1.9.1 CASTING DEFECTS Any unwanted deviation from the desired requirements in a cast product results in a defect.

Some defects in the cast products are tolerable while others can be rectified by additional processes like welding etc. The following are the major defects which are likely to occur in sand castings: 1. Gas defects 2. Shrinkage cavities 3. Moulding material defects 4. Pouring metal defects 5. Metallurgical defects Gas Defects These defects are due to lower gas passing tendency of the mould which is caused by lower venting , lower permeability of the mould and improper design of the casting. The lower permeability of the mould is due to use of finer size grains of sand, higher percentage of clay & moisture and excessive ramming of the mould. Figure 1.9.1: Various gas defects The various gas defects are discussed here in detail. ‡ Blow holes and Open blows: These are spherical, flattened or elongated cavities present inside the casting or on the surface. When present inside the casting it is called blow hole while it is termed as open blow if it appears on the surface of the casting. These defects are caused by the moisture left in the mould and the core. Due to heat of the molten metal the moisture is converted into steam, part of which when entrapped in the casting ends up as blow hole or ends up as open blow when it reaches the surface. Thus in green sand mould it is very difficult to get rid of the blow holes, unless properly vented. ‡ Scar: A shallow blow, usually found on a flat casting surface, is referred to as a scar. ‡ Blister: This is a scar covered by the thin layers of a metal. ‡ Air inclusions: The atmospheric and other gases absorbed by the molten metal in the furnace, in the ladle and during the flow in the mould, when not allowed to escape, would be trapped inside the casting and weaken it. The main reasons for this defect are the higher pouring temperatures which increase the amount of gas absorbed; poor gating design such as straight sprue in unpressurised gating; abrupt bends and other turbulence causing practices in the gating, which increase the air aspiration and finally the low permeability of the mould. The remedies would be to choose the appropriate pouring temperature and improve gating practices by reducing the turbulence. ‡ Pin hole porosity: As the molten metal gets solidified it loses the temperature which decreases the solubility of gases and thereby expelling the dissolved gases. The hydrogen which is picked up by the molten metal either in the furnace from the unburnt fuel or by the dissociation of water inside the mould cavity may escape the solidifying metal leaving behind very small diameter and long

pin holes showing the path of escape. The high pouring temperature which increases the gas pick up is the main reason for this defect.


glassy . together with proper mould wash should be able to eliminate this defect. ‡ Cuts and Washes: Theses appear as rough spots and areas of excess metal and are caused by the erosion of the moulding sand by the flowing molten metal.Module-I of Manufacturing Science-I Lecture Notes of Chinmay Das Shrinkage Cavities These are caused by the liquid shrinkage occurring during the solidification of the casting. giving a brittle.9. The proper choice of moulding sand and appropriate moulding method together with better design of gating system which reduces turbulence by increasing the size of the gates or by using multiple ingates can eliminate these defects. Figure 1. The various defects under this category are discussed in detail. This can also be caused by higher pouring temperature. This is due to either use of coarse sand grains in mould material or no use of mould wash. This may be due to insufficient strength of mould material or the high velocity of the molten metal. Choosing appropriate grain sizes. ‡ Fusion: This is caused by the fusion of sand grains with molten metal. ‡ Metal Penetration: When molten metal enters the gaps between the sand grains. improper ramming etc. An improper riser and gating system may give this type of defect which has a shape of a funnel. the result would be a rough casting surface.2: Shrinkage cavity Moulding Material Defects These defects are originated due to some specific characteristics of the moulding materials like insufficient strength.

At this high temperature. forming the vee shape. an expansion of the thin layer of sand at the mould face takes place before the liquid metal at the mould face solidifies. ‡ Run out: This is happened when the molten metal leaks out of the mould due to faulty mould making or defective moulding flask. The main reasons for this defect are the lower refractoriness of the clay used in moulding sand and very high pouring temperature. The choice of an appropriate type and amount of Bentonite would cure this defect.3: Various moulding material defects . the mould face tends to bulge out. As this expansion is obstructed by the flask.appearance on the casting surface. broad. A proper amount of volatile additives in the sand-mix is therefore essential to make room for this expansion and to avoid the buckles.9. fairly shallow. ‡ Buckles: This refers to a long. vee-shaped depression occurring in the surface of a flat casting of a high temperature metal. Figure 1.


Module-I of Manufacturing Science-I Lecture Notes of Chinmay Das ‡ Rat tail: It is a long shallow angular depression normally found in a thin casting. on top of a thin layer of sand. The layer is held onto the casting by a metal stringer through the sand. ‡ . Here. the compressed layer fails by one layer. ‡ Scab: This refers to the rough thin layer of a metal. The reason for its formation is the same as that of buckles. A scab results when the upheaved sand is separated from the mould surface and the liquid metal flows into the space between the mould and the displaced sand. gliding over the other. instead of the expanding sand up heaving. protruding above the casting surface.

As a result of the swell. start freezing before reaching the farthest point of the mould cavity.9. Figure 1. The main cause of this defect is improper ramming of the mould. these leave small. the misrun may show up at the centre of the casting due to non fusion of two streams of metal resulting in a discontinuity or weak spot in casting. This defect is called Misrun. ‡ Dirt: Sometimes sand particles dropping out of the cope get embedded on the top surface of a casting.Swell: Under the influence of metallostatic forces. angular holes.9. due to insufficient superheat. When removed. the liquid metal may. the feeding requirements of the casting increase which should be taken care of by the proper choice of risering.5: Misrun and cold shut . ‡ Mould and Core shift: A misalignment between two halves of a mould or of a core may give rise to a defective casting.4: Mould shift and core shift defects Pouring Metal Defects The likely defects under this category are mentioned here. Figure 1. high heat transfer rate of the mould material and back pressure of the gases entrapped in the mould cavity due to inadequate venting. An adequate strength of the sand and the use of gaggers can help in avoiding the drops. The fluidity of the metal can be increased by changing the composition of molten metal or raising the pouring temperature. It can be taken care of at the pouring stage by using items such as a strainer and skim bob. ‡ Dross: Lighter impurities appearing on the top of a casting are called dross. known as dirts. ‡ Misrun: Many a time. The other causes for these defects are large surface area to volume ratio of the casting. This is caused by dropping of sand from the cope or other overhanging projections into the mould. ‡ Cold shut: For a casting with gates at its two sides. ‡ Drop: An irregularly shaped projection on the cope surface of a casting is called a drop. Above two defects are due to lower fluidity of the molten metal or small thickness of the casting. the mould wall may move back causing a swell in the dimensions of the casting.

. thermodynamics and chemistry. measures must be adopted to eliminate its cause and prevent its repetition. The importance of a controlled and comprehensive defect analysis program is advanced. It is contended that a system of defect identification should be based solely upon morphological criteria with no prior assumptions relating to the cause of the defect. they can confuse the issues and make it more difficult to cure the defect. "If a defect occurs. Sporadic defects are probably the most troublesome for casters. When these factors are combined with the problems associated with the high temperature alloys of the platinum family. . an incorrect diagnosis of the root cause can lead to an incomplete or incorrect remedy of the problem. long-standing. All defects will fall into one or more of the established seven categories of casting defects. which require a remedy through a process change usually via designed experiments." [1] It is the purpose of this article to examine the characterization." [2] Defect Characterization Two distinct journeys must be taken to correct sporadic defects.e. In a controlled process defects do not just happen. appearance. Investment casting has often been referred to as "a process that really knows how to keep a secret. which are sudden adverse changes in the normal capability of the process." Even in a controlled process. The complexity of the process is the result of integrating the varied disciplines of physics. location and dimensions of the defect. It is important to correctly identify the defect symptoms prior to assigning the cause to the problem. The nature of a casting defect can only be determined by correctly categorizing the shape. defects in the output can occur which defy rational explanation.Platinum casting defects are often very difficult to characterize due to the intrinsic complexity of the investment casting process. analysis and correction of only sporadic platinum casting defects because. False remedies not only fail to solve the problem. the root cause of a casting defect can truly become a mystery. Once appropriately classified. "the roads to diagnosis and remedy differ remarkably for sporadic defects and chronic defects. Casting defects in a controlled process will generally fall into one of two categories. the possible causes can be examined and the corrective action can be taken. i. Defects can be chronic. There is a temptation to attempt to diagnose a defect by the possible causes. The proper identification of a particular defect is the prerequisite to correcting and controlling the quality of platinum castings. they are caused. but. or. They are "the diagnostic journey from symptom to cause and the remedial journey from cause to remedy" [3] (see Figure 1). sporadic.

it is apparent that "pitting" will need to be defined more specifically to resolve the problem. Category 1 Metallic Projections These appear as projections of irregular thickness often with lacy edges. a defect will be referred to as "pitting" which can either be due to cavities. The following will examine the seven categories of defects in greater detail as well as some of the possible causes as they relate to platinum casting. location and dimension or profile of the defect is important to observe and record in order to classify the defect. 4."[4] The idea is to empirically observe the symptoms in order to classify and define the defect. which have been established. location and dimension or profile of the anomaly. 3. Since the cause and remedy of each category of defect will involve a distinct corrective action. appearance. 5. The proper identification of a specific defect is the prerequisite to correcting and controlling the quality of castings. . a casting defect is defined as an observable and unplanned variation of a specification. 2.In general. This is why the shape. 6. 7. [5] These defects are: 1. There are only seven categories of casting defects. A problem solving approach that is characterized by the unique "morphology of the defects is more logical than one based upon the causes since it requires no prior assumptions to be made. The identity of a particular casting defect is based upon the specific shape. They are perpendicular to one of the faces of the casting surface. appearance. Metallic Projections Cavities Discontinuities Defective Surface Incomplete Casting Incorrect Dimensions or Shape Inclusions or Structural Anomalies Very often in the jewelry industry. discontinuities or a defective surface. They occur along the joint or parting line of the mold or wherever two elements of the mold intersect.

Cracks will initiate at the surface of the mold cavity and extend through the zones of least resistance.Joint Flash or Fins Possible Causes: Flash could be left on in the wax pattern or joints in wax are angular. . Veining or Finning: veins that are generally perpendicular to the casting surface and occur either singularly or in networks. They are not situated along parting lines. Cracked or Broken Mold: This is the formation of large thin fins in planes related to the position of the casting in the mold. temperature too high in kiln or heating curve too rapid. Possible Causes: Improperly dried mold.

Possible Causes: Air bubbles lodged within the investment close to the pattern. These defects can appear in all regions of the casting. 5. At the time of dewaxing During thermocycling During casting. . nearly spherical. The thin layer of ceramic next to the pattern is broken through during casting and the air bubbles fill with metal. This defect occurs most often in reentrant angles. Category 2 Cavities Blowholes. 4. 2. due to an inadequate strength of the investment Sweating or Dip Air: Smooth surface metallic projections that are nearly spherical in shape.Possible Causes: Mold has been fractured: 1. 3. During investment of the pattern. cavities often not contacting the surface. Pinholes: These are smooth walled. Smaller cavities appear in groups while larger cavities appear most often in isolation. blind holes and undercuts.

generally perpendicular to the surface of the casting.Possible Causes: These are produced by gas entrapped in the metal during solidification and caused by: 1.g. . N2 or H2). Possible Causes: Improper gating of thick areas of the pattern or the incorrect casting parameters to allow proper solidification. The internal surface of the cavity is dendritic. Their depth may be as great as 2 cm. This phenomenon can also be observed if the holes were originally in the wax and went to investing without correction. 2. Metallurgical origin (any gas content in the heat that is not dissolved. This generally occurs in heavy sections with a funnel shaped and sometimes elongated pattern. e.. Mechanical entrapment (due to insufficient mold permeability or turbulence in the gating system). additives or hydrocarbons from waxes). Dispersed Shrinkage: Narrow cavities resembling tears or fissures. Gas from mold materials (excess binders. 3. Open or External Shrinkage: This is a shrinkage cavity that extends to the exterior surface of a casting.

Possible Causes: Shrink is always caused by the volume contraction of metal during solidification. but. at gates or at isolated surfaces that are characterized by slow solidification. The defect generally is located toward the upper section of the casting or at the intersection of casting walls. the funnel shape defect does not extend to the surface. The walls of the cavity are most often rough and dendritic. Internal or Blind Shrinkage: Shrinkage cavity normally found in heavy sections of a casting. External shrink will appear when molds are improperly gated far from the heavy sections. . Corner or Fillet Shrinkage: A cavity that emerges to the surface in reentrant angles of the pattern. Possible Causes: Metal contraction during solidification-improper gating design.

Macroshrinkage. Category 3 Discontinuities Hot Cracking: A crack. Centerline or Axial Shrinkage: A cavity or porous region along the centerline of casting sections that is plate-like or worm-like in shape. The design of the casting is such that the crack would not be expected to result from the solidification forces during cooling. Possible Causes: Improper gating or casting parameters. and the possible intervention of atmospheric or mold gas pressure. It is generally localized in the last section to freeze off during solidification. It is most often found in alloys with a wider liquidus-solidus range. Microshrinkage or Shrinkage Porosity: This defect has a spongy appearance. . Improper gating at mold intersection. sometimes dendritic or in the form of small superimposed cavities. often scarcely visible because the casting has not separated into fragments. Possible Causes: Improper gating or casting parameters (flask too cold).Possible Causes: Primarily due to "hot spots" or heat affected zones.

. The cracks often show a fine dendritic structure. The defect most often appears in the last sections of the casting to solidify where sharp angles or wide variations of mass are present.Possible Causes: Damage or trauma to casting while still hot. Quench Cracking: A discontinuity in the form of a crevice that is visible to the naked eye. normally due to rough handling. The crack is clearly delineated by sharp edges and is of uniform width. Hot Tearing: More or less deep intercrystalline fissures of irregular outline characterize this defect. it may occur only at the surface or extend through the entire section. or. This may typically occur in bonding some other metal to a platinum casting. Possible Causes: Hindered contraction of metal due to faulty gating design or a complex feature. Possible Causes: Careless or improper heat treating. bonding hot metal with different coefficient of thermal expansion.

it may consist merely of a shallow groove with rounded edges. The defect has a characteristic appearance and may vary in depth. Possible Causes: Improper casting parameters (metal too hot. Metal-Mold Reaction. which are remote to the gating of the pattern. They are larger on thick heavy sections. Dimensions of the blemishes may vary according to the severity of the condition. Orange Peel and Alligator Skin: This is a defect where areas of the casting are covered with hollow blemishes resembling an orange peel. This is also due to the solution of gases from any source during the casting into the melt.Cold Shut or Cold Lap: A linear discontinuity with rounded edges. or improper casting parameters. Category 4 Defective Surface Surface Folds or Gas Runs: Irregular fold marks distributed across a surface of the casting. flask too cold). In the mildest case. pour too slow. A cold shut occurs on wide surfaces of the casting. This defect most often occurs on thin sections. in thin sections that are difficult to fill or where two streams of metal converge in the mold due to the sequence of filling. Possible Causes: Inadequate gating. This symptom may also appear if the wax pattern was not properly smooth or repaired. .

comprised of an intimate mixture of investment material and metal having a . Possibly a "wax sink" which was merely replicated in metal. This can also be caused be substandard investment at the casting surface. Possible Causes: Solidification contraction (surface collapse) where the pattern was improperly gated. Possible Causes: A reaction between the metal and the ceramic in the mold or the crucible. The surface of the depression is normally no different than that of other areas of the casting.Possible Causes: Improper casting parameters (everything too hot and too fast). Metal Penetration: Contrary to the name. such as the O2 in the atmosphere forming oxides (slag) in the melt. Sink Marks. External Slag Inclusions: These are small shallow angular surface cavities of varying widths. Draw and Suck-In: These are depressions in the casting surface at heavy metal sections and intersections. Any other contamination during the casting process can generate this defect as well. They are typically uniform in their depth and are more prevalent toward the top of the mold. this defect is actually a projection of metal at the surface of no particular geometric shape.

spongy appearance. usually distant from the gate area. Edges are rounded and the adjacent surfaces are generally shiny. Possible Causes: Improper (too hot or forceful) casting parameters. Dip Coat Spall. but strongly adhering to the casting. Poor quality investment material. application. . Category 5 Incomplete Casting Misrun This is a defect where a portion of the casting is missing. This can be the result of a general lack of adherence between coating layers of the ceramic. Possible Causes: Total or partial spalling of dipcoat. This defect typically occurs in hot sections of the casting. Scab: This is a defect that occurs when a flake or piece of mold material is trapped within the metal surface. it can also be due to an improper formulation. drying of the ceramic or improper adhesion of the ceramic to the wax.

The edges adjacent to the missing section are slightly rounded. This can also be due to improper venting (permeability. Category 6 Incorrect Dimensions or Shape Mutilation: Areas of the casting are thinner than the pattern or they are deformed in relation to the original pattern. This can also to be due to an interruption of the pour.Possible Causes: Inadequate pouring temperature or flask too cold. The gating may be too small or improperly located with respect to the casting features. vents or gating). . which does not allow the molten metal into the mold. all other contours conform to the original pattern. Poured Short: The upper or extended areas of the casting are not filled. gates and pattern are all filled to the same height on the casting. The sprue. Possible Causes: Insufficient quantity of metal poured.

Category 7 Inclusions or Structural Anomalies Slag.Possible Causes: Mutilation of pattern features after casting caused from dropping. Possible Causes: Restrained contraction due to casting design. gating design or overall mold construction or arrangement. flat areas or where changes in thickness take place. Improper Shrinkage Allowance: All measurements of the casting are uniformly large or small in comparison to the specified dimensions. This can also be due to excessive cleaning or grinding of the pattern during finishing. Such distortions occur in long. Dross or Other Ceroxide Inclusions: Irregularly shaped non-metallic inclusions resembling a ceramic material. . Casting Distortion: The casting displays overall distortion in comparison with the original pattern and the mold. Possible Causes: The shrink rule used in making the pattern was incorrect and differed from the actual shrinkage of the alloy used. These inclusions may occur below the casting surface and may not be visible until the piece is finished and polished. An investment material that is too weak to resist normal mold contraction can also cause this. twisting and knocking.

The group reviews the list and duplicate ideas are discarded. Ideas are solicited during this session until all possibilities are exhausted..Possible Causes: The origin of the inclusion may be from a contamination in the metal source or from the crucible where the melt is prepared or from loose ceramic or foreign material in the mold itself. carbon. "What has caused this problem?" All members give their ideas while one person writes down the suggestions. It is generally true that "there is usually enough skill in a company to identify and diagnose the technical aspect of the main problems. [7] Brainstorming This is a common method to creatively get a high volume of input into a problem. A central question is posed. more or less finely dispersed and sometimes rather large. e. The casting may appear brittle and will display cracking if only slightly bent.g. All suggestions are used as springboards for additional ideas. A brainstorming session starts with a group whose participants all have information on the detected defect. Hard Spots: Hard inclusions." [6] This should be a team effort that involves the quality techniques of brainstorming to uncover all possible contributions to the defect and the fishbone diagram to lead the way to corrective action. A central concept to this strategy is that no idea is criticized. Possible Causes: Contamination by foreign material like silica. [8] . all the causes must be examined in order to pinpoint the true root cause of the problem. etc. Defect Analysis Once the defect has been properly identified.

Equipment and Environment. then.e. Materials. The observation of one defective piece does not inevitably imply that the process is out of control." 10 With all the process variables moving within their natural state of control. Minor excursions from the process or any special process events are listed. With regard to sporadic defects. corrective action can be taken to insure the problem will not recur. "the cause and effect relationship is often simple and localized.People. Any variation of the process that occurred concurrent with the defect is documented on this tool. the useful life of a slurry may be arbitrarily set at a shorter time frame even though all the recordable variables remain in apparent control beyond that point. It has been well established that "predictable performance is not necessarily the same as desirable performance. if spalling is a problem. A team draws out the skeleton of the fishbone by identifying all the possible sources of variation in the process. The fishbone diagram can efficiently identify the significant sources of the variation and allow the proper corrective action to be initiated. then. The "fishbone" takes an effect (defect) and traces its possible causes using the five factors of a process -. or. i. If the cause of a defect is related to quasicontrolled variables such as gating. Methods. The Fishbone Diagram The fishbone diagram is another method for identifying defect causes." [9] The corrective action for these defects will either involve making some change in the process to avoid the defect. corrective action will involve controls to keep the process from deviating from its proven path again. the control limit will have to be made artificially tighter to disallow the potential for problems. if a design that has fine . There are many process variables. If a control limit is marginal.. Once the root cause has been determined. a defect can occur that can only be explained by a slight drift of a key control characteristic. the ideal corrective action would be to improve the application of these methods for the type of patterns which cause the difficulty. sometimes results in a defect and sometimes not. firing or casting techniques. investment. Corrective Action The correction of defects will vary depending upon the root cause. The group can then discuss and determine the most likely root cause of the defect. For instance.This list becomes the basis for the evaluation of the root cause. For instance. which can contribute to defects.

color-coding. The course of action must be communicated to all process participants and the changes to correct the defect must be integrated immediately into the process. Facilitation: Making the work easier to perform. After a few such occurrences. posted instructions. observer. The only way to attain this goal is with a well-controlled and monitored process. the corrective action is to insure that the system will not allow such excursions to take place again. The mystery of sporadic defects must be solved to insure that a casting customer get a superior product and not repetitious excuses. analyzed and corrected.. e. the defect analysis may uncover that the special cause of the error. not appraisal. 5. sequential checklist. In any case.g.g. 3. etc. Of course. amend the gating to accommodate the appropriate casting method. Elimination: Redesigning the process so the task with the potential error is no longer necessary. If the defect was caused by violation of control limits or improper application of established process variables. Process control must be updated regularly by process correction. Platinum casters need to pursue the elimination of defects as an unrelenting detective pursues a suspect in order to unlock the secrets in the investment casting process." [12] It is unavoid-able that a defect will occur even in a tightly controlled process.. etc. As Philip Crosby has stated. "The system for causing quality is prevention. Detection: Detecting an error before further processing. Mere inspection of the output will not improve the quality of the final product. Preventing that defect from recurrence is the only way to ensure that a designer¶s vision will be realized in a casting. defects observed in the output of the casting process need to be identified. software.detail along with thick sections does not cast well with standard gating and casting parameters. e. 2. In conclusion. Mitigation: Minimizing the effect of the error. corrective action must include some documentation of all the important information derived from the identification and analysis of the defect. an established process is developed for complex geometry patterns. . Replacement: Substituting a more reliable process for the employee. 4. This can be done by: [11] 1.

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