THE TEN RULES
(1) "NO POURING!" The
best quality and most reproducible castings are those produced by those few foundries designed to avoid the pouring of metal. Hard to believe? Not when you think about what happens to metal when it is poured, and how that affects it after solidification.
(2) "Do it s-l-o-w . . ." When
the melt is never poured (See Rule No. 1), and never exceeds a speed of 0.5 m/s (about 20 inches/second), the casting can stay free from oxide cracks.
(3) "DON'T STOP" While
the melt continues to rise smoothly in the mould, the liquid front stays "alive", with the surface oxide continuously breaking and sliding off the advancing meniscus to form the skin of the casting. The thin oxide on the advancing liquid front is not therefore a problem; this steady advance will ensure a good filling condition and a casting free from oxide cracks.
(4) "BUBBLES ARE BAD" Bubbles
are the most common source of porosity in castings -but their effect is usually mistaken for shrinkage, which it closely resembles, because the bubbles and their trails are often irregularly shaped.
(5) "BIG BUBBLES ARE WORSE" The
outgassing of cores can lead to huge defects, filling whole areas of the tops of castings. However, even a small blow from a core can leave a bubble trail that can create a leak defect. To avoid blows from cores, the core must be vented to the atmosphere.
(6) "AVOID SHRINKAGE" Follow
the three steps provided to assure that feeder design is as
reliable as possible.
(7) "ROCK OR ROLL" The
great majority of castings in the market place have a freezing time of several minutes. This is similar to the time taken for the convection of hot and cold liquid metal in the solidifying casting to build up, and for the resulting convection currents to start re-melting their way through the casting as it attempts to solidify. Four steps can be taken to alleviate the problems this causes.
(8) "SEVERE SEGREGATION" All
freezing will cause some segregation of alloying elements, and some alloys segregate seriously, to the point at which parts of the casting will be well outside chemical specification. In principle the problem can be predicted by computer packages, and therefore allowed for in the design.
(9) "NO QUENCHING" Water
quenched castings are effectively pre-loaded to approximately 50 % of their failure stress before being put into service. Polymer quenchants or air quenching are much more reasonable alternatives.
(10) "THE TOOL RULE" The
best castings start by thinking about the work that happens after casting -- and that means providing pick-up points needed in machining and other finishing operations. Only then will a trauma-free, integrated, supply of castings be achieved, all accurately within dimensional specification.
or with a simple open-ended lance. and how that affects it after solidification. Current best practice is rotary degassing and should be specified when the order is placed. Thus the melt should not be poured at all if possible.definitely less than four inches (100 mm).particularly where agitation is involved. Death by Oxides -. hydrogen porosity will not be a problem no matter what the hydrogen level is! Step Two: No Pouring! -. since pouring folds in oxides. any pouring height should be reduced to a minimum -. contain oxides that act as cracks.Rule No.The subsequent handling of the melt requires great care. If transfer to another crucible or furnace is necessary. so as to avoid the unnecessary re-introduction of oxides. and the melt transferred into the mould cavity without any turbulence whatever. and in which the oxides suspended in the melt are allowed to sink or float. Some foundries de-gas with tablets. but this is not enough. the best quality and most reproducible castings are those produced by those few foundries designed to avoid the pouring of metal.Nearly all metals.
Step One: Cleanup -.Liquid aluminum alloys need treatment to reduce hydrogen and oxides.
The best quality and most reproducible castings are those produced by those few foundries designed to avoid the pouring of metal. Hard to believe? Not when you think about what happens to metal when it is poured. particularly elongation and fatigue. This can be death to the mechanical properties. If oxides are successfully reduced to a low level. particularly aluminum alloys. and preferably less than two inches (50 mm)! Bottom Line: Ultimately. view images of aluminum damaged by oxide trails. The biggest source of these troublesome oxides comes when the metal is exposed to the oxygen in open air when the metal is in its molten state -. The most important outcome of this treatment is the removal of oxides.
. view diagram of oxide formation on the surface of turbulent. and (2) properly controlled tilt-pouring (in which the mould starts from horizontal or above the horizontal. the gates are the key control point for making sure melt velocity is held to below 0. and corrosion resistance will all be randomly degraded in proportion to any excess velocity.Thus the optimum filling systems to avoid forming oxides in the casting are (1) counter-gravity. most foundries remain unaware of these recent developments!) Of the many possible design improvements. as recent research has demonstrated. creating oxide and bubble damage in the casting. key beneficial features include: (1) an off-set weir basin. 1). by oxides. . The design is often difficult. Properties.5 m/s into the mould cavity will cause the melt to jet into the mould. it has already reached a speed of 0.5 m/s. and never exceeds a speed of 0. However. (Unfortunately. most foundries use gravity pouring systems. high-speed melt. Even if the melt falls only 12 mm (about 1/2 inch!). 2:"Do
it s-l-o-w . leak tightness. Velocities higher than 0. In particular.Rule No. many precautions need to be built into the filling system design. if not actually ruined. (3) a slim runner.5 m/s.5 m/s (about 20 inches/second). and (4) gates entering the mould cavity only at the lowest points. Gravity. (2) a correctly tapered sprue. but the alternative is nearly always castings that are impaired. Speed -. . so that the melt is caused to transfer horizontally into the mould cavity without flowing downhill).To reduce these problems when pouring. Acceleration. the casting can stay free from oxide cracks. Thus all pouring introduces problems to achieve a casting free from oxide cracks! Design Features that ameliorate Pouring Problems -. correctly profiled to slow flow. and distribute melt into gates."
When the melt is never poured (See Rule No.
The horizontal channel from the sprue exit.5 m/s. distributing the metal to the gates. NOTES off-set weir basin -. The design of the basin is critical to the success of most castings. and acceleration due to gravity is far too great to control below this limit. 2 is closely related to Rule No.The entry point to the whole filling system. and thus lead to the random degradation of properties. The first step is to avoid pouring. Too much taper is as bad as too little.Buyers should note that particularly damaging features include: conical pouring basins. These features must be avoided to successfully procure reliable castings. runner -.it is absolutely essential to fill below a top limit of 0. oversized sprues and runners. Bottom Line: Rule No. and wells at the base of sprues. These all contribute to the entrainment of bubbles and oxides. narrowing towards the base. 1 -. The degree of taper has to be calculated precisely. gate -.Sources of Trouble -.The channels leading off from the runner into the mould cavity. and the next step is to find other control points to limit filling speed.The vertical channel from the filling basin that conveys the metal to the lowest point of the filling system.
. Best sprue designs taper. and a small vertical step (the weir) is an essential feature that controls the filling pattern. Conical basins should be avoided if possible. sprue -. The pouring basin is off-set from the sprue (in contrast to a conical basin which is set in-line with the sprue).
Laps of any sort can act as cracks. or finally simply filling these regions at a speed sufficient to reduce the problem to an acceptable level. stops can also occur as a result of part of the melt arriving at an overflow. an automotive oil pan).Rule No. often invisible and undetectable (except to destructive mechanical testing such as bend testing of the casting). with the surface oxide continuously breaking and sliding off the advancing meniscus to form the skin of the casting. ( view diagram of overflow. the melt front must never be allowed to come to a stop. The thin oxide on the advancing liquid front is not therefore a problem. the stationary front becomes covered with a thick oxide film. Interrupted pours are therefore a NO NO! However. Thus horizontal surfaces of castings should be avoided by design if possible.g. trapping it in the casting as an "oxide lap". the advancing front arrives at a large area expanse such as the top of a box type casting (e. The irregular filling of such flat horizontal sections of castings can lead to severe lap defects. and this is a further reason for providing ingates at every low point in the casting.) Such "waterfall" conditions are to be avoided at all costs. this steady advance will ensure a good filling condition and a casting free from oxide cracks. creating a "cold lap". The melt may break through and roll over the oxide layer.
. so that restarting its advance may not be possible. If the arrest of the front is prolonged. the liquid front stays "alive". Stops can even occur when. the front may freeze. or by tilting the mould if possible. 3:
While the melt continues to rise smoothly in the mould. after filling thin walls. If this happens. When filling the mould.
making double trouble. bubbles leave trails of oxides.)
They are manufactured with awe-inspiring efficiency in badly designed filling systems. ."
In addition to making holes in the casting. tilt pouring especially if started from above the horizontal. ( view diagram of bubble damage.but their effect is usually mistaken for shrinkage. because the bubbles and their trails are often irregularly shaped. and well designed gravity systems) all reduce bubble damage.Rule No.
. which it closely resembles. Bubbles are the most common source of porosity in castings -. Good filling systems (counter gravity. 4:
"Bubbles are Bad . Thus all those damaging features of filling systems listed for Rule 2 apply here also. .
Rule No. even a small blow from a core can leave a bubble trail that can create a leak defect. Any blowing off cores is then immediately clear. the core must be vented to the atmosphere. filling whole areas of the tops of castings. and Big Bubbles are Worse!"
The outgassing of cores can lead to huge defects. . 5:
". ( view diagram of a core blow.)
An ultimate test is for the foundry to video record the filling of the mould with the top of the mould open.
. . so the metal can be clearly seen covering the cores in turn. To avoid blows from cores. However.
(Well. by cut sections).Rule No. aided by gravity. Therefore: (1) Check that the design follows all the Feeding Rules (see book "CASTINGS" by J Campbell.
Ensure that feeder design is as reliable as possible. 6:
Feeders can't feed uphill. but not reliably. is safe.
.) (See also Rule 7). Thus feeders (risers) preferably have their tops well above the top of the casting. Feeding downhill. they can. actually. and (2) Use a reliable computer modelling package. and (3) Check test castings by X-ray radiography (or somewhat less reliably. Published by Butterworths 1991).
Most computer packages cannot simulate it.Rule No. 7:
"Rock or Roll"
The great majority of castings in the market place have a freezing time of several minutes. and for the resulting convection currents to start remelting their way through the casting as it attempts to solidify.)
. and thus predict the wrong shrinkage pattern in the casting. and little researched. This little-known problem can lead to unsuitable temperature gradients (for instance from bottom gating in an effort to promote good filling) and so can undermine the effectiveness of feeders. This is similar to the time taken for the convection of hot and cold liquid metal in the solidifying casting to build up. The problem is a source of concern. because it is little understood. (counter-gravity filling as applied in the Cosworth Process. (1) Careful horizontal transfer by tilt casting operations (requires a start tilt condition above the horizontal." i. (2) Counter-gravity filling followed by immediate roll-over of the mould through 180 degrees. and a slow tilt speed). and lead to segregation and a kind of shrinkage damage that is difficult to eliminate. Problems of convection are eliminated by "rock or roll.e.
by (3) Feeding by oversized feeders placed on the top of the casting and feeding under gravity. the problems of convection are automatically avoided in very thin or very thick section castings. Thick section castings take so long to freeze that there is plenty of time prior to freezing for hot metal to convect upwards into the feeders and for the cold metal to sink to the bottom.
. neither of these solutions is possible because most foundries work only with static moulds. (4) Avoiding convection loops. however.Usually. Thin section castings freeze quickly before convection can build up to become important. but not necessarily eliminated. In such cases the problem is reduced. As an aside. Thus the melt can redistribute. favourably arranging the temperature gradients before freezing starts. especially in the rigging of investment castings (where the problem is especially common).
However. and at other parts where freezing patterns are altered (such as under feeders or under chills). strong or brittle. Conversely. For instance Al-4. causing those regions to be too soft and weak. some alloys segregate seriously. In principle the problem can be predicted by computer packages.0 per cent copper.5Cu alloys might have specification limits of 4. 8:
All freezing will cause some segregation of alloying elements.5 per cent or more in a chilled area. perhaps causing that locality to be too hard.0 and 5. and therefore allowed for in the design (more information in "CASTINGS").
Most foundries are unaware of the problem. to the point at which parts of the casting will be well outside chemical specification. Most casting alloys segregate their elements to only a small extent. Although the average percentage of the copper in the casting will be normally nicely inside this limit.5 % Cu or less. parts of the casting can easily rise to 5. other hotter parts will decrease to 3.Rule No. Such problems occur naturally at abrupt changes in section (which is a concern since such locations are usually also regions of stress concentration). so that the problem is not noticeable (for instance as in most Al-Si-Mg alloys). A designer and his buyer need to proceed therefore with caution.
However. Such procedures can effectively reduce the total strength of castings by half. The US National Specifications that specify water quenching as part of the heat treatment of aluminium alloy castings are therefore not (definitely not) recommended. It is normally only possible in round components such as discs with radial spokes like wheels and housings for turbine engines etc. since both are extremely bad).Rule No.
Polymer quenchants or air quenching are much more reasonable alternatives. The slight loss of strength (about 5 to 10 %) as indicated by test bar results is more than compensated by the avoidance of the 50 % or more loss that the casting as a whole suffers when quenched into water. and constitute a major reason for casting failures in service.
. this is not easy to arrange. This is because water quenched castings are effectively pre-loaded to approximately 50 % of their failure stress before being put into service. Water quenching to give a planned residual stress can be beneficial. 9:
Never quench light alloy castings into water (either hot or cold.
"The Tool Rule"
Datums and pick-up points need to be agreed between the pattern or tool maker. and the inevitable delays in supply. integrated. The incorporation of lugs that simultaneously provide clamping points is helpful. the casting engineer. Thus it is essential that the buyer spends time with the people who machine his parts in order to understand their needs in this area. and the machinist to avoid unnecessary scrap after the casting has been made. the foundry can check the casting. all accurately within dimensional specification.
. This agreement has to be put in place at the time of the placing of the order for the parts. and will have some points in conflict). and the machinist can set up the part for machining. This is an absolutely accurate system. 7 points is too many. supply of castings be achieved. (2) The traditional "cone. reliable and low cost "passive" location systems (1)
A rectilinear job can use a classical "6 point" system. groove and flat" system is another absolute location technique useful for some geometries of casting. all parties working from the same working datum points. the patternmaker or tool maker can check the tooling. since the part is not uniquely located. Only then will a trauma-free. Once the pick-up points have been agreed. (5 points is not enough. Strongly recommended are the robust.
of course. and an average is calculated (usually by built-in computer).(3) A part with some cylindrical form that needs to be held in a 3-jaw chuck needs the 3 locations at 120 degrees. This approach may be necessary for flexible. the method does not have the benefit of providing the integration of the supply chain that is so valuable for trouble-free supply. plus end stop. this route is. This is usually less easy to work as an absolute system. open box type products (such as an oil pan with flat. of course. Active systems are those that require several measurements to be taken from a casting when it is presented to the machine tool. plus a "clock" stop (to define its angle of rotation).
. more expensive and the machine tools to deal with such castings not so widely available. but has sufficient accuracy for most applications. Also. unstrengthened walls). However.