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Lesson Objectives:

Todays lesson objectives:

Investment casting principles
Lost foam casting procedures

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Investment Casting
Also called the lost-wax process
The pattern is made of wax or a plastic

(e.g. polystyrene by moulding)

The term investment derives from the
fact that the pattern is invested with
refractory material.
Wax pattern requires careful handling
during moulding because they are not
strong unlike plastics.
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Investment Casting (cont.)

But wax can be recovered and reused.
This is a type of precision casting


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Procedures in Investment Casting

(1) The pattern is made by injecting molten wax or plastic into a

metal die in the shape of the pattern
(2) Once the pattern solidified, then it is removed from the mould

(3) The pattern is assembled where a number of patterns can be

joined to make one mould, significantly increase the production rate
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Procedures in Investment Casting


(4) (5) (6) The pattern is then dipped into a slurry of refractory
material such as very fine silica and binders, including water, ethyl
silicate, and acids.
After initial coating has dried, the pattern is coated repeatedly
to increase its thickness until the mould is completed.
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Procedures in Investment Casting


(7) The mould is dried and heated to a temperature 90 175C. It is held for
about 12 hours to melt out the wax. Then it is fired to 650 1050C for about
4 hours to drive off the water and burn off any residual wax.
(8) Then the molten metal is poured and solidified.
(9) (10) The mould is broken up and casting to be removed
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Investment Casting of a Rotor

for a gas turbine

(a) Wax pattern assembly.

(b) Ceramic shell around wax pattern.
(c) Wax is melted out and the mould is filled, under a vacuum, with
molten superalloy.
(d) The cast rotor, produced to net or near-net shape.
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Advantages and Disadvantages

of Investment Casting

Parts of great complexity and

intricacy can be cast
Close dimensional control and good
surface finish
Wax can usually be recovered for
Additional machining is not normally
required - this is a net shape process
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Advantages and Disadvantages

of Investment Casting (cont.)

Many processing steps are required

Relatively expensive process

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Lost-foam Casting (Evaporativepattern casting)

Quite similar to investment casting

process. (precision casting)

Uses polystyrene pattern which
evaporates upon contact with molten
metal to form a cavity for the casting.
It is important casting process for
ferrous and non-ferrous metal especially
in automotive industry.
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Expandable-Pattern Casting Process

Schematic illustration of the expandable-pattern casting process,

also known as lost-foam or evaporative casting.
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Expandable-Pattern Casting
Process (cont.)

1. Raw material (expandable polystyrene, EPS) is placed in a preheated die

(usually aluminium). Once heated, the polystyrene expands and takes the
shape of the die cavity.
2. Once cooled, the die is opened and the polystyrene pattern is
removed. They may be arranged in cluster assembly.
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Expandable-Pattern Casting
Process (cont.)

3. The pattern is coated with refractory slurry, dried and

placed in a flask.
4. The flask is filled with loose, fine sand which supports the
pattern. Then the pattern is compacted inside it.
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Expandable-Pattern Casting
Process (cont.)

5. The molten metal is poured into the mould. This immediately vaporizes
the pattern and fills the mould cavity. The heat degrades (depolymerizes)
polystyrene and the products are vented into surrounding sand.
6. Once cooled, the parts are shakeout to get the final products.
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Evaporative Pattern Casting of an Engine


(a) Metal is poured into mold for lost-foam casting of a 60-hp. 3-cylinder marine
engine; (b) finished engine block. Source: Courtesy of Mercury Marine.
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Lost-foam Casting
(Evaporative-pattern casting)
No parting lines, cores, risers etc.
Inexpensive flasks are satisfactory.
Polystyrenes are in expensive
Net shape process (no secondary work)

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Thats all ..
Any questions??

IQ + EQ + SQ = TQ
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