Characterization and Correction of Casting Defects

Timothy

L. Donohue

and

Dr.

Helmut

F. Frye,

Ph.D .• TeehForm

.

Advanced Casting Technology, L.L. C.

latinum casting defects are often vel)' difficult \0 characterize clue to the intrinsic complexity ofthe investment casting process. All defects will fall into one 01' more of the cstablished seven categories of casting defects. The proper identification of a particular defect is the prerequisite to correcting and controlling the quality of pla tin urn castings. It is contended that a system or defect identification should be based solely upon morphological criteria with no prior assumptions relating to the cause or the defect. The nature of a casting defect can only be determined by correctly categorizing the shape, appearancc, location and dimensions of the defect. The imporLance of a controlled and comprehcnsive defect analysis program is advanced. Once appropriately classified, the possible causes call be examined and the corrective action can be taken. Investment casting has often been referred to as "a process that really knows how to keep a secret." Even in a controlled process, defects in the output can occur which defy rational explanation. The complexity of the process is the result of integrating the varied disciplines of physics, therrnodynamics and chemistry. When

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these factors arc combined with the problems associated with the high temperature alloys of the platinum family, the root cause of a casting defect can truly become a lllyS tc ry. Castillg defects in a controlled process will generally fall into one of two categories. Defects can be chronic, i.e., long-standing, which require a remedy through a process change usually via designed experiments; or, sporadic, which are sudden adverse changes in the normal capability of the process. Sporadic defects are probably the most troublcsornc for casters. in a controlled process defects do not just happen, they are caused. "If a defect occurs, measures must be adopted to eliminate its cause and prevent its repetition.,,1 It is the purpose of this article to examine the characterization, analysis and correction of only sporadic platinurn casting defects because, "the roads to diagnosis and remedy diffcr remarkably for sporadic defects and chronic defects. ,," Defect

Characterization
must be defects. journey

Two distinctjourncys taken to correct sporadic They are "the diagnostic:

from symptolll to cause and the remedial journey from cause to reruedy'" (.I'l'l: Fig'llre 1). There is a temptation to attempt to diagnosc a defect by the possible causes; hut, an incorrect. diagnosis of the 1'00t cause can lead to an incomplete 01' incorrect remedy of the problem. It is importaut to correctly identify the defect symptoms prior to assigning the cause 1.0 the problem. False remedies not only fa.il to solve the problem, they can confuse the issues and make it more difficult to cure the defect. In gcncral, a casting defect is defined as an observable and unplanned variatiou of a specification. The identity of a particular casting defect is based upon the specific shape, appearance, location and dimension 01' profile of the anomaly. The propel' identification of a specific defect is the prerequisite to correcting and controlling the quality of castings. A problem solving approach that is characterized by the unique "morphology of tile defects is more logical than one based upon the causes since it requires no .a . [11'101' ssurnpuons to b e mac I e. ,,4 The idea is to empirically observe the symptoms in order to classify and define the defect.

Defect Analysis

Figure 1 - Defect Analysis Map

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' as projccrious of irl'(~glliar Ihickncss often with lacy edges.lre SIll()()LlI walled. Th(~sc . TIle thin layer of ceramic next to the patteru is broken t luo ugh during casting anr] the ail' hubbies fill wit h inc-tal. CmLI'PS' '\[0 ld has been fractured: 1. l ncomplctc Casting F. Since the cause and remedy of each category of defect will involve a distinct corrective action. Category B: Cavities A: Projections Cracked or Broken Mold: Blowholes. They occur along the joint or parting line of the mold or wherever two elements of the mold intersect.lI1cc.). Smaller «aviric» appeal' ill gl'Oll[lS while ." These defects are: A. Metallic Projections B. Discontinuities D. it is apparent that. Cracks will initiate <It the sl1l'fa('(~ of Ilw mold cavil). discontmuities 01' a defective surface.nglcs. nearly spherical. to observe aud record in order 10 classify the defect The following will examine the sevell categories or defects in greater detail as well as some of the possible causes as they relate to plarinurn casting.ing lines. Defective Surface E. Pinholes: Joint Flash or Fins: These 'I[)lwa. This defect occllrs rnost often in reentrant . Possible Possible Causes. During casting. temperature 01' heating curve dried too high in kiln 100 rapid. Cavities C. Possible Possible Causes: Flash could be left on in the wax pattern orjoints in wax are angular. ilppem'. Incorrect Dimensions or one of the faces of the casting surface. resistanc«.tel'll. During Ihel'lIlocycling q. ((IIISeS' Ail' hllhbl(~s lodged within the investment close to the pat. clue to an inadeC[uale strength of Ihe investment Sweating or Dip Air: Veining or Finning: Shape C. Inclusions Anomalies or Structural Very often in the jcwclry industry. which have been established.+ Smooth surface metallic projcci ions that are nearly spherical in shape. location and dimension or profile of the defcct is imporlilnl.There are only seven ciltegories of casting defects.. situated along part.1\'il-ics often not contacting t hc slliface. blind holes and undercuts. They are not. Category Metallic . They are porpcudicular 10 (j This is the formation of large thin fins in planes related to the posuion of the casting in the mold. This is why the shape. C. a defect will be referred to as "pitting" which cau either hc due to cavities.0 be defined morc specifically to resolve the problem. These are projections in the form of veins that an~ generally perpeudicular to the casting surface and occur either singularly 01' ill networks. Improperly mold. and extend through the wnes of least. "pitting" will need 1. At the time of dewaxiug . During investment of the pattern 2.

: .' . N:! 01' HJ.larger cavities appeal' most. The internal surface of the cavity is dendritic.' . . that is not dissolved.1 Ie pallel'l1 or tile incorrt-ct casling pnrmnetcrs to allow propPI' solidificatiou... 'J. Metnllurgical origin (any gas content in the heat.: OJ' nio ld g<ls pressure.... Mechanical entrapment (clue to insufficient mold permcahility or t.. ~:~f~f~#~. Their deptll may he as greal as :2 em.~. Possible C{//I.cri7.:":/)':~'::::::::':'~..' .. This phenomenon can also be observed if' the holes were originally in the wax and went 10 inv(~slillg without correction. :~: ..: .. Possibie Causes: Shrink is always caused by the volume coutraction mel <IIduring solidification. shnp«. T III proper Possible Causes./ . ". . Possible Crmscs: Pl'irn<lrily due to "hoi spots " or Ileal affected zones.:. Gas Irorn mold materials (excess binders.<lsting pa)'anlt'I(~I's (Ilnsk 100 cold).~ :. additives 01' hydrocarhous from waxes). <IIgal(~S or at isolated surraces Ihal art' cllaract. the funnel shape defect d()L's 1101 cxtcud to I he surface. ~ . tears 01' fissures.. This is a shrinkag« cavily thai extends to the exterior surface or a casting..:"' Shrinkage cavity no rmallv found in heavy sections of a castillg: but. .g.~. / ... . Narrow cavities rcscmhliru. generally perpendiculnr 1"0 the surface of' Ihe casting.:/ '.~. The walls of the cavity arc..~::. e. These are produced by gas entrapped in the metal during solidification and caused by: 1. Ext ernal shrink will appeal' when molds arc improperly galed Iar I'r(lJll the heavy sections.m-hulcnce in the gatillg system). or Internal or Blind Shrinkage: Dispersed Shrinkage: Centerline Of' Axial Shrinkage: ~~.l ur-k arcas of 1. . Tile defect gelle). -' . J IllPI'OIWJ' galing 01' (. These defects can appear in all regions of the casting. often in isolation. .. and deudritir-. Metal contraction duri ng so lid ificntion..I'CS. 7 ....~~:::'~.It molrl inrcrsecI ion: and I lit' possible intervention of atmosphcri.eci by slow solidification. Open or External Shrinkage: Corner or Fille: Shrinkage: Possible Causes.. .1I10St often rough 2.impro IWI' gating desigll.. '\ cavitj 0)' porolls region along he centerline 01' casting sections that is plate-like or worru-likc ill t Possible Causes: galing of t. A cavity that cllwl'ges 10 I he surface ill rccntra n l <Ingles of the pattern..ern.ally is located toIY<lI·dthe upper section of rh« casting 01' at the intersection of casting walls.'::::::<~::. Improper gating. This gCllerally occurs ill heavy sections with <I tunnel shaped and sometimes eloJlgated patt.

Microshrinkage or Shrinkage Porosity: ttoi Tearing: Cold Shut or Cold Lap: This defect has a spollgy appeal'. It is g~llerally localized ill the last section to fl'(~ez~ off during solidification. line fissures A lineal' discontinuity with rounded edges. it may c. ill thin sections that (Ire difficult 1. gating 0)' Possible Causes Hindered coutrac- lion or metal due to faulty gating design 01' a complex feature. which are remote to the gating of tl)(~ pattern. 8 . The defect most often (lppcars in the last sections of the casting to solidil~y where sharp angles or wide variations of mass are present.0 rill 01' where two streams of metal converge in the mold clue to the sequence of tillmg. Hot Cracking: Catezorv . It is most.o n si st merely of a shallow groove with rounded edgcs. Possible casting improper parameters.ing. A cold shut occurs on wide surfaces of the cast ing. The crack is clearly delineated by sharp edges and is of uniform width. The cracks often show a fine dendritic structure.inui ties Quench Cracking: Possible Causes: Inadequate or improper gat. Possible C{/IL\'es: Careless Possible Causes: Damage or trauma to casting while still hot. The design of the casting is such that the crack would not be expected to result from the solidification forces duri ng cooling. often found in alloys with a widcr liquidus-solidus range. sometimes dendritic 0)' ill the form of small superimposed cavities.Macroshrinkage. often scarcely visible because the casling has not separated into fragments. 01' im- propel' heat treating.)])ce. More or less deep iutetcrysralof irregular outline characterize this defect. normally due to rough handling. This dcfeci most often occurs on thin sections.h« mildest case. Irregular folcl marks distributed across a surface of the casting.' D: t> Defective Surface Surface Folds or Gas Runs: A crack. Category C: Discont. cas ling parameters. The defect has a characteristic appearallce and Ilwy vary in depth In t. A discontinuity in the form of a crevice that is visible to the naked eye. This may typically occur in bond ing some other metal to a platinum casting. bonding hot metal with different coefficient of thermal expansion. ((/lLI·CS. it may ocelli' only at the surface 01' extend through the entire section. 01'.

lace or the depression is normally no different than that of other areas of the casting. flask too cold). material. This can be the result of a gcnerallack or adherence hctwccn coating layers or the ceramic.0 the name. Poor quality investment. This symptom may also appeal' if the wax pattern was not properly smooth 01' repaired. Possible Causes: A reaction between the metal and the ceramic in the mold or the crucible. Orange Peel and Alligator Skin: External Slag Inclusions: Dip Coat Spall. this defect is actually a projection of metal at the surface of no particu1<11' geometric shape. such CIS the 0" in the atmosphere fOl'fning oxides (slag) in the well. Possible Causes: Improper (too hot 01' forceful) cClsting parameters. spongy appearance. Possibly a "wax sink" which was merely replicated in metal.Possible Causes: Improper casting parameters (metal too hot. The sur- Contrary 1.o the casting. it can also 1)('due to all improper formnlation. These are small shallow angular surface cavities of varying widths. This is a defect that occurs when a [Jake 01' piece of mold rnaterial is trapped within the metal surface. where areas of the casting are covered with hollow blemishes resembling an orange peel. but strongly adhering t. (hying of tile ceramic or improper adhesion of the ceramic to the wax. This defect typically occurs in hot sections of the cast: ng. Possible Causes. IIS119 . They are larger on thick heavy sections. pOllr too slow. Metal-Mold Reaction. Draw and Suck-In: Metal Penetration: Category E: Incomplete Misrun Casting These are depressions in the casting surface at heavy metal scctions and intersections. Any other contamination during the casting process call generate this defect as well. Sink Marks. Total or partial spalling of clipcoal. Dimensions of the blemishes may vary according to the severity of the condition. comprised of This is a defect where a portion of the casting is missing. This can also he caused bc substandard investment at the casting surface. Possible Causes: Solidification an intimate mixture of investment material aud metal having a contraction (surface collapse) where the pattern was improperly gated. Possible Causes: Improper casting parameters (eveqthing too hot and too fast). application. Scab: This is a defect. This is also due to the solution of gases from any source during the casting into the melt. Thcy are typically uniform in their depth and are more prevalent toward the top of the mold.

An investment material that is too weak to resist normal mold contraction can also cause this. Areas of the casting are thinner than the pattern 01' they are deformed in relation to the original pattern. Possible Causes: Restrained 10 con- Hard inclusions. Category G: Inclusions 01' Structural lies Anoma- Poured Short: r----. Casting Distortion: Pattern Mold Hard Spots: or Shape Mutilation: C -----] Casting The casting displays overall distortion in comparison with the original pattel'l1 and the mold. Hat areas 01' where changes in thickness take place. The sprue. Possible Causes: Inadequate pouring temperature 01' flask too cold. which does not allow the molten metal into the mold. gates and pattern are all tilled to the same height on the casting. more or less finely dispersed and sometimes . This can also be due to excessive cleaning 01' grinding of the pattern during finishing. Category Incorrect F: Dimensions All measurements of the casting are uniformly large or small in comparison to the specified dimensions. Edges are rounded and the adjacent surfaces are generally shiny. Possible Causes: Insufficient quantity of metal poured. gating design 01' overall mold construction 01' arrallgement. Possible Causes: The shrink rule used in making the pattern was incorrect and differed from the actual shrinkage of the alloy used. Possible Causes: Mutilation of pattern features after casting caused from dropping. Dross or Other Ceroxide Inclusions: I I R I I ~ The upper 01' extended areas of the casting are not tilled. vents 01' gating). all other contours conform to the original pattern. Such distortions occur in long. These inclusions may occur below the casting surface and may not be visible until tile piece is finished and polished. traction due to casting design.ally distant from the gate area. the casting features. This can also be due to improper venting (permeability. I I Improper Shrinkage Allowance: T I I I I Slag. twisting and knocking. This can also to be due to an interruption of the pour. Irregularly shaped nonmetallic inclusions resembling a ceramic material.-----------. The gating lllay be too small 01' improperly located with respect to. The edges adjacent to the missing section are slightly rounded. Possible Causes: The origin of the inclusion may he from a contamination in the metal source or from the crucible where the melt is prepared 01' from loose ceramic 01' foreign material ill the mold itself.

sometimes results in a defect and sometimes not. (iring 01' casting tcclmiqucs . The observation of one defective piece does not inevitably imply that the process is out of control. Defect Analysis Once the defect has been properly identified. A central concept to PEOPLE Attitude In. etc." 10 With all the process variables moving within their natural state of control. All suggestions are used as springboards for additional ideas.9 The corrective action for these defects will either involve making some change in the process to avoid the defect. For instance. The Fishbone Diagram The fishbone diagram is another method for identifying defect causes. Methods. Equipment and Environment. i. If a control limit is marginal. "the cause and effect relationship is often simple and localized. if a design that has tine detail along with thick sections does not cast well with standard gating and castillg parameters. this strategy is that no idea is criticized.l" This should be a team effort that involves the quality techniques of brainstorming to uncover all possible contributions to the defect and thefishbone diagram to lead the way to corrective ac7 tion.rarily set at a shorter time frame even though all the recordable variables remain ill apparent control beyond that point. corrective action can be taken to insure the problem will not recur. There are many process variables. "What has caused this problern:" All members give their ideas while one person writes down the suggestions. A team draws out the skeleton of the fishbone by identitying all the possible sources of variation in the process. investment. This list becomes the basis for the evaluation of the root cause. Minor excursions from thc process 01' any special process events arc listed. then. A central question is posed. Ideas are solicited during this session until all possibilities are exhausted. Materials.. A brainstorming session starts with a group whose participants all have information on the detected defect. all the causes must be examined in order to pinpoint the true root cause of the problem. The group can then discuss and determine the most likely root cause of the defect. It is generally true that "there is usually enough skill in a company to identity and diagnose the technical aspect of the main problems. which can contribute to defects. the control limit will have to be made artificially tighter to disallow the potential for problems.. the ideal corrective actiou would be to improve the application of these methods for the type of patterns which cause the difficulty. Any variation of the process that occurred concurrent with the defect is documented on this tool. The "fishbone" (see figure 2) takes an effect (defect) and traces its possible causes using the five factors of a process--People. The casting may appeal' brittle and will display cracking if only slightly bent.. pectlon Training Experience METHODS Gating? Defect Temp/Humrdlt Parameters? ENVIRO NM ENT EQUIPMENT Figure 2 . 11 Brainstorming This is a common method to creatively get a high volume of input into a problem. the useful life of a slurry may be ai-hit.Fishbone Diagram . Once the root cause has been determined. e.rather large. a defect can occur that can only be explained by a slight drift of a key control characteristic. corrective action will involve controls to keep the process from deviating from its proven path again. With regard to sporadic defects. If the cause of a defect is relatcd to quasi-controlled variables such as gatillg. 01'.. Corrective Action The correction of defects will valY depending upon the root cause. It has been well cstahlished that "predictable performance is not necessarily the same as desirable performance. carbon.e.g. then. The fishbone diagram can efficiently identify the significant MATERIALS sources of the variation and allow the proper corrective action to be initiated. For instance. The group reviews the list and duplicate ideas are disR carded. if spalling is a problem. Possible Causes: Contamination by foreign material like silica.

Industria! Diagnos- tics. lO. 2. J. Ott. p.com. Chlillit. NY. 73. 3.com. McGraw-Hili. p. the defect analysis may uncover that the special cause of the problem is due to all avoidable process error. an esta bJished process is developed for complex geometl).M. pp. 12. "Il It is unavoidable that a defect will occur even in a tightly controlled process. IL. e.el'l1s. GOALlQPC.8. Oualit. the corrective action is to insure that the system will not allow such excursions to take Flace again. not appraisal. Michael and Ritter. Some Dap Are Beller Than Or/len.. Fine. American Foundryrnen's Society. June. Juran. p. p. 5. Intenl<ltiol1i11 Atlas of Casting Defects.Crosby. PA. Preventing that defect from recurrence is the only wily to ensure that a designer's vision will be realized in a cilsting.. 1993.. J. 1994. The Memory Jogger II. Juran. p. Inc. defects observed in the output of the casting process need to be identified.y Planning and Analysis. Juran. corrective action must include some documentation of all the important information derived from the identification and analysis of the defect. p.g. In conclusion. Process control must be updated regularly by process COl'recrion.l'd. Rowley. Diane. HilllClbook on Casting and Other Defects. Detecrion: Detecting an errol' before further processing..M. 1998. 6... 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.. http://wwwjum//. Elimination: Redesigning the process so the task with the potential errol' is no longer necessary. Replacement: Substituting a more reliable process for the employee. New York. 348. World Gold Council. analyzed and corrected. Methuen. This can be done by.. Remedies (IIU/ Nos/rums. If the defect was caused by violation of control limits 01' improper application of estahlished process variables. August 1997. 2. McGraw-Hill.' 1.Wheeler. Donald J. Oualit. Mirignrioll: Minimizing the effect of the error.amend the gating to accommodate the appropriate casting method.y Magazine. JJvl. sequential checklist..y Without Teilrs. Des Plaines. Quali/y Problems. G. 7. Philip. New York. Third Edition.. LlJuran. 1997. Facilitation: Making the work easier to perform. p. /lflP://Wwwjurrtll. "The system for causing quality is prevention. 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. colorcoding. As Philip Crosby has stated. hl/p://wwwjurrll/. Dietel'. Remedies aru]Nostrums. etc. 8. 1998. Ibid. 1998. Solve Problems wi/It the Appropriate SPC Tool.-A Systemauc App{'{)ach. 4. patt. posted instructions. OUillit. 4. 19-22. Brassard. 5ti. 3. p. The mystery of sporadic defects must be solved to insure that a casting customer get a superior product and not repetitious excuses.com 1998.5. e.g. p. 12 . J. 5. QllalityProblems.y Plmllling and Analysis. 9.5.y Magazine.. After a few such occurrences. In any case. Edmund S. 1974.ll. Mere inspection of the output will not improve the quality of the final product. Of course. OUillit. Mervin T. observer. The only wily to attain this gOill is with a well-controlled and monitored process Bibliography 1. etc.12. London. Juran. 1984. software.

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