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Seminar - 7

Casting Defects

INTRODUCTION Casting in dentistry is even more of an art today than science. For this reason the skill of the casting technician is critical in the fabrication of dental casting. The transition of casting techniques in dentistry from those based on empirical research to those based on sound scientific principles can help eliminate uncertainties about the soundness of the castings and ensure that individual skill is not an overriding factor.

CAUSES OF DEFECTIVE CASTING: Defects in castings can be classified under four headings:i) ii) iii) iv) Distortion Surface roughness and irregularities Porosity Incomplete or missing detail

A) Distortion:Any marked distortion of the casting is probably

related to the distortion of wax pattern. Distortion of the wax pattern occurs due to thermal

changes and the relaxation of stresses that are caused by contraction on cooling, occluded air, molding, carving, removal and the time and temperature of storage. (Waxes


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Casting Defects

like other thermoplastics tend to return partially to their original shape after manipulation due to property known as Elastic Memory). The setting and hygroscopic expansion of the

investment may produce a non-uniform expansion of the walls of the pattern (proximal walls). The general margins are forced apart by the mold

expansion, where as the solid occlusal bar of wax resists expansion. The configuration of the pattern Distortion

Type of wax Thickness of pattern

For e.g. Distortion increase as the thickness of the pattern decreases. This accounts for some of the inaccuracies that may

occur in small castings.

B) Surface Roughness, Irregularities and Discoloration:Surface Roughness:Defined as relatively finely

spaced surface imperfections whose height, width and direction establish the predominant surface pattern. Surface irregularities:These are isolated

imperfections such as Nodules that are not characteristic of the entire surface area. Excessive roughness or irregularities on the outer

surface of the casting necessitate additional finishing and



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Casting Defects

polishing whereas irregularities on the cavity surface will prevent proper seating of the casting. The surface roughness of the casting is invariably

greater than that of the wax pattern from which it is made. The difference is probably related to particle size of

the investment and its ability to reproduce the wax pattern in microscopic detail. With proper manipulation technique, the normal

increased roughness in the casting should not be a major factor in dimensional accuracy. Generalized casting roughness may indicate a

breakdown of the investment from excessive burnout temperature

2. Air Bubbles: (Nodules) Small nodules on the castings are caused by air bubbles that become attached to the pattern during or subsequent to the investing procedure. These nodules if present on the margins or on internal surface might alter the fit of the casting, if removal of these irregularities is attempted. But if they are present in some noncritical area they can be removed easily. The best method to avoid air bubbles is to use the Vacuum Investing Technique. If manual method is used:i) Use of mechanical mixer with vibration both before and after mixing should be practiced.


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Casting Defects

ii) Wetting agent may be used (surfactant). Wetting agent should be applied in thin layer and air-dried because any excess liquid dilutes the investment, possibly producing surface irregularities. Castings with phosphate bonded investments are

more prone to such imperfections. They can be removed with or round bin. A

binocular microscope is extremely helpful in detecting and removing them. i. If there is Large Nodule:- Air trapped during investing procedure.

ii. Multiple Nodules: iii. Inadequate vacuum during investing Improper brush technique Lack of surfactant Nodules on occlusal surface:due to

excessive vibration iv. Nodules on underside:- Prolonged vibration

after pouring

2. Water Films:Wax is a repellent to water, if the investment becomes

separated from the wax pattern in some manner, a water film may form irregularly over the surface. This type of irregularity appears as minute ridges or

veins on the surface.



Seminar - 7
i) This condition occurs:-

Casting Defects

If the pattern is slightly moved, paired or vibrated after investing

ii) If there is no intimate contact of the investment and the pattern iii) Too high a liquid/powder ratio may also produce these irregularities Use of Surfactant help prevent such irregularities

3. Fins:Fins are caused by the cracks in the investment that

have been filled with molten metal. Causes of Fins:i. ii. Weak mix of the investment i.e. high water/powder ratio Improper positioning of the pattern in investment i.e. pattern placed to near the edge of the investment. iii. Too rapid heating iv. Premature heating v. Excessive casting force

vi. Rough handling of the ring after investing vii. Liner flushed with the end of the ring

4. Rapid Heating Rates:May result in Fins or Spines in the casting Sometimes a characteristic surface roughness may

also be evident because of the flaking of the investment when the water/ steam pours into the mold.


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Furthermore, this water/steam may carry some of the

salts used as modifiers into the mold and these salts are left as deposits on the walls as the water evaporates. Ideally, 60 min should elapse during the heating of the

investment filled ring from room temperature to 7000C. The greater the bulk of the investment, the more slow

it should be heated.

5. Liquid-Powder Ratio:The higher the liquid/powder ratio, the rougher the (the investment becomes weak and develop

casting cracks). -

If too little water is used the investment

unmanageably thick cannot be properly applied to the pattern in vacuum investing air may not be sufficiently removed.

6. Pattern Position:If the pattern placed too near the edge of the

investment causes fins. Positioning of several patterns too close and in the

same plane in the mold should be avoided. Because, The expansion of the wax is much greater than that of the investment, causing breakdown or cracking of the

investment if the spacing between patterns is less than 3mm.



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7. Underheating:(Low temperature

Casting Defects investment

technique) Incomplete elimination of wax residues (too short

heating time/ insufficient air available in furnace) Voids/ Porosities due to gasses formed when hot alloy

comes in contact with carbon residues. Occasionally, casting may be covered with tenacious

carbon coating that is virtually impossible to remove by picking.

8. Prolonged Heating:When high heat casting technique is used Prolonged heating of the mold Cause disintegration of gypsum bonded investment As a result, walls of the mold are roughened Furthermore, products of decomposition are sulphur compounds that contaminate the alloy to the extent that surface texture is affected Such contamination do not respond to pickling When thermal expansion technique is employed, the

mold should be heated to casting temperature never higher and the casting should be made immediately.

9. Temperature of the alloy:If alloy heating to too high temperature before casting



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Surface of the investment will get affected causing surface roughness If alloy heated with GAS-AIR torch will not be

overheated Other fuels colour emitted by gold alloy No lighter

than light orange.

10. Casting Pressure:Too high pressure during casting -> causes fins. A gauge pressure of 0.10 to 0.14 Mpa in an air

pressure casting machine. Or 3 to 4 turns of the spring in an average type of centrifugal casting machine is sufficient.

11. Composition of the Investment:Ratio of binder/ quartz

Influences surface texture (A coarse silica causes surface roughness) If the investment meets ANSI/ADA specification No.2,

the composition not a factor in the surface roughness.

12. Foreign Bodies:Presence of foreign bodies i. ii. iii. Surface roughness Incomplete castings Surface voids



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iv. Any Surface discolouration casting that shows sharp,

Casting Defects



deficiencies indicate the presence of some foreign particles in the mold, such as; i. ii. Pieces of investment Bits of carbon from flux

A rough crucible former with bits of investment

clinging to it may roughen the investment on its removal so that small particles of investment are carried into the mold with molten alloy. Surface discolouration result from sulphur

contamination either from investment breakdown or high sulphur content of flame torch. Interaction of molten alloy with sulphur black/Grey layer on the surface of gold alloys that is brittle that is brittle and does not clean readily during pickling. Inclusion of flux shows bright concavities.

13. Impact of Molten Alloy:- (Direction of the sprue) Direction of the sprue former

Such that molten alloy does not strike a weak portion of the mold surface. Such an abraded area in the mold reflects as a raised

area on the casting often too slight to be noticed but at the same time large enough to prevent complete seating of investment.



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Casting Defects

This type of irregularities can be avoided by proper

spruing so as to prevent direct impact of molten alloy at an angle of 900 to the investment surface. A glancing impact is likely to be less damaging at the

same time an undesirable turbulence is avoided. 14. Carbon Inclusions:- Carbon as from A crucible An improperly adjusted torch Carbon-containing investment Can be absorbed by the alloy during casting. May lead to formation of carbides or even create visible carbon inclusions 15. Other Causes:Certain surface discolourations/ roughness may not be

evident when the casting is complicated but may appear during service. For e.g. If a new amalgam restoration is placed adjacent to high noble alloy restoration there may be chances of contamination of the alloy by mercury. Mercury penetrates rapidly into alloy and causes loss Dissimilar metals form Galvanic cell that can lead to in ductility and greater susceptibility to corrosion. breakdown of anode (Amalgam) relative to that of cathode (noble alloy).

C) Porosities:as:Porosities in noble metal alloy casting can be classified



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Solidification * Localized shrinkage Porosity * Micro-porosity Trapped Gases * Pinhole porosity

Casting Defects Residual Air (Back pressure porosity)

* Gas inclusions * Subsurfac porosities

* Localized Shrinkage Porosity: (Shrink-Spot Porostiy) Cause -> premature termination of the flow of metal

during solidification. Linear contraction of noble metal alloys in changing

from liquid to solid 1.25% therefore continual feeding of molten metal through the sprue must occur to compensate for casting shrinkage i.e. shrinkage during solidification. If the sprue solidifies before the casting it usually

results in localized shrinkage porosity. Occurs usually near the sprue-casting junction. If can be avoided by:i. ii. Using sprue of correct thickness Attaching the sprue at the thickest portion of

the wax pattern iii. iv. Flaring the sprue at the point of attachment Placing the reservoir close to the wax-


Suck-Back Porosity:-



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Casting Defects

Localized shrinkage may also occur in the interior of

crown near the area of the sprue, if a hot spot has been created by the hot metal impinging from the sprue channel one point of the mold wall. The hot spot causes the local region to freeze last and

results in suck back porosity. Occurs often on occlusoaxial/ incisoaxial line angles

that are not well rounded. The entering metal impinges on to the mold surface at

this point (i.e. occlusoaxial/ incisoaxial line angle) and creates a higher localized mold temperature at this region known as Hot Spot. A hot spot may retain a localized pool of molten metal

after other areas of the casting have solidified. This in turn creates a shrinkage void or suck back porosity. These porosities can be eliminated:-

i. By flaring the point of sprue attachment ii. Reducing the mold melt temperature differential i.e. lowering the casting temperature by about 300.

Microporosity:Occurs from solidification shrinkage but is generally

present in Fine Grain Alloy Castings when the solidification is too rapid for the microvoids to segregate to the liquid pool. Microporosity voids are irregular in shape Such phenomena occurs from rapid solidification if

mold or casting temperature is too low.



Seminar - 7
This defect is not detectable

Casting Defects unless casting is


Pinhole and Gas Inclusion Porosity:Both these porosities are related to the entrapment of

gas during solidification. Both these are characterized by spherical contour but

size is varied i.e. gas inclusion larger in size compared to perihole. Many metal dissolve or occlude gases in their molten

state e.g. Both copper and silver dissolve O2 in large amount in liquid state. On solidification, absorbed gases are expelled

resulting in pinhole porosities. The larger voids i.e. gas inclusion porosity are caused

by gas that is mechanically trapped by the molten metal in the mold or by gas that is incorporated during the casting procedure. O2 is dissolved by some metals like silver in the alloy

when they are in molten state. During solidification gas expelled forms blebs and pores in metals. Castings that are severely contaminated with gasses

are usually black when removed and do not clean easily on pickling.



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The porosities that extend to the surface area usually

in the form of pin point holes. Large spherical porosities also caused by gas

occluded from poorly adjusted torch flame or by use of mixing or oxidizing zone of flame rather than reducing zone. These can be minimized by premelting the gold alloy

on graphite crucible or a graphite block, if the alloy has been used before and by correctly adjusting the torch flame during melting. Subsurface Porosity:Caused by simultaneous nucleation of solid grains and

gas bubbles at the first moment that the alloy freezes at the mold walls. Can be minimized by controlling the rate at which the

molten metal enters the mold.

Black Pressure Porosity:Also known as entrapped air porosity Can produce large concave depression Caused inability of air to escape through pores of

investment or by pressure gradient that displaces air towards end of the investment via molten sprue and button. Found frequently on cavity surface of crown or mesio-

occlusodistal casting.



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Casting Defects

Occasionally found on the outer surface of casting

when the casting or mold temperature is so low that the solidification occurs before the entrapped air can escape. of:i. ii. iii. Dense modern investment Increase in mold density (vacuum investing) By tendency of mold to clog with residual The incidence of entrapped air has increased by use

carbon when low heat technique is used. These factors tend to slow the venting of gases from

the mold during casting. Proper burnout, an adequate mold and casting

temperature, a sufficiently high casting pressure and proper L/P ratio can help to eliminate entrapped air porosity. Thickness of investment between the tip of pattern

and end of the ring should be not more than 6mm. Incomplete Casting:Incomplete casting when due to some reason

molten alloy is prevented from completely filling the mold. Causes:-

i. Insufficient venting of mold:Directly related to back pressure exerted by the air in mold. If air not vented molten alloy does not fill the mold before solidifying. Now, if insufficient casting pressure is applied the back pressure cannot be overcome, therefore pressure should be applied for 4 seconds.



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(The mold is filled and the alloy solidifies in 1sec, yet it is quite soft during early stages therefore pressure should be maintained for few seconds beyond this point). ii. Incomplete elimination of wax residue:Too many products of combustion remain in the mold, the pores of the investment become full and air cannot be vented properly. Contact of molten metal with wax or moisture produces an explosion that may produce sufficient back pressure to prevent the mold from being filled. Castings seen are generally shiny with rounded defects. iii. High Viscosity of Fused Metals:An incomplete casting resulting from too great a viscosity is attributed to insufficient heating. Temperature of the alloy should be raised higher than its liquid temperature so that its viscosity and surface tension are lowered and so that it does not solidify prematurity as it enters the mold. iv. Inadequate metal v. Cool mold or melt vi. Wax pattern too thin vii. If there is marginal discrepancy due to wax pattern distortion and uneven expansion.

If short rounded margins with lumpy/ rounded

button alloy not hot enough/ inadequate casting force.



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Casting Defects If short rounded margins with sharp button

Pattern too far from the end of ring. If casting is shiny Incomplete Burnout.

CONCLUSION: Good technique pays off ! These are the words of Wisdom. Good technique demands everyone involved give adequate attention to all details for safe and efficient operations. A great force working against good technique is the habit of taking short cuts which are risky attempts to save time by modifying proven procedures.