Q42 Q43 Q44 Q45 Q46 Q47 Q48

Casting? What types of objects can be best made by Centrifugal Casting Process? Describe Permanent Mould Casting? What are the Features of Permanent Mould Casting? When should Permanent Mould Casting be used? What are the Advantages and DIsadvantages of PMC? What are the Different Mould Materials? What are the types of Mould Castings? What does the Mould Life Depend on? What is Investment Casting? Wat is “Lost Wax” Process? Describe Investment Casting Process? What are the Applications of Investment Casting? What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Investment Casting? Wat is Plaster Molding? What is the Antioch Process? What is the Antioch Process Primarily used for? Describe the main Features of Antioch Process? What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Antioch Process? What are the Applications of Antioch Process? What is sand Molding? Describe sand Molding Process? What is Grey Iron Casting? What is flask-Less Molding? What is Dry Sand Molding? What is Die Casting? Describe Dies Casting Process? What are the different types of Die Casting Machines? What is a Hot Chamber Process? What is a Cold Chamber Process? What is Shell Molding? What are the Advantages of Shell Molding? Differentiate between Hot and Cold Chamber Die Casting Process? How is Pattern made in Plaster Molding? What Precautions must be taken in Plaster Molding? Why Antioch Process is preferred over Conventional Plaster Molding Process?


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