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Introduction to Metal Casting

Principle of Metal Casting On it's most basic level, when reduced to the most essential elements, molten metal is poured into a cavity called a mold, the mold forms a pre-determined shape, the metal cools to the point of solidification, after which it can be called a casting. A Brief History of Metal Casting

500 AD

The timeline above has the high points, and only includes most favorite characters and events, below will be several other players that would have made the chart too messy... 1 - Gold (Au) is speculated to be the first metal to be cast, due to it's naturally occurring state in metallic form, there is evidence that dates back as far as 4000BC of this in the Eurasiatic Steppe Belt also known as the Russian Black Sea area. Between 4000BC and 2000BC there was much development in the art of metal casting, including the use of Copper (Cu) and eventually by 2000BC the smelting of Iron (Fe). The dates are fuzzy and unimportant with regard to passing this modules examination. But the prevailing theory is that droplets of copper were discovered in the ashes of firepits, formed from the stone that circled or lined the fire. Humans, being the clever organisms that we are eventually determined that this too, was a metal like gold, and could be extracted from specific types of stone materials... An excellent BBC audio file exists on this theory under the programme heading "Material World" and the episode is "Mining Great Ormes Head"... it may not be exact but that should be close enough to get you there... 2 - 2000BC is a nice marker that defines the discovery of Iron, similar to Copper (Cu) it is not a naturally occurring metal, but as a species we applied similar methods to extract it as were developed for Copper (Cu). 1000BC too should have been included, on the timeline as it is significant in that as populations grew and migrated the above skills moved with them. The Chinese are credited with developing a significant body of casting technology over that period that included Lost-Wax casting. 3 - By 600BC the Chinese had also discovered Iron (Fe) and were developing methods to smelt and cast it.

4 - This date of 500AD is curious, in that cast crucible steel was first being used in India at that time, what is surprising is that the technology was lost for a considerable period and did not get rediscovered until 1200 years later in 1750 by Benjamin Huntsman in England. 5 - Huntsman likely could not have developed his process if not for Abraham Darby of Coalbrookdale in England. Darby is credited as the first foundry man to use Coke as a fuel for firing his Iron (Fe) foundry in 1730. It's also of some significance that an energy crisis was afoot in the 1800's due to all the wood being burnt into charcoal, ship building and the general need of growing populations, empires and our drive towards advancing our collective life styles through innovation... The move to Coke (not pepsi) cut the cost of Iron (Fe) production to 1/3rd what it was... 6 - 1855AD is the year Sir Henry Bessemer, one of my favorite figures in history filed a patent on the Bessemer process. Bessemer is best remembered for developing a method of decarborizing Iron (Fe) into steel... The jist of it has to do with blowing air through the molten Iron (Fe) in the hopes that the oxygen gathers some of the Carbon out of the liquid metal, eventually reducing it to less than 2% carbon content... The demarcation between Steel & Iron (Fe)... Do not take the last statement as gospel yet, as that will be dealt with in far more detail under the categorization of Ferrous metals later... For more information on Sir Henry Bessemer, again I direct you to the BBC radio 4 series called "Inventors Imperfect" Sir Henry had an entire 30min episode on his life, the Bessemer process and some of his other legacies, that landed him as an Inventor Imperfect. There are so many other great minds that have contributed to the advancement of casting technology that an entire course on just them would be required... This is largely due to the evolution of the patent office and the general trend toward recorded history... If such offices and practices existed in 500AD we would never have lost the first process of making crucible steel in India, and just think how far along we'd be now... 7 - Today, All this rich history has been driving toward one purpose, one goal, one objective, and that is theworkshop.ca, by knowing where we've been, I hope to have a better sense of where I will go. Key Metals in the Foundry or Metal Casting Aluminum (Al), Copper (Cu), Chromium (Cr) Iron (Fe), Magnesium (Mg), Manganese (Mn) Nickel (Ni), Silicon (Si), Tin (Sn), Zinc (Zn) The above are identified with their Elemental names as found in the periodic table, the only thing to note at this time is that Silicon (Si) is grouped as a semi-metal in the periodic table and not as a pure metal. Key Nonmetals in Metal Casting Carbon (C), Sulphur (S), Phosphorus (P) Hydrogen (H), Nitrogen (N), Oxygen (O)

Take note, the last three elements listed (Hydrogen (H), Nitrogen (N), Oxygen (O)) are typically encountered in a gaseous state and will reflect a different elemental symbology as shown below Hydrogen (H2), Nitrogen (N2), Oxygen (O2) Key oxides (in the form of ceramics) Alumina (Al2O3), Silica (SiO2), Magnesia (MgO) and Calcium Oxide (CaO) The compounds listed in this section are the primary constituents of Slag or Dross encountered in the process of melting metals and their reaction to Oxygen (O) found in the atmosphere An effort has been made to list the Elemental symbol alongside of the name or compound, this is a practice that should continue... Even if the word Iron (Fe) is used 5 (Five) times within a single sentence... Provided the symbols are accurate to the names, it should aid in the process of internalizing their symbol... I'm not saying that this will be on the final Exam, but I'd be quite surprised if it wasn't there just as a "Gimme" mark... and if you don't know these cold, you have no business passing the exam... Classification of Foundries In general terms Foundries can be grouped by the type of metals that they cast, the primary groupings are "Ferrous" and "Non-Ferrous". The term Ferrous relates to the presence of Iron (Fe) in the metal being poured. A Ferrous foundry would typically pour cast iron in it's various forms including but not limited to the various grades of steel. A Non-Ferrous foundry would typically pour alloys of metal that are NOT Iron (Fe) based, these would include, but are not limited to Aluminum (Al) and all it various alloys, Copper (Cu) and it's alloys of brass and bronze, as well as the Magnesium (Mg) based alloys. If pressed further I would divide the above categories into 2 (two) other sub-groupings called Jobbing and Captive foundries. Captive foundries are typically a division of a larger corporation or business, they are considered "Captive" in that they only make castings for the parent company. A good example of a captive foundry would be the engine block division of an automotive manufacturing facility. One of the advantages of creating a captive foundry would be consistency of production and greater control of product development and retention of intellectual property relating to the castings, and proprietary techniques developed for their production. The Jobbing Foundry is one that is an open shop that produces castings for other companies, personally I would think that Jobbing Foundries would employ a broader skill-set and be more flexible to meet the constant changes that influence the casting market. Similarly Jobbing Foundries would have the potential to be more dynamic due to the ever changing types of work performed, and would be able to offer staff greater challenges. Parts Integration

The final sub-section of Module 1 deals with the ideology of casting, it's tremendous potential, and the current trend towards parts integration. The trend specifically in the automotive market is the creation of complex castings that are replacing similarly complex parts that had previously been stamped, machined or fabricated by a combination of both. The very idea of metal casting is such that it evokes the tenets of the Taoist "Un-carved block"... A block of wood, sitting on the bench before the carver. In it's virgin state it holds the myriad of possibilities, it can be anything and everything that is imaginable that would fit within it's volumetric dimensioning. And such is the mound of molders sand before it takes the shape of the casting that is to be. Over the course of the last 8 or 9 months that I've been letting the idea of extending theworkshop.ca into a full fledged foundry, my many relatives and friends have suggested ideas for object, tools, parts, art pieces etc that I could cast with the idea that it has business potential... I agree that all of their suggestions hold promise, but the true potential of a foundry operation is that it is not constrained to a particular line or market, as like the un-carved block it holds all possibilities within it's bounds.

Melting of Metals
A prerequisite to casting is the use of metal in a molten state. The transformation of metal from solid to molten is accomplished in a variety of ways through the use of various types of furnaces. The choice of furnace type is based on these 4 factors;

Alloy Type Metal Quality Production Demands Economics

Alloys have a wide spectrum of temperatures that they melt at, the list below should illustrate this point. Metal Alloy Type Zinc Aluminum Magnesium Copper Cast Irons High Manganese Steel Monel (70N,30Cu) Nickel Based Super Alloys High Alloy Steels High Alloy Irons Carbon & Low Alloy Steel Temp Range (Fahrenheit) 650-850 1150-1350 1150-1350 1650-2150 2450-2700 2550-2650 2500-2800 2600-2800 2700-2900 2800-3000 2850-3100 Temp Range (Celsius) 345-455 620-735 620-735 908-1180 1340-1480 1400-1455 1370-1540 1430-1540 1480-1600 1540-1650 1565-1700

Titanium Zirconium

3100-3300 3350-3450

1700-1820 1845-1900

as transcribed from AFS "Technology of Metalcasting" Metal Quality is effected by oxidization and losses due to vaporization, which can adversely effect the chemical properties of the alloy being melted. Similarly the types of refractory used are matched to the basicity or acidity of the metal and/or its resultant (Dross or slag). Production demand can range from small batches under 100lbs through to 100 ton/hr continuous pour furnaces that run for days and weeks at a time uninterrupted. The economics of furnace selection relate to factors of capital depreciation, maintenance and operating labour, as well as the fuel and power consumption. Furnace Types Crucible Furnaces Pictured to the right is theworkshop.ca's original "Fat-Boy Blast Furnace", well as it turns out it isn't really a blast furnace, but is a Crucible Furnace... The Crucible Furnace is one of the oldest methods of meting metals, this one is fired with Hardwood or Charcoal... Though Propane/LPG, Oil and electricity are other ways to fire the furnace.

The basic premise is that the heat, is absorbed by the crucible and transferred to the metal until it eventually melts. These furnaces can be stationary as pictured above, or have a tilting mechanism with a fixed position crucible in the furnace.

Pictured to right is another of theworkshop.ca original designs. This is an oil-fired furnace that can melt a broader range of alloys with higher heat capabilities... Crucible furnaces are used in smaller foundry operations that melt non-ferrous alloys. Crucible furnaces are also well suited to Jobber type foundries as a selection crucibles can easily be established to meet the requirements of the various alloy types encountered.

Reverberatory Furnaces

To the right is my interpretation of a DryHearth Sloping Reverb Furnace. Reverbs are typically found in High production Aluminum foundries. They can be fired either with Gas, Oil, Electricity or a combination of the three. Advantages are High capacity, continuous runs, with issues resulting from gas pickup and excessive dross formation due to the exposed flame on the charge. There are number of various orientations and styles of reverbs. These include (but are not limited to...) Single Chamber, Front Charging, Well Fired, Dry Hearth, Tower-Type Jet Melter or Stack and the regenerative/recuperative burner system furnaces. These units are typically Monsters and can be several hundred feet long with melt capacities topping 75 Tons. Construction is typically of High Alumina Fire brick (85% Alumina) and structural steel (from what I can see in the text illustrations)... As with all furnaces there is a variety of refractory compounds that range from basic to acidic that can be used to match the pH characteristics of the metal and resultant dross/slag. A typical "Direct Arc" furnace. 3 electrodes are used that are tied to a 3 phase electrical source. The electrodes strike an arc with the metal charge. The heat of the sustained arc can be in excess of 7232F or 4000C... That's fuckin' hot!!! With such extreme heat comes the requirement of cooling with water jackets, heat exchanges and recirculation systems. Arc Furnaces can be configured with "Ultra-HighPowered" (UHP) transformers that can supply 600900KVa/ton. I believe the lower case "a" is a typo in the text and should be an "A" as in Amps... The furnace can have a pivoting point with a hydraulic actuator to tilt the furnace backward to skim of the dross/slag or forward to pour off the metal.

The high temp capacity of this furnace lends itself better toward ferrous casting than non ferrous. The electrodes can be either graphite or carbon, and are selected to match the type of metal being melted. This furnace is beyond the typical home or hobby foundry... or is it??? The In-Direct Arc furnace is similar in principle, but the arc is struck above the metal charge and is typically just one electrode. The In-Direct furnace also can be a sealed unit that operates under a reduced atmosphere for specialty metals that are sensitive to oxidization or atmospheric contamination. Titanium is a good example of a vacuum process arc furnace, but curiously it can't be considered an In-Direct Arc, as the Titanium IS THE Electrode... The considerations of pH matching refractories is stressed in the text more so with Arc furnaces, and so is reflected in this sentence... Just so you know... Acidic Refractories are Silica Dioxide (SiO2) based & Base type refractories can be either Calcium Oxide (CaO) or Magnesium Oxide (MgO). The neutral refractories are typically Alumina (Al2O3) and the less common Chrome Oxide (Cr2O3). As an aside my gut feeling is that the term should be "Chromium Oxide" rather than "Chrome Oxide" but I defer to the venerable Bible (AFS Technology of Metalcasting)... Alumina is a personal point of interest, as I have a significant qty of Aluminum Dross to refine for the remaining metal trapped in it and to extract the Alumina for future uses within the foundry.

Induction Furnaces - Core/Channel or Coreless To the right is a basic Coreless Induction furnace. The metal charge held in the crucible acts as the core and develops heat through "Eddy Currents" induced by the EMF (Electro-Magnetic-Force) that is concentrated in the centre of the circular primary coil... The illustration is a "Cross-Section" view, with the Orange depicting the heavy copper coils that surround the Crucible & Charge. The Crucible can be either pushed up and out of the core via a ram, or the Coil/shell assembly can be lifted up & away from the crucible, or the crucible can be fixed inside the coil and a tilting mechanism employed for the pouring process. There are some unusual properties of the coreless furnace that are worth noting; specifically that the metal undergoes a circulatory action or stirring once molten. This is beneficial in uniform distribution of temperature and alloy chemistry through the melt. But like all things the drawback is the potential for drawing dross or surface impurities into the melt if the stirring action is excessive. Also the Coil that surrounds the crucible is not a thin AWG #12 or 14 copper wire that you'd find in your house wiring... It is a heavy Copper tube that usually requires active cooling by passing a flow

of water through it. No specifications are given for the Wall thickness or inner diameter of the copper tubing, or I'd be out building one now rather than summarizing these notes... Lastly, the Coreless Induction furnace is capable of utilizing various frequencies to accommodate different Alloy types. Copper based alloys are more efficiently melted with AC voltage frequencies between 60 and 100Hz (Hertz), while lighter Alloys such as Aluminum are more efficiently processed at frequencies ranging from 150 thru 700Hz depending on the density of the alloy. Sweeping generalization, Low Density = High Freq, and conversely High Density = Low Freq.

The illustration to the right is of the most basic "Core/Channel" Furnace. The distinction for the less mentally adroit is the addition of a "Core". The core acts as a transfer medium for the EMF or Flux (electro-magnetically speaking NOT Chemometallurgically). The size and shape of the metal containment area is more flexible, and the maintenance of the Primary Coil is more accessible. Core/Channel Induction Furnaces are typically employed to hold Volumes of molten metals at a molten state for continuous pour operations... The practice of pre-melting and holding between 2 (two) different furnaces is called "Duplexing" (that little bastard will be on the exam...) There are issues, not the least of which is the requirement of a molten heel of metal to completely encircle the core, completing the "Secondary Coil" circuit, before the primary can be energized. This implies that the furnace is a "Continuous Melt" class unit and does not lend itself well to "Batch Melt Processing like it's Coreless counter-part. The typical issues of Metal solidification within the Channel (Loop that forms the Secondary Coil) are of considerable concern if the Alloy being processed has a high thermal expansion co-efficient as it may potentially damage the channel upon solidification, or the general hassle of dis-assembling the furnace should such a quantity of metal freeze in the channel that it can't be returned to a molten state. For these reason's there are no plans for theworkshop.ca to employs "Cored/Channel" induction furnaces in the near future. In closing the Induction Furnace section here are some cool equations and data;

And if that's not enough... 1,000Watts = 1KWatt=3,413BTU, and 1KW continuous power for a duration of 1 hour is 1Kwh, lastly 19Kwh will raise 1 ton or iron 100F. I think it would be prudent to not use the above for extended extrapolations due to such variables as heat losses and ambient temperature variables that could influence extended calculations, mileage may vary. A less exciting way to melt metal than the Electric Resistive Furnace... A series of Ni-Chrome elements are energized around the crucible and the radiant energy is absorbed by the Crucible and the metal... Wow... No noise, fumes, flames or potential for disaster... Unlike the Core/Channel Induction furnace ER type systems can take solid charge material, but they are typically used in Duplexing processes for consistent holding of molten metal... Of minor note is the "Glo-Bar" furnace that uses a Silicon Carbide rod in place of Ni-Chrome elements placed at the top of the furnace... But essentially it is an ER type with a different element... Open Hearth Furnace Since these furnaces are no-longer in use (since late 1960's early 1970's) there is no illustration, or supporting narrative. Cupola Furnaces Basically a steel tube with racks for holding a mixture of charge material, fuel and refining minerals... The fuel is ignited by an oxygen enriched atmosphere, and is blasted into the base, up through the mixture. The charge material becomes molten and flows to the base with the expected Slag. A door is provided to remove the slag, and a tap is provided to tap-off the molten metal. The illustration to the right shows a "Rear-Slagger"... Without seriously violating the Copyright of the AFS text, I'd love to have included the numerous other Cupola photo's sectional views and diagrams that are in the book... The basic premise is the same through out... Key points are to angle Tuyere slightly to 15 degrees off horizontal to get a more central blast to the center of the charge. There are lined and unlined Cupola's, with the unlined variety requiring water-cooling along the entire body of the steel shell. As well as Water cooled tuyere assemblies that extend their life considerably.

The tuyere's typically encircle the base with 6 or more nozzles facing inward, and each tuyere fed off of a common wind-box, with my personal favorite being the "Divided-Blast" cupola that has 2 (two) wind-boxes and 2 rows or tuyere's with an optimal spacing of 30 to 42" one above the other... Other enhancements that you can incorporate are exhaust heat exchangers to preheat the incoming air, this is limited to approx 700-800F for conventional refractory lined Cupolas and extended to 1000-1200F on the water cooled Tuyere models. These units typically are used for Cast Iron production with a carbon content level of 2.4% to 3.8% carbon and a production capacity of over 30 tons per hour. The approximate dimensioning for commercial Cupolas is determined by the inside diameter ranging from 18" up thru 160"... there is a slight discrepancy between the text and the lecture notes... The text notes production rates up to 100tons per hour as opposed to the 30 tons per hour previously noted... Both may appear on a test or exam, but my lawyer advises me that I have a case if either is marked wrong, unless answered out of context... There is a lower limit to diameter size that will be a function of "Critical Mass of Charge or Burden" but I'm almost positive I've read about Cupolas having inner diameters as low as 6" on other websites... These would be considered hobby or low volume units by comparison. The materials entering the top of the cupola is called a "Charge or Burden", this is a mixture of Coke, scrap Iron (or possibly Iron Ore) and a Fluxing agent (Limestone) to aid in removing impurities in the Iron. this mixture enters through a "Charging Door"... While the molten metal is taken off from a hole called a "Tap". From the time cupola is fired-up to the time it is shut down or "Dropping Bottom" is called a "Campaign". A campaign can run for several weeks on larger Cupolas. The Flux is Limestone (or Dolomite) and is added in specific proportions to the Coke (fuel) and the metal in the charge. A typical charge (according to the Lecture notes...) is 2000lbs scrap, 80lbs lime stone and 250lbs of Coke. Yielding a ratio of 25 Parts Scrap to 1 part Flux to 3.125 parts fuel. I want this basic ratio to be included beyond the scope of the study notes should I ever decide to build such a furnace, it likely will not have a 1 ton capacity... The Limestone is essentially Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3), a source of Calcium Oxide when heated... The theory is that Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) + Heat = Calcium Oxide (CaO) and Carbon Dioxide CO2) This process is referred to as Calcination. Dolomite is similar in that it is a source of Calcium Oxide (CaO) but also is a source of Magnesium Oxide (MgO)... I'm hesitant to start firing off it's equations as I just don't have the data at hand, and it's not that important... The Limestone (or Dolomite) produce oxide(s) that are pH "Basic", while the impurities of the scrap Iron and steel are Silica SiO2 and Alumina Al2O3 and some sulphur (S) which all tend to be pH "Acidic" the ratio of Acidic to Basic should be 1:1, the resultant slag will have better fluid properties for removal when this balance is achieved. The balance is determined by the ratios of Metal to Flux to Fuel, 25 : 1 : 3.125... or (%CaO +% MgO) over (%SiO2+%Al2O3) The importance of balancing the pH of the impurities has to do with their otherwise high melting points in an Acidic Oxide state. The materials removed in a properly formed slag are Coke, Ash, Rust and sand from the initial charge.

Coke Production All of the "Cupola" related information is meaningless in the absence of COKE... So when "the shit goes down..." and you're left to make your own Cast Iron, you'll want to know a bit about Coke production. The basics are that the Coke is derived from "Metallurgical Coal" that is crushed to less 1/8" material and fed into sealed ovens that bake the impurities out at well above 2000F for a period of 24 hrs... this process can be termed "Destructive Distillation", (though this seems vague, it's what is listed from the lecture notes) and hopefully will be of use in the Post Apocalyptic Era (PAE). The resultant Coke is 92% pure Carbon with the remainder classified as Ash. Upon exposure to the air after opening the ovens Coke typically cracks or fractures, The typical size grade for commercial Cupola furnaces is 6" to 8", but in the PAE, I think any size would do... Blast Oxygen Furnace This furnace is a high capacity, fast Cycle-time steel production furnace, with production rates up to 100 tons per hour. Since steel is essentially Cast Iron with a carbon content below 2%, the Blast Oxygen process can be classed as a decarburizing process. The charge can tolerate only up to 30% scrap content with the majority as molten Cast Iron. The Charge is held in a monstrous Egg shaped vessel with an exhaust port at the back, and an inlet port at the top where Oxygen is piped in and ignited... I believe that this is the modern equivalent of Sir Henry Bessemer's method of steel production. The oxygen passing through the molten metal picks-up a high percentage of the free carbon from the melt and leaves as Carbon Dioxide CO2. Argon Oxygen Decarburization Process Similar to the Blast Oxygen Furnace in process, but Argon Oxygen Decarburization is considered a secondary process in refining specific alloys such as Stainless Steel. The oxygen is injected into the melt via a series of tuyeres with a mixture of the neutral elemental gas Argon. The Oxygen acts as the catalyst in the decarburizing process, while the Argon aids in the retention of precious alloy elements such as chromium. The injection of the gas mixture results in a vigorous agitation of the melt that improves the removal of unwanted elements such as sulfur to the specifically formulated slag that covers the melt. ...this is the end of Course notes for Module 2 MATL MTB70, please turn over the tape to continue listening to Module 3.

Mold Types & Methods


This section will largely be a text based listing of General Mold types and the various methods associated with each, as well as the advantages and disadvantages found with them. The Text is a fair reference, but the material in the video clips is the best so far in the course... Very much the sort of thing a Metal-Casting Specialty channel would carry. I've opted to not make

illustrations for this Module as it would be a few days of work, and likely wouldn't come close to the videos, lecture note images or the text... Conventional Molding - Green Sand This is the traditional Cope & Drag Flask method, where a re-usable pattern is placed in a flask, sand is rammed up, the flask is rolled, the other flask half is applied, rammed with sand, split and the pattern extracted to leave a cavity into which the molten metal is poured. The Ramming process can be termed either as a Jolt or Squeeze method. Advantages - a wide range of metals can be cast with this method, the cost of materials and patterns is comparatively lower than other methods/types of mold making, the process is scalable to higher production run requirements and the molding material (bonded Sand) is easily recycled. Disadvantages - The complexity of the casting is limited by the requirement of draft, parting lines and the ability to position cores, Part tolerances and dimensional accuracy may be lower than other types/methods requiring additional labour costs for finishing/machining of castings, Conventional Molding - High-Density Molding This method employs mechanical ramming of bonded sands with either hydraulic or air pressure into the flask over the pattern. By using sand with a lower moisture content higher densities and mold hardness are achieved. Advantages - Again a diversity of Metal types can be cast, but with closer dimensional accuracy while improving surface finish over the previous method. The other benefit is higher production rates realized by the mechanization of the ramming process. Disadvantages - Higher capital cost of equipment, higher labour cost associated with maintenance and training of staff and tighter quality control. Alternative Sands This section describes the family of No-Bake or Quick-Set binders. The binder or Bonding material is a Polymer or Silica Gel that replaces the Clay & water combination found in the Green Sand family. The objective of these synthetic binders is to achieve greater binding strength. Binder types - Each has unique properties relating to pH, appropriate selection for alloy type, strength and shake-out to be discussed later

Alkyd Urethane Furan Sodium Silicate Acid Cured Phenolic Phenolic Urethane Phenolic Ester

Skin-Dried & Dry Sand Molding

The primary purpose of Skin Dried molds is to reduce moisture and gas forming materials at the surface of the mold where the metal sand junction occurs. The sand typically has special bonding agents applied prior to drying such as GM Bond (presumably a proprietary agent developed by General Motors???) The Mold face exhibits superior mechanical strength, while retaining comparible "Shake-out" characteristics to Green Sand molds. This method is employed for medium to Heavy and Heavy castings. The Surface can be dried with either Hot Air, Gas or Oil Flame and the mold face can be washed with as refractory coating (so that's a refractory coating on a refractory type material???) Advantages - Reduced Gas and Moisture , ie porosity/pinhole gas defects, and a stronger mold. Disadvantages - are Labour and material costs compared to Green Sand molding, reduced production rates due to drying process of molds. Dry Sand Molding This is the Green Sand process, but with the addition of heat to bake the mold at 400 to 600F, the baking process allows for greater mechanical strength, and higher casting complexity. This process is employed for medium to heavy castings such as gears, housings etc... Advantages - The mechanical strength of the mold, tighter dimensional accuracy, and better surface finishes due to the reduction mold moisture and/or the application surface coats. Disadvantages - are the capital cost of Bake Ovens, cost of operation, and reduced production relative to Green Sand. Shell Molding or Croning Process This process uses a heat activated Resin/Catalyst combination with silica sand, The pre-coated sand is applied to a heated pattern plate where the resin hardens to form a shell that is approx 3/4" to 1" in thickness. The 2 halves of the mold are glued together with an appropriate adhesive. Advantages - are Superior dimensional accuracy and surface finish. Disadvantages - Capital and labour costs, as well as reduced productivity due to the process being relatively slow... this is the end of the "Conventional Molding types Precision Molding and Casting Permanent Mold - Gravity feed This class of mold is typically made of tool steel. cast iron, graphite, Copper or aluminum (mold material selection is based on the metal type to be cast) for repeated usage. The metals to be cast generally are restricted to lower Melting Temp alloys due to the issues inherent in the handling and mechanization of high temp alloy handling. This process is well suited to the Aluminum, Zinc and Magnesium family of alloys.

This type of process is further divided into 2 (two) variants Static and Tilt Pouring. This process also exhibits superior dimensional accuracy and surface finish over the Shell process just discussed. Static Pour - The mold is stationary along a fixed plane while the molten metal is poured into a sprue. Tilt Pour - The mold is placed into a machine that can tilt back once the receiving cups/reservoirs are filled with molten metal, this semi-rotational action allows for more complex mold creation then possible with a static mold. Low Pressure Mold This method employs a feed mechanism that exerts a 5 to 15 PSI head on the molten metal forcing it into the mold. It should be noted that an Aluminum casting with a wall thickness of 5/32" or greater is achievable with this method. Advantages - Good dimensional accuracy and casting complexity compared to previous methods discussed and better economy of scale on a per casting basis (beyond the initial tooling cost recovery) Disadvantages - are typically the capital cost of equipment and Mold production, as well as the restriction of alloys that can be cast. High Pressure Molding This is a High Volume casting process for low-temp alloys that offers superior dimensional accuracy and complexity of castings. The Metal is injected into the mold at pressures up to 5000PSI (5,000PSI that's high!!!) with such pressures the susceptibility of porosity defects is increased. This class also can be divided into 2 (two) classes Cold Chamber & Hot Chamber processes. Advantages - Low cost of castings when extended across very large production runs with part complexity, surface finish and dimensional accuracy at a high level. Disadvantages - Castings are limited to typically 75lbs and require additional QC procedures to avoid Porosity defects, stringent Mold Design requirements and the Very High cost of tooling and equipment that must be extended across high volume production runs to recover the initial costs.

Investment Casting This class of molding describes the process of "Investing" a pattern in a suitable molding material. The Pattern is typically burned out of the mold leaving a cavity that molten metal can then be poured into. Lost Wax Process A wax duplicate of the desired casting is created to be invested into a "Ceramic Slurry". the slurry covered investment can be dipped into alternating coatings of sand & slurry until a suitable thickness of shell is achieved that can hold the molten metal after the investment is burnt out.

The "Burn-Out" process requires that the investment and coating are inverted in an oven that is fired to 1800F so that the investment can flow out and be recovered. The refractory coating is also cured in this procedure. Once the investment is lost, and the Refractory is cured the mold is removed and poured immediately while it is still hot. Advantages - High level of accuracy and flexibility of design due to no draft, parting lines and the ability to mold under-cuts previously impossible with other techniques. The process is scalable from small to high production requirements and offers reduced finishing costs with exception surface quality. Disadvantages - include a physical limitation on the size of the casting as determined by the strength of the cured ceramic slurry (even when backed by sand) and a higher material and labour cost (which can be offset by savings in finishing and machining). Evaporative Pattern Casting This is it, LFMC (Lost Foam Metal Casting) where it all started for me, and is a great process that has served me well. Patterns are produced in EPS (Encapsulated Polystyrene), the pattern receives a sprue or feeder system (also of EPS) and can be either placed directly into loose dry sand, or invested into a ceramic slurry. The slurry is air dried or in a low temp oven (but the foam pattern is retained). In either case the pattern is surrounded by loose dry sand that is being constantly agitated by a vibratory mechanism as the sand is added to the container that holds the pattern. The vibratory motion creates a degree of fluid movement within the surface of the sand that is able to completely fill all crevices, under-cuts, openings and orifices thus removing the requirement of otherwise complex cores. Once the pattern (and refractory coating) is completely held in a container of sand, the metal is poured into the sprue. The heat of the molten metal evaporates the foam in it's path and accurately fills in behind the foam as it advances down through the pattern. The vapourized EPS is vented into the loose sand through the refractory coating (if used). Of note is that the Lecture notes, text and videos all specify the use of a refractory coating, but I know for a fact that it can be omitted with a minor degradation in surface finish and complexity of casting. Castings with wall thickness of 120 thou" that's 5 thou less than an 1/8" are possible... just fantastic... Advantages - are (but not limited to...) coreless molding, very high casting complexity, comparatively low capital and operating investment, simplified shakeout, ease of sand recovery and as mentioned 0.120" wall thicknesses. The Video and notes reflect this as a relatively environmentally benign process... (I have concerns to the contrary) Disadvantages - Pattern coating requires additional labour and material costs, patterns require care as they can be fragile due to construction, Strict safety procedures to be followed when handling loose sand post pouring. The last item applies to all loose sand handling with regard to the hazards of Silicosis, but especially when handling sand that has burnt EPS covering the grains. The strong chemical stench of the sand screams of future respiratory ailments if caution is not exercised (personal observation & belief)

...this is the end of Course notes for Module 2 MATL MTB70, please turn over the tape to continue listening to Module 4.

Solidification of Metals.
This chapter is primarily concerned this what happens after that metal actually is poured into a mold. The process of solidification, through a series of transitions, and how the alloy being poured impacts the process as well as the mold material's affect. The metal being poured can be considered in terms of a; Pure Metal: Single element metal with a clean phase transition between liquid and solid Eutectic Alloy: The alloy which has the lowest melting point possible for a given composition. Metals in Solid Solution type alloys: A single solid homogeneous crystalline phase containing two or more chemical species The definitions above are far from useful... Eutectic being a particularly difficult concept for me to fully understand... for the context of alloying, an eutectic alloy would be the alloy of 2 or more elements that combines to a lower melting point than any of the constituent elements For example, eutectic solder paste has a composition of 63% tin (Sn) and 37% lead (Pb), and has a eutectic temperature of 183C (straight from google), similarly Eutectic alloys exhibit finer grain sizes than the pure metal and precipitate 2 or more phases simultaneously (this will be revisited)... The idea of a solid Solution Alloy would be every other combination of Lead (Pb) and Tin (Sn) that is not the Eutectic with exception of 100% Lead (Pb) & 0% Tin (Sn), and obviously 0% Lead (Pb) & 100% Tin (Sn), which would be pure metals. Beyond the lecture notes, Assigned Text (Chapter 13 Not 7 as noted in the course notes), Google is proving to be fantastic, and Steve Chastain's Sand casting Manual Vol 1 & 2 is yet another perspective, with enough variation in presentation to make the idea's less vague. This following level of detail is not required to make castings, but I fear that more practical information will be based on a sound understanding of this... I think a legitimate concern. The transition of phase (from Liquid to Solid) is called the "heat of fusion" and is represented as unit measure energy as a function of unit measure weight (of element or solution) released at transition unit measure temperature (s) of solidification. Ipso Facto Ergo Sum... Water is a classic example... 144BTU of energy transfer occurs to change 1 pound of water into 1 pound of ice at 32F. The energy is transferred from the Liquid water to the air, earth what ever... When a metal is poured a similar energy transfer occurs between the metal mold interface, presumably on a much larger scale. Properties of Thermal Transfer within a Casting The application of thermal energy transfer theory to metal casting requires consideration in the following properties.

The shape and size of the casting. The shape and complexity of a casting influences the efficiency with which the thermal transfer occurs, as it is related to the surface area of the metal-mold interface. The size of the casting (including sprue, runners, gates and risers) determines the amount of energy that must be transferred to complete the phase transition from liquid to solid. Molding Material is the recipient of the energy being transferred, so the composition, thermal characteristics and density of the material also influence the solidification process of a given casting. Physical Dimensioning through the Phase Transition. Metals typically have a lower density when molten then when solid, unlike water that has a lower density when Solid (frozen) than in it's liquid state (Ice Floats). As density is a function of weight and volumetric displacement, and the weight of the metal remains constant, the volumetric displacement must be reduced to raise the density of a specific qty of metal. The manner in which the casting solidifies (as determined by the alloy, mold, shape, size, sprue, gate, runner and riser system combine to either yield a dimensionally correct casting or one that has defects such as gross shrinkage cavities (pipe) or dispersed porosity. As molten metals typically have a lower density, there is an expectation that the casting will be proportionally smaller than the pattern from which it was cast. This is a predictable result and the percentile increase in pattern size to achieve an accurate cast size is a prerequisite to useful castings. The "Pattern-Maker's Ruler" is found in most every pattern shop to accurately scale the pattern for a given alloy to the required solidified dimensions. Directional Solidification The solidification process begins at the mold-metal interface, meaning the entire outer skin of the casting, the energy transfer continues through the layer of solid metal toward the mold material. As the energy is traveling in one direction the solidification process is traveling in the opposite direction. Logically, thin sections of castings will solidify before thick sections of the casting, as the volume of metal is decreasing in relation to the percentage of metal that has solidified, a source of liquid metal has to be drawn upon to keep the casting dimensionally accurate. The source of liquid metal is from the Risers that act as reservoirs to feed the casting during the solidification phase. Essentially there will always be a cavity defect, but the idea is to position the defect in the riser not the casting itself. This is accomplished by gate and runner placement such that the thinnest sections cool first and the placement of the risers ensure a source of molten metal. In closing the process of "Directional Solidification" is accomplished by orienting the Sprue, gates, runners, pattern and risers such that the thinnest sections through thickest are forming a wedge that ends with the riser(s) being the thickest section The image to the right certainly is overly simplistic but illustrated the basic idea.

More complex castings would require additional risers and supporting runners and gating. Progressive Solidification Although the lecture notes clearly state that this term must be understood, the Glossary of terms simply refers to directional solidification. So the inequities of the college system of Ontario again falls on the shoulders of theworkshop.ca (when will it end???) The basic concept is the formation of crests and troughs within the leading edge of the solidifying metal as it propagates through the liquid metal. The ideal in the illustration to the right is that over time the wave grows from the right toward the left, with the understanding that the left section continues on toward an even thicker section... The right most end of the cross-section has a greater surface of mold/metal interface and is not only growing inward from the top and bottom but also from the right. Also of note is that the points in time A, B & C are for illustration, and the freeze wave propagates over a continuum in a semi-linear fashion, and does not have such exaggerated demarcation points. Lastly The concept of a Freeze Wave is allegorical in nature only, subsequent section(s) takes this conceptual idea and illustrates it in more accurate detail.

Three Stages of Contraction (Shrinkage) This is a complex time in the life of a casting, The liquid Metal has a Volume "A", as it solidifies it shrinks during the phase transition to solid and reflects a new volume "B", and lastly the solidified casting further contracts (shrinks) through the cooling process (Starting at Temperature of solidification through to ambient temperature) settling on Volume "C"... Obviously the world around us is in constant dimensional change as the ambient temperature is always in a state of transition, but the minor variations in volumetric displacement are negligible compared to the variances that occur from "A" to "B" and lastly to "C".

In Consideration of Pure Metals Although the vast majority of castings produced are alloys of varying elemental composition, the point to start at is with a pure elemental composition. Pure metals exhibit ideal solidification characteristics and introduce a point of reference when consideration of solidification is turned to alloyed compositions. The illustrations to the upper right depict a pure metal and the flat thermal property of solidification. The blue line shows the point of fusion with a predictable dissipation of energy with no drop in temperature until the solidification process has completed. The lower right illustration is of an alloy, and the point of fusion has been expanded to cover a range of temperature drop over the energy dissipation. Two new terms are introduced "Liquidus & Solidus" that denote the points in the graph where phase transition begins and ends for the solidification process... Curiously the area between Liquidus & Solidus has a rather mundane name "Mushy Zone"... I personally would have preferred Zonis Indeterminus, or Soliqus... Control of the Solidification Rate By understanding the factors associated with the solidification process, we can influence the speed at which solidification occurs, through the use of molding material, and orientation of casting components, such as risers etc... The speed of solidification has a direct bearing in such issues as grain size within the solid casting, Shrinkage and associate defects, as well as a new issue "Segregation". As an Alloy has 2 or more constituent elements, the individual elements potential can solidify at varying rates creating concentrations or isolated pockets of that element within the liquid solution during the phase transition. The solidification rate can be graphed for various alloys, mold materials etc... This is mathematically a function of the casting thickness (assuming a flat surface) against the sq root of time as well as the introduction of a Constant "K"... I've opted to pass on the diagrams and the math as it's not an essential building block (or so I hope)...

Solidification Modeling The illustration on the right has 5 steps shown A thru E. A) is the initial nucleus that forms on the smallest scale as the outermost skin of molten metal enters the Mushy Zone by the energy transfer between the moldmetal interface... millions of nucleus form near simultaneously. B) is the extension of the Primary axis into the molten metal C) is the formations of secondary axes at right angles to the primary Axis D) is the extended growth of the now complete dendrite with ever thickening branches and trunks as seen in E... The crystalline or lattice structure is growing by the solidification of the molten metal, and this is the freeze wave discussed earlier. The energy transfer between the liquid and solid interface is conducted through this dendrite structure toward the metal mold interface. Grain Structure and Growth The illustrations are getting looser and dirtier as we go along here, but at least I know what I'm trying to depict. At the base of the structure to the right are fine grains that formed very quickly at the metal-mold interface, in the center are longer "Columnar" grains that form directionally in opposition to the energy flow of the point of fusion, toward the top are smaller random "Equiaxed" grains that form at a slower rate. This cross-section is supposed to illustrate the region of solidification from the mold wall upward to the liquid/solid interface. At this point get a beer, have a smoke and review the disjointed factoids presented thus far... So... If directional solidification is encouraged though proper placement of Sprue, gates, runners and Risers, we know that the nucleation of dentrites will form and grow in opposition to the energy flow inward making a mushy zone that is being impregnated by dendrite growth. Since the majority of castings are alloys (2 or more elemental constituents) the dendrite growth will be displacing higher point of fusion elements into the liquid or mushy center. This segregation of constituents impacts grains size and composition.

The Alloy composition is impacted by the thermal gradient of the mold-metal interface and the efficiency with which it can transfer the energy released by the point of fusion of the elemental constituents. Since any given alloy has a static Mushy Zone based upon it's composition and the mass of the casting, the only variable that can influence grain formation and reduce elemental segregation is the time required to transfer the point of fusion energy. The generalization that wide mushy zones (slow phase transitions) promote Equiaxed Grains and micro segregation, while narrow mushy zones (fast phase transitions) promote columnar grain structures is still somewhat meaningless, except that columnar grains are stronger and contain a better elemental distribution through the alloy. In summary the faster the better... I think that this is what Metallurgy & Heat treating will be based upon. And again, (as this is being repeated it has to be on the final exam) Mold-Metal interface is the chill zone with fine grain structure, The next is the columnar zone that are longer directional grains that grow toward the liquid metal, the third is the equiaxed zone of small random grains in the center of the casting. Porosity Defects The most subtle of the porosity defects is caused by alloyed melts that have a wide mushy zone transition phase to solid. The elemental nucleation and dendritic growth displaces molten elements and results in micro porosity. The most obvious porosity defects are caused by the entrapment of gases within the molten solution. Typically hydrogen precipitates into melts by contact with the atmosphere, or poor foundry practices, such as introducing wet charge materials into the melt. Since Hydrogen is highly soluble in molten metal, it is best to avoid, super-heating metals beyond their melting temperature, and to avoid holding the metal in a molten state any longer than is required. Gases can be scavenged from the molten metal by introducing either an inert gas such as argon or nitrogen and bubbling it through the melt, or using a solid such as chlorine with an inverted cup that will plunge the chlorine to the bottom of the melt. As the chlorine turns to a gas it will form hydrogen chloride, scavenging the hydrogen in the process. To reduce the absorption of gases from the atmosphere leave any slag or dross cover over the molten metal until just prior to pouring into the mold. ...this is the end of Course notes for Module 4 MATL MTB70, please turn over the tape to continue listening to Module 5.

Design of Risers and Feeding of Castings


References - AFS Text Chapter 16 (not 8), Chastain's Foundry manual Vol 2, Google, lecture text & audio (No video) This is a helluva way to start Module 5. But I'm going to just put my shoulder to the yoke and bull through in the hopes that it makes sense before I'm done the module...

I've simplified the diagram to the right by putting in references to the equations (EQ 1, 2 & 4) there is no Equation 3, and I'm not changing the diagram... EQ#1 - Freeze Point Ratio (FPR) FPR=X=(Casting Surface/Casting Volume)/(Riser Surface/Riser Volume) EQ#2 - Volume Ratio (VR) (Y Axis) VR=Y=Riser Vol/Casting Vol* *Note the riser volume is the actual poured vol. EQ#4 - (FPR) Steel (from the lecture) X=0.12/y-0.05 + 1.0* *Note: Don't ask where the constants are from, I'm hoping that we both know before this page is finished... The underlying theme here is Volumes, Surface Areas, Castings and Risers... There are relationships between all these items and values that will help in designing a complete mold that controls progressive solidification, and influences directional solidification to produce castings with minimal porosity and shrinkage defects. This is largely accomplished by ensuring that the riser(s) are the last to solidify. The College's link to a library of mathematical equations is down, so again theworkshop.ca has to haul their bacon out of the fire... The link below hopefully will be a good start for finding specific equations... http://www.math2.org/math/geometry/areasvols.htm The Surface Area to Volume Ratio is an important consideration when designing patterns, molds and especially Risers. It would stand to reason that the lowest SA:V Ratio would have the slowest cooling rate (a desired attribute for a Riser), while a high SA:V Ratio would make a poor Riser, but would make for a fast cooling casting (if that flexibility exists for a pattern design). The following Exercise hopefully illustrates the SA:V Ratio of some basic geometric shapes. Note: All shapes have a common volumetric displacement of 1 cubic foot=1728 Cubic inches Shape #1 - Sphere Volume=(4/3) [pi] r3 1728=(4/3)*3.1415 *r3 1728=4.1887*r3

1728/4.1887=r3 412.5384=r3 At this point I believe that r = the cubed root of 412.5384 r=7.4442 The link below should offer an on-line Cube/Cube Root Calculator www.csgnetwork.com/cuberootcubecalc.html Surface Area =4 [pi] r2 Surface Area =4 * 3.1415 * 7.44422 Surface Area =93.5438 Inches2 And Finally the Spherical SA:V Ratio 93.5438/1728=0.0541 SA:V for a sphere

Shape #2 - Cylinder of Height 12" Volume=[pi] r2 h 1728=3.1415 * r2 * 12 1728/3.1415 * 12= r2 45.8379 = r2 again I believe that r = the square root of 45.8379 r=6.7703 As an aside the generic Windows calculator does not perform Sqrt function (or as far as I found)... the calculator at the link below does... www.csgnetwork.com/csgscicalc.html Surface Area = 2(pi r 2) + (2 pi r)* h Surface Area = 2(3.1415* 6.7703 2) + (2 * 3.1415 * 6.7703) * 12 Surface Area =798.4707 inches 2 And Finally the Cylindrical SA:V Ratio (with height 12") 798.4707/1728=0.4620 SA:V for a 12" tall Cylinder

Shape #3 - Cube of 12" Volume= L * W * H Volume = 12 * 12 * 12 Volume = 1728

Area= 6 a 2 Area= 6 * 12 2 Area= 864 inches 2 And again the Cubic SA:V Ratio (with height 12") 864//1728=0.5000 SA:V for a 12" Cube Shape #4 - Cylinder of Height 1" Now don't get all wrapped-up in semantics, the exercise calls for a plate that is 1" thick... but we both know a plate is just a very squat cylinder Volume=[pi] r2 h 1728=3.1415 * r2 * 1 1728/3.1415 * 1= r2 550.0394 = r2 again I believe that r = the square root of 550.0394 r=23.4529 And still the generic Windows calculator does not perform Sqrt function (or as far as I found)... the calculator at the link below does... www.csgnetwork.com/csgscicalc.html Surface Area = 2(pi r 2) + (2 pi r)* h Surface Area = 2(3.1415* 23.4529 2) + (2 * 3.1415 * 23.4529) * 1 Surface Area = 3603.3528 inches 2

And Finally the Cylindrical SA:V Ratio (with height 1")

3603.3528/1728=2.0852 SA:V for a 1" tall Cylinder Below are the SA:V's of the 4 shapes to be compared 0.0541 SA:V for a sphere 0.4620 SA:V for a 12" tall Cylinder 0.5000 SA:V for a 12" Cube 2.0852 SA:V for a 1" tall Cylinder Given the generalization that opened the SA:V dialog, low SA:V's cool slowly and make good Risers, one would think that a spherical riser would be the best (though somewhat impractical to implement), while a 1" tall cylinder would be somehow lacking in desirable riser properties... I kinda like the cylinder, as it is a practical shape for molding. After writing the test and scoring rather poorly, I decided to revisit the math and the relationship between SA, V, Geometric shape and dimensioning... As I'm generally as lazy as the next guy, below is a link to the spread sheet that far better illustrates what's going on above numerically as well as in a graphical format... Right click on the link and select "Save As..." the file is created with Excel sa-v calculator.xls If the link doesn't work give me a couple of days I've never done this before, or email me and I'll send it as an attachment. Proper Riser Positioning and Dimensioning With the knowledge of low SA:V riser geometry, we must consider where we will place riser(s) to ensure proper directional solidification and dimensioning the riser to hold an adequate volume of liquid metal to feed the casting as it solidifies... Put yet another way SA:V(Riser) < SA:V (Casting) The point above must be underscored as the lecture reflects an extrapolated rule of Solidification Time (t), where t (riser) > t (casting) If you're not paying attention (like me) you assume that Solidification Time and SA:V are synonymous, they are inversely proportional (in an ideal world). All of the above is in support of directional solidification, it should be noted that the contact point between the riser and the casting must be of sufficient diameter that it doesn't freeze before the casting and leave the riser performing no function. I would guess that if the diameter was equal to or greater than the section it is connecting to the riser, it would be safe... Below are 4 points about the Riser/Casting Relationship 1 - Risers are attached to the heaviest sections of the casting 2 - Risers are the last to solidify 3 - A casting that has more than one heavy section requires at least one riser per heavy section

4 - Occasionally the thermal gradient is modified at the mold-metal interface by the introduction of a "Chill" that can better conduct the heat away from the casting and lower the solidification time for that section. On the Subject of Thermal Gradients... Thermal gradients can be increased to facilitate faster, directional solidification, or lowered to allow sections to remain molten to reduce micro porosity within captive regions that can't be practically fed by risers otherwise. Thin sections of castings that have the potential to develop captive pools can be "Padded" to keep a path for directional solidification to follow. "Padding" is the result of thickening a pattern area for the sole consideration of Directional Solidification. Areas that are "Padded" may add machining costs to return the finished casting to it's original dimensional specification. Also thermal gradients can be modified through the use of "Chills", a chill is a material that becomes part of the mold either internally or externally (referring to the physical casting). External Chills - these can be a variety of materials with a greater ability to facilitate the energy transfer associated with the solidification process, relative to the molding material used through out the mold. The materials commonly used are (but not limited to) Iron, Steel, Graphite, Chromite and copper... these materials typically are inserted in to the mold and lay at the mold-metal interface. Internal Chills - are typically oriented to become part of the physical casting with a portion extending outward into the molding material to act as a path for thermal energy to rapidly move through, thereby facilitating the solidification process. Internal chills have issues associated with them that range from appropriate positioning through fusion with the casting material. The internal chill material must be compatible with the alloy being cast. Exothermic and Insulating Applications The last discussions in this module that relate to Riser Design and Feeding of Castings relates to the application of exothermic and insulating materials. These compounds are the opposite of the chill's previously discussed. Similarly they are NOT applied to the casting, but rather to the top of the riser. Insulation - As the name implies this material does not promote energy transfer, but inhibits it. This reduction of thermal energy transfer out the top of the riser, helps to maintain the riser as a source of molten metal to feed the casting for a longer duration. Exothermic - This compound goes one step further than insulation. The exothermic material generates heat that can maintain the riser at a molten state even longer than an insulation. The Exothermic material is placed on the top of the riser and is ignited by the molten metal as it contacts the Exo-material... ...this is the end of Course notes for Module 5 MATL MTB70, please turn over the tape to continue listening to Module 6.

The Feeder Network


Now this is cool stuff, if you've been following along, A) I credit you with "Tenacity", upon rereading my notes, (Prep for the final Exam starts on Day One...) I personally think it's all interesting content, but I doubt that I'd have hung-on this long (especially the more theoretical parts like dendretic growth and nucleation sites etc...) But this is the meat of what I signed-up for... Gating / Runner Design With an overview of the solidification of metal(s) done, we can look at the flow characteristics of the metal as it enters the mold and how it fills the casting. Of the flow characteristics fluidity/viscosity plays a role as well as velocity, gravitational acceleration & vortex, pressure zones, molten alloy aspiration from the mold and the momentum or kinetic energy of a fluid. Although the lecture notes introduce these terms and their consideration over the duration of this module, it seems easier for me to group them at the start. Laminar Flow The factors and issues noted above are all related in some way to the property of "Laminar Flow." This is my Ideal "Laminar Flow" reference. The lake is fed from a water fall at one end and flows through a dam at the other. A drop of 30 to 40ft total with the lake sitting somewhere in the center. While drift fishing, your boat glides gently from one end of the lake to the other over the course of 5 or 6 hours. Though while passing through the narrows off in the horizon, the boat's drift may be up to 4 (four) times the velocity experienced at the widest portion of the lake.

I just thought this made a nice picture 20 years ago, but now I realize that this is "Turbulent Flow". The violent foaming bubbling action of the water is the result of "Aspiration" of the water. Perhaps on a smaller scale the forces that create this effect work identically in liquid metal and it's flow through the mold.

And after considerable searching I found this picture (taken with my first camera)... This illustrates "Severely Turbulent Flow". The water is cascading down a ladder of rocks, similar to a staircase with 6' to 7 ft' steps through a constrained chasm along the Niagara Escarpment. (though located a few hundred miles north east of Niagara Falls)

In summary Liquid Flow can be identified as Laminar, Turbulent or Severely Turbulent, just think of the images above if the names don't strike you as intuitive. The identification of the flow types has a mathematical component that removes the subjectivity of the names. The mathematical formula is known as the "Reynold's Number" . A Google "Define: Reynold's Number" yielded these links... The Reynolds number is the ratio of inertial forces, as described by Newton's second law of motion, to viscous forces. If the Reynolds number is high, inertial forces dominate and turbulent flow exists. If it is low, viscous forces prevail, and laminar flow results. www.erc.montana.edu/Res-Lib99-SW/glossary/geng.html

(After Osborne Reynolds (1842-1912), English scientist.) A non dimensional parameter representing the ratio of the momentum forces to the viscous forces in fluid flow. vesuvius.jsc.nasa.gov/er/seh/r.html

the dimensionless ratio of fluid acceleration and accelerations induced by viscosity typical of a particular flow regime. www.advancedforecasting.com/weathereducation/weatherglossary.html

The dimensionless ratio used to determine whether the flow in a certain system is turbulent or laminar. Reynolds number is as follows: Rd = (Velocity x Diameter x Density)/Absolute viscosity www.americanmeter.com/techs/gaslaws/glosmeas.html I edited the list to show a consistent definition, as this law (of sorts) covers far more physics than the metal casting industry.

The demarcation point of an Rn < 2000 is considered a Laminar Flow, while an Rn > 2000 is considered a Turbulent Flow, there may well be a point that denotes Turbulent and Severely Turbulent but our objective is to stay below 2000. There are a series of other calculations and formulas to place into context, but I want to return to the gating system and it's components with the idea of laminar flow in mind. Basic Components of a Gating System The basic components of a gating system are "Pouring Basin", "Sprue", "Runners" and the "Gates" that feed the casting. The metal flows through the system in the order that they are listed... Below are some simple diagrams to be familiar with. Pouring Basin - I think of this as the "Crucible -Mold Interface", note, that a pouring cup and pouring basin are not equivalents, The pouring cup is simply a larger target when pouring out of the crucible, a Pouring Basin has several components that aid in creating a laminar flow of clean metal into the sprue. The lecture notes have better illustrations and the text better still, but the idea is that the basin acts as a point for the liquid metal to enter the gating system in a laminar fashion. The area I call "Crucible-Mold Interface" is where the metal from the crucible first contacts the mold surface. That area is lower than where the Mouth of the Sprue is located, by having a pool of metal form the flow will be less chaotic than pouring from the crucible down into the sprue. The yellow bar that I've labeled as the "Dross-Dam" is positioned so that the molten metal will contact it's lower face and flow under, while skimming or holding back any dross from the crucible or what accumulated through the act of pouring. As the lower portion fills and the metal is skimmed the clean(er) metal will rise up to meet the opening of the sprue in a more controlled fashion. The following are some ideas I have about "Pouring Basins" If I had a standard "Basin Pattern" that I would mold into the Cope, Extract, and core with a Dross Dam... Could the dross-dam be just a solidified section of the same alloy being poured? I'm sure it should be pre-heated prior to placement... The Dross-Dams that I'm thinking about would be Sections of runners or gates from previous castings (of the same alloy). So on a production run of (I typically do runs of 5 to 25 of a given casting), I would ensure that there was at least one chunk to be saved after shaking out the castings and cutting away the feeder network. So after the first casting, I have a source of Dams... Similarly, If I was careful to design my initial runner/gating system, with the idea that it would be the physical pattern for subsequent molds Plus a dross dam (to be cut away). The only issue is to separate the base of the sprue from the Well, so that the pattern(s) can be extracted. Flaws??? Issues??? beyond dimensional (over) compensation on the first pattern for the feeder network, I think it would work.

Is it worth the effort to make Basins for placement of the same alloy as being cast... I realize that these may be single use items, or possibly 2 to 3 uses max... I see the benefits of 1 - reduced mold-sand pick-up at the most turbulent point (Crucible to mold interface). 2 - Thermal energy source to reduce viscosity increase on contact (if pre-heated). 3 - Possibly improved lamination of liquid flow over a smooth(er) surface. 4 - Integrated Dross-Dam 5 - Counter Vortex Rifling at mouth of Sprue. (this would be just 1 or 2 degrees to ensure that the "Head" developing at the base of the sprue developes smoothly. If you have any thoughts or advice (regarding the above) feel free to email me frnkgmbk@renfrew.net ... bear in mind I'm not trying to over complicate my life with additional work, but since this foundry is at such a preliminary stage, the more "Best Practices" I incorporate, the higher the quality of my work, and I'm sure as fuck not doing all this to turn out a low grade product. Sprue Placement and Parts The sprue is obviously the extension of the sprue mouth into the mold. Laugh if you will, but I have been placing my sprue tapers in the wrong direction... it was just easier to push the core inward for extraction. The choke or narrowest point in the taper is a key variable in calculating other properties and sizing ratios of components. This is considered the point that would sustain a "Head" or pressure of molten metal. Through all of the components there is a need to reduce turbulence and promote Laminar Flow. From the Pouring Basin, the flow begins a near vertical incline that is acted upon by gravity and with an accelerative force that is 32ft/Sec/Sec or 384 In/sec/sec... So a mass falling has a velocity of 384 inches/sec after a free fall duration of 1 entire second. Fluids in free fall tend to distort from a columnar shape at their start into an intertwined series of flow lines that have a rotational vector or vortex effect (Clockwise in the northern hemi-sphere, and counter clockwise in the southern hemi-sphere)... The rotational effect, though not a strong force, is causing the cork-screwing effect of the falling fluid. If allowed to act on the fluid over a great enough duration or free fall the centrifugal force will separate the flow into droplets. None of the above promotes Laminar flow, plus it aids the formation of dross and gas pick-up in the stream that is going to feed the casting. By creating a sprue with a taper, the fluid is constrained to retain it's shape, reducing excessive surface area development (dross-forming property) and gas pick-up.

The area below the sprue is the "Well". The well reduces the velocity of the fluid flow and acts as a reservoir for the runners and gates as they fill. Below are some dimensioning ratio's from Chastain's Foundry Manual #2 this information is not likely to be on the module test or the final exam, but is relevant to the discussion. 1- Choke or sprue base area is 1/5th the area of the well. 2- The well depth is twice the runner depth. 3- the Runner is positioned above the midpoint of the well's depth.

The Runner System The runner system is fed by the well and is the path that the gates are fed from. In the broadest terms this path should be "Balanced" with the model of heating or AC ductwork serving as a good illustration. The Runner path should promote smooth laminar flow by a balanced volumetric flow, and avoiding sharp or abrupt changes in direction. The "Runner Extension" is a "Dead-End" that is placed after the last gate. The R-Ext acts as a cushion to absorb the forward momentum or kinetic energy of the fluid flow. The R-Ext also acts as a "Dross/Gas Trap" for any materials generated and picked-up along the flow of the runner. An Ideal Runner is also proportioned such that it maintains a constant volumetric flow through virtually any cross-sectional area. In the illustration, notice that the runner becomes proportionally shallower at the point where an in-gate creates an alternate path for the liquid flow. The Gating System The Gates (in this case) accommodate a directional change in the fluid flow and deliver the metal to the Casting cavity. Again, the design objective is to promote laminar flow, the primary causes of turbulence are sharp corners, or un-proportioned gate/runner sizes. The 2 (two) dashed blue areas when added together form a relationship to the dashed blue area of the Runner, which forms a relationship to the Choke or base of the Sprue Area. The issue of sharp corners (both inner and outer) create turbulence, low & high pressure zones that promote aspiration of mold gases into the flow, and can draw mold material (sand) into the flow. None of this is good... By providing curved radius changes in direction the above effects are still at

play but at a reduced level. Similarly sharp angles impact the solidification process and may inhibit "Directional Solidification" with cross-sectional freezing... The image to the right is from the Lecture notes (Mohawk College MATL MTB-70 Mod 6) and is just too good a representation to pass-up. I stripped a lot of the detail and formulas to have the basic flow better illustrated. The best analogy I can see is that of a performance tuned exhaust system or header on an engine. By proportioning the gating system, a more uniform flow is promoted with near equal volumes of metal entering the mold from all points. In an unproportioned system the furthest gates would feed the most metal, while the gates closest to the sprue would feed the least. (this is counter to what I initially thought). Formulas, Ratios and Design Equations Everything covered so far is comprehensible, and intuitive on a conceptual level, but the math below hopefully offers some insight into quick approximations for simple designs, and more in-depth calculations for complex systems. Although Computerized Flow Analysis programs are used extensively in large Foundry operations they are beyond the grasp of the small shop that is just starting out (if you know of a Flow Simulator that is freeware or in the Public Domain definitely email me...) Also, I imagine that designing on a state of the art system without at least the most basic concepts or background is akin to dual entry ledger accounting without 4-function math skills. Continuity Equation - This formula allows calculation of cross-sectional Areas, relative to flow Velocity and Volumetric flow over unit time. This formula only works if the fluid flow is a liquid that does NOT compress (that applies to all molten metals).

To the right a flow passes through Cross-sectional area A1 (1" by 1", 1 sq"), the passage narrows to a cross-sectional area A2 (.75" by .75", 0.5625 sq"), the passage expands to a cross-sectional area A3 (1" by 1", 1 sq"). The Continuity Equation can resolve for any term if 2 others are known, and due to the uncompressible nature of the fluid resolve velocity at known cross-sectional areas... Q= Rate of Flow (Constant - uncompressible) V=Velocity of flow A=Area (Cross-section)

If Q were 0.25 cubic inches per Sec of flow; Velocity=0.25/1 or 0.25"/sec, at the point A2; Q=0.25/0.5625=0.44"/sec of Flow, Since the Area is almost half, the velocity has to almost double. Choke : Runner : Gate Ratio(s) The base of the Sprue and Choke are the same thing... The ratios between the cross-sectional Area can be grouped into either Pressurized or Unpressurized. Pressurized - is a system where the gate and runner cross-sectional areas are either equal or less than the choke cross-sectional area; A1= Choke = 1 Sq Inch A2 = 1st Runner X-Sec Area = 0.75 Sq Inch A3 = 2nd Runner X-Sec Area = 0.66 Sq Inch A4 = 1st Gate = 0.33 Sq inch A5 = 2nd Gate = 0.33 Sq Inch Areas A2 & A3 do not get added as they are positioned in line with each other and flow is successive between the points and not simultaneous. While Areas A4 & A5 are added together as flow does pass through these points simultaneously. I believe that this example would resolve to a pressurized flow of 1 : 0.75 : 0.66 Unpressurized - The key distinction is that the Runner must have a X-sec area greater than the Choke, and it would appear that the Gate(s) would equal or be larger than the Runner(s). Common Ratio's noted in the lecture notes, text, Chastian's Vol 2 are; 1:2:4 1:3:3 1:4:4 1:4:6 An exception is noted in Chastain with a 1 : 8 : 6 ratio to promote dross capture in the runner system of Areo-Space castings. The Continuity Eq. is simplified with the use of ratios as the velocity is inversely proportional between any 2 adjacent ratio values... ie H : L equates to an increase in velocity while a L : H equates to a drop in velocity.

And yet again I'm telling you, it's Laminar Flow, which is harder to control at a high velocity than a relatively lower velocity. If you feel at home, with Galileo, Keppler, Newton and the lads... Chastain's Vol 2 has much more math and calculations... (no time to post here) ...this is the end of Course notes for Module 6 MATL MTB70, please turn over the tape to continue listening to Module 7.

Cleaning and Inspection


This is the last stage of the casting process before the finished unit is ready for the Finishing process (Not covered in this Module). Cleaning This stage actually starts with the shake-out process. Beyond simply dumping the mold and pulling the casting, there are vibrating tables, rolling drums this active impacting or hammers to break away the molding material. Once the casting is free from the mold, the surface can be cleaned with wire brushes manually or mechanically (for softer alloys) or a series of blasting techniques available for harder alloys. These processes also include removing any residual Core material. Blast Cleaning Types - Air, Water & Mechanical are used to clean any remaining sand or scale from the surface. Air Blast cleaning is an efficient method that can utilize a broad range of Media that are selected by the degree of abrasion required to clean the casting and the softness of the alloy. Media include but are not limited to the following;

Angular Sand or Grit (beware Silicosis!!!) Shot - typically a round media including a variety of ceramics and metals Soft Media - such as walnut shell, corn husk, etc...

All methods of air blast should be conducted within proper enclosures to eliminate (not reduce) operator health & safety hazards. Water Blast cleaning eliminates many of the respiratory hazards associated with the Air Blast methods, but introduces the requirement of adequate cleaning of the effluent or discharge water after use before releasing to a "Grey Water" destination. Mechanical Blasting poses similar respiratory hazards as air blasting but the delivery mechanism of the media is not through a blast of air. The media is discharged by a paddle-wheel of sorts with adequate velocity that it impacts the casting with an abrasive action. Cutting & Fettling the Casting

The casting is inspected visually every step by every person that touches the unit. I believe (perhaps naively) that ever employ on the payroll has the right and the responsibility to scrap a piece at any stage of processing if they know the end product will not meet the highest standard. The casting is removed from the feeder network, there are a number of methods ranging from a manual hack saw through to a plasma cutter. The manual method is a tremendous amount of work and has a tangible expense associated with it, in terms of quality blades (that can only last up to 10 Castings with 3 to 6 gates in my experience). Currently I use a Sawz-All reciprocating saw and have shaved the per casting cutting time by 2/3rds to 15 min typically, I believe that this time could be further reduced by 2/3rds again to 5 min with a Plasma Cutter with the appropriate nozzle selection... Any Company that would like to send such a unit would never regret the gesture as I'd sing your praise from the highest hills. Depending on the alloy there are numerous power tools that can be used including Band Saws, Circular Saws (of various orientations including Hand, Table and Chop) ensuring that the appropriate blade is matched to the alloy... Note do-not cut non-ferrous alloys with abrasive disks (just don't...) as well as shears and cutting torches. The Fettling process is the removal of fins or minor deformations with some mix of manual and machinery assisted labour... I use a hammer and a 4 1/2" angle grinder with a Zircon Flap-disk. Castings that are obvious defects should not even be cut away unless necessary for re-melt, though cleaning is required regardless. The lecture notes specify the option of repairs to castings at this point as well, though I personally have never repaired a casting, either it is kept or re-melted. Destructive & Non-Destructive Inspection Destructive inspection, though not a component of this module is worth talking about briefly. These would include cutting castings through cross-sectional areas in pursuit of Sub-surface porosity defects, measuring tensile and shearing strength of castings as well as impacting various surface areas to determine hardness. Obviously these tests are carried out on sample(s) that would be representative of a casting run, and typically where the casting is being used in an application that requires very strict quality control such as vehicular applications... Where I would not cast 6 plaques and destroy one randomly for fear that it requires 1250lbs of force to break it and it broke at 1247lbs... Non-Destructive Inspection is a process that can be performed on a casting numerous times and leaves the casting in such a state that it can proceed to the finishing stage if found to be within specifications. This is becoming more common place as technological advances are made, the methods that are discussed are; Visual Inspection - Obviously is Surface Quality comparison to a reference or based on the experience of the person performing the inspection. This method is has a labour cost associated with it, though is comparatively low. The speed and easy of inspection lacks any record keeping and may be subjective or inconsistent if performed by personnel of varying experience. Machine Vision is a promising technology that incorporates high resolution cameras that feed image data to a comparative processor that can actual gates or arms to discharge castings into a scrap pile or pass them down a conveyor for further processing. For tons of detail on this exciting technology (and man is it ever EXCITING!!!) http://vsd.pennnet.com/home.cfm

Liquid (Dye) Penetration Inspection (LPI) is a process that is able to detect narrow seams and cracks at or just below the surface of a casting by applying a liquid dye or phosphorescent dye, the penetrant is wiped away and the casting is inspected for residue that has properties that make for easy inspection or detection. The chemical composition of the effective dye(s) requires specific handling procedures that will be available off their respective MSDS. Personally I think that this process also would lend itself well to a Vision Systems solution, as the range or spectrum of detection of a sensor can be tailored to significantly extend beyond the range of the human eye. Also of consideration is the ability to records results for archival purposes and defect analysis. This is definitely not for smaller foundries, but a shop that makes under 1000 Aero-space grade parts that require "Mission-Critical" tolerances and verifiable inspection documentation, I'd think about implementing some sort of PACS or Picture Archive Communications System. Magnetic Particle Inspection (MPI) - This process is limited to Ferrous castings and requires less overhead than the name implies, the fundamental process is the application of a magnetic field to the casting, coating the surface with a magnetic particle compound and examining the retained particles for markers that would denote fractures or inclusions in the casting by the distribution of the adhering particle matter. MPI offers advantages over LPI, in that it can be performed faster, requires fewer material specific handling considerations, offers less clean-up, and can detect defects up to 0.25" below the casting surface. The noted drawbacks are the limitation of testing to Ferro-Magnetic castings, potential for residual magnetism in the casting, a higher intellectual overhead in terms of training and competency of staff as well as a measure of casting cleaning (though still less than LPI). Ultrasonic Inspection - This inspection system works on the same principles of Medical Ultra Sonography... An energy or acoustic wave is propagated through a medium via a transducer, the wave is reflected and the reflection is examined on a display. In this case the medium the wave propagates through would be the casting. This inspection system offers superior sub-surface analysis than other processes listed so far. The reflected wave can indicate a properly formed casting or identify internal fractures or structures that could not be otherwise found. This process offers very rapid analysis of casting integrity, as well as lends it's self to automated and archival processing. The cost and intellectual overhead of implementing such a system is significant, and this process does not work well with coarse grained castings due to reflection by the grain structure. USI does require reasonably flat and or smooth surfaces for the transducer to propagate and receive the reflected waves. Eddy Current Inspection (ECI) - This is an emerging technology that is similar to both US and MPI. An EMF (Electro Motive Force) is induced in the casting (Ferrous or Non-Ferrous) and the induced EMF is read by an inductor that is sensitive enough to supply detailed information that is analyzed and displayed.

ECI can diagnose and identify grain structure and offer a level of elemental composition that USI can-not at this time. My guess is that this won't be cheap... Radiography - Much Like USI is based on the medical practice of Diagnostic Imaging via X-Ray and the imaging of the x-rays that passed through the medium on to film. The X or Gamma rays are absorbed or modified by the thickness, density and/or atomic weight of the cross section being examined. This area has undergone Radical change over the last 10 years, Film is being replaced with Crystal cartridges that can be digitized and erased for re-use, any radiology system being install today MUST BE digital... The savings are always touted to be on the cost of the film, chemicals and processing... True there are savings, but the labour associated with processing, handling and filing (for archival purposes) far out weighs the other savings. Similarly digital radiology techniques have developed to the point that through digital filtering of image data information is made available that could never have been detected with traditional film techniques. If you have to ask what the cost is, you can't afford it, though systems are spec'd based on qty of images processed and the number of image acquisition points (X-Ray station) and the number of view stations for radiographic interpretation. Although the temptation exists to develop an archival data structure in house to save on costs, an open architecture approach should be adopted to facilitate data sharing between the foundry and customers... If you are creating castings that have a requirement for Radiographic Inspection, you'll likely be called upon to produce sample images to the customer's QC dept. These notes are based on AFS Text Chapter 18, lecture audio, text and 5 video segments. ...this is the end of Course notes for Module 7 and MATL MTB70, thank you for taking the time to visit theworkshop.ca and watch for other courses that are part of this same program. ABOUT SAND Whutz-Up with Sand? Since Molten Metal is hot, and the utility of the mold is the space that it does not consume, the mold material has to withstand the heat of the metal without melting, losing it's shape, size etc... Since Sand Molding is done with Sand, the sand must not melt and it's physical dimensioning should remain intact. Since sand is generally a ceramic based material it typically has a strong inter atomic bonding structure that contributes to it's ability to withstand high temperatures before breaking down. Since High Temperature is a subjective term, lets generalize that most sands have a melting point above 3000F. The popularity of sand as a molding material is due to it's abundance and relatively inexpensive cost.

"Daddy, where does sand come from?"

I'm glad you asked... Sand has many sources and compositions, but all sands have their common origin in the fact that they are granular material resulting from the disintegration or crushing of rock. Of the various bodies that influence and advise the metal casting industry the AFS (American Foundry Society) will provide the standards, terms and ranges of measurement used in this course. The AFS states that sand is "Mineral Material" regardless of chemical composition, and casting sand falls into a broad range of grain sizes that span 2mm to 0.05mm. 1/12" to 1/500" or #10 to #200 Mesh screening. The four basic sand compositions discussed in this course are Silica, Olivine, Ziron and Chromite. These types of sand have various properties that effect their application to the broad spectrum of foundry work. Of the numerous properties the most important are Shape, Melting point, Thermal Expansion, Weight (measured by Bulk Density and Specific Gravity) and pH. The Chemical composition of these sands provides some insight into why the other properties are attributed to the various types. The following charts are based on AFS data listed in AFS pub "Technology of Metal Casting" ISBN #0-87433-257-5. Sand Chemistry & Property Table Composition % Silica SiO2 98.82 MgO 0.031 Cr2O3 ZrO2 Al2O3 0.049 Fe2O3 0.019 CaO 0.0016 TiO2 0.012 Melting Point F(C) 3110(1710) Properties Silica Colour White/Brown Specific Gravity 2.65-2.67 Bulk Density 95-97 Thermal Expansion 0.018 Temp Reaction Acidic (pH) Shape Varied

Olivine 41.2 49.4 1.8 7.1 0.2 3400(1875) Olivine Green 3.27-3.37 96-103 0.0083 Basic Angular

Chromite 1.34 8.75 45.8 21.34 19.50 0.94 0.03 3800(2093) Chromite Black 4.3-4.5 156-165 0.0045 Basic/Neutral Angular

Ziron 33.5 65 1 0.03 0.19 4600(2538) Ziron White 4.6-4.7 152-183 0.0037 Slightly Acidic Rounded

This chart is important, why the fuck do you think I re-typed it (it's in the text, it's in the lecture, it's a slide, it's even referred to in the audio files and I think references are made to it in the video clips)... I believe that like the infinite constant Pi all answers to this module are contained within the chart above...

Sand Type Verbiage Silica Silica is the most common sand type and can be found where ever water has had the time to erode rock to a granular form over time. Lakes, rivers, river banks etc. In North America Pure Silica Sand is mined primarily in the Illinois and Missouri States from the St. Peter deposit, all other silica deposits tend to have varying degrees of organic and mineral contaminants that must be removed prior to classification as Casting Sand. These organic and mineral contaminants effect castings in numerous ways including but not limited to introduction of carbon into the cast, unpredictable thermal expansion and binding properties to name a few. Key Info; High thermal Expansion 0.018"/inch, Melting point 3110F/1710C, a varied shape and acidic pH. Olivine Olivine Sand is an ortho-silicate of Magnesium (Mg) and Iron (Fe) and is found in it's natural state within Forsterite Mg2SiO4 and Fayalite Fe2SiO4(neither terms are overly relevant to this course) Except that Cast quality Olivine is only derived form 90% Forsterite... The Forsterite is crushed to reduce the mineral to a granular form, logically increasing the cost due to production of the material. Olivine sand is typically used in the Non-Ferrous foundry sector, but is used occasionally in the Ferrous Sector to aid in the production of Manganese (Mn) Steel (Austentic) due to it's ability to overcome adverse chemical reactions that would result if Silica sand were used. Key Info; Low thermal Expansion 0.0083"/inch, Melting point 3400F/1875C, an angular shape and basic pH. Chromite FeCr2O4 This is an African Sand, as it comes from Africa, and has a price tag to reflect its point of origin. There is so much I could say about Chromite FeCr2O4, but won't as it's not germane to this discussion, but I will note that it is used in Steel foundries, and as a facing or core material where it's superior thermal characteristics are called upon... Key Info; Low thermal Expansion 0.004"/inch, Melting point 3800F/2093C, an angular shape and basic/neutral pH. Ziron This is the last of the four sand types and has the fanciest name... Zirconium Silicate or ZrSio4 to his friends is found primarily in Australia, Florida and California. With the most stable thermal

properties of the 4 types it is used as a mold or mold facing material where very high temperatures are encountered and refractoriness becomes a consideration. Oh and before I forget, that High refractoriness can aid in "Directional Solidification" if your a keener and can figure that stuff out when you make your mold. And another minor point that might be worth knowing Zircon has trace elements of Uranium and Thorium , no big deal... Just so you know... Dispose of as the law tells you, though it doesn't say specifically that the sand itself is hazardous... Key Info; Lowest thermal Expansion 0.003"/inch, Melting point 4600F/2538C, an elliptical or rounded shape and slightly acidic pH, an AFS gfn of 65 to 140 with 100 as the most common. So why all the hype on Thermal Expansion??? Although Silica Sand is the most common sand, it has some characteristics that influence it's behavior when used within a mold. The silica is considered to be in an Alpha Quartz State when below approx 2000F, above that temp it changes to a Beta Quartz state that is typified by significant expansion. The results of this expansion can be mold wall movement, Buckles, scabs, Rat's tails etc... Similarly Silica sand having a relatively lower melting point compared to the other sands, has issues with metals that approach and exceed 2240F in the form of "Wetting" the point where metal starts to cover the surface of the sand grain faces and Fluxes with Iron... (I don't really get the fluxing part, but all will come clear in time...)

AFS Grain Fineness Number (gfn) & Grain Distribution Words like "Fine, Medium & Coarse" are somewhat vague and subject to interpretation in the abscence of some form of relativistic model... Thank God the American Foundry Society stepped in and implemented a numeric scale that does away with all that inaccuracy... The AFS gfn covers average grain size and distribution, as this is an average it may be somewhat deceptive. he AFS scale typically covers 25 to 170 (according to the Text book) But I personally have never heard of anything less than 80 or 90 on the coarse side and have regularly heard of fine grains that top the 200 - 220 range... And that's the point!!! Don't confuse individual grain Mesh #'s with AFS gfn, as the gfn is an AVERAGE!!! Why such a range??? Too coarse a gfn is reflected in the surface of the casting, too fine a gfn and the mold can't pass the gases from the molten metal during the pour and results in gas related defects.

And again on a personal note, I know from painful experience if you can't pass gas, there will be unpleasant results... Sand Handling So if your sand is a distribution of Mesh sizes that is averaged to an AFS gfn, then it would stand to reason that you would want that distribution to stay, well, distributed... Consider a tumbler of sand rotating on an inclined axis, the fines grains move to the bottom, and the coarse grains move to the top. Or just a conveyor that is dumping the sand into a cone shaped pile, the fine grains typically will accumulate in the center of the cone rising vertically as the cone builds surrounded by coarser material rolling off to the sides and surrounding the base... The above illustrates examples of "Segregation" and will impact casting quality if the AFS gfn distribution is not retained. Sand Reclamation Man does this Module never end... So you have some sand, you selected it based on the type that suits your casting specifications, you ensured that you ordered the right AFS gfn for the metal or alloy to be cast, You've employed 100's of 1,000's of dollars to ensure that the AFS gfn distribution is retained, You cast you first casting and now what??? You open your check book and hope that you can afford even more machinery to handle the task of Sand Reclamation!!! On the most basic level the spent molds have to be broken up to make the sands flow for molding in the next casting. Along with breaking-up the spent mold, "Sand Fines" (sub-AFS gfn sized material that results from mechanical handling of the sand), spent binder material and any metallic refuse need to be removed. And for high production foundries the sand has to be cooled prior to re-use if the production cycle is that rapid. As I said, get that check book out as it ain't gonna be cheap... Mechanical Reclamation Processes The following are examples of various methods of mechanically reclaiming spent mold sands. Jaw Crusher Pneumatic Scrubbers Vibratory Reduction Shot Blast Reduction Mechanical Sand Scrubber

Heating Units to burn out residual binders - this is employed when dealing with chemically bonded sands that use a resin that has cured and can not be re-activated... Excessive amounts of cured resins that accumulate in the sand impact the LOI or Loss on Ignition rating of the sand. Sand Coolers All of the above should not aggravate the accumulation of "Fines" by excessively rough handling of sands. Sands that are classed as angular impart specific properties to the mold and casting, but those attributes are altered if the sand is literally broken by force during the reclamation process and result in a sand that is now round. The removal of metal(s) from the sand is also important as it will directly impact the refractoriness of the sand and casting quality and defects. Especially in a Jobber Foundry where various alloys are cast using the same sand if it suits the purpose.

AFS - gfn (Grain Fineness Number)


Refer to previous Module for general info... It should be noted that the Foundry determines what is an appropriate AFS-gfn to provide the appropriate molding properties and finished product for a given casting, though there are general guidelines but the variability of processes, alloys, sand types and binders precludes a definitive chart that can be referred to for selection. Quality Control practices should begin at the shipping dock when new unbonded sand arrives at the foundry, beyond the typical checks to ensure that the proper qty and condition of the material reflects what was ordered, a sampling of the sand for AFS-gfn should be conducted to ensure that an appropriate grain distribution exists that will be consistent with expected quality of molds and ultimately castings produced. At some point within this module the first of a series of "On-Line Labs/Assignments will be completed" The MTB72 Mod 2 Lab is an actual AFS-gfn determination. (details to follow - provided I pass the Lab... Ha!!!) To perform the test a predetermined qty of sand is removed from the batch, machine or transfer point to be tested. AFS-gfn readings may be grossly inaccurate if an inappropriate test point provides the sample (refer to examples in Mod1 of sand separation due to handling). Always Follow AFS-1101-0-S specification to ensure consistent sampling, for those unfamiliar with AFS-1101-0-S Sand should be acquired from a free-falling stream of sand by passing the container through the stream at a uniform speed, clearly passing through without overflowing the container... The sand is weighed to determine a start point or reference. The odds of actually collecting exactly to the gram the amount required is very unlikely, so it is best to get easily twice as much as you think will be the required weight. I assume that the weight will be different for each foundry, but once that qty is established all testing will be done with that target weight.

The illustration to the right is a rather lame and grossly inaccurate representation of a simple sand separator. A series of evenly spaced slots alternatively direct the sand into Bins 1 and 2 respectively. For your own piece of mind each bin can be weighed to ensure that the separator does indeed separate in equal parts. The separator though simplistic is essential in retaining the grain distribution. The initial qty of sand is divided over and over again, and weighed until by Successive approximation the target weight is arrived at... ie; Initial weight 473 Grams, Target sample weight 100g

Split 1 Split 2 Split 3 Split 4 Split 5 Split 6 Split 7

Bin1 236.5g (Split) 118.25g (Split) 59.12g (Hold) 29.56g (Hold) 14.78g (Split) 7.39g (Hold) 3.69g (Hold)

Bin2 236.5g (Discard) 118.25 (Discard) 59.12g (Split) 29.56g (Split) 14.78g (Discard) 7.39g (Split) 3.69g (Discard)

The 4 (four) Hold bins should total 99.76g, obviously I've rounded back to 100th's of a gram and have pre-calculated the approximation value after the first sub-target split value of 59.12g was hit, and assumed perfect division of the Split weights... I know that I can repeat the thought process to determine the split/hold and discard points, but have no interest in writing out a long prcis on the theory of successive approximation. The above being said, measurement to within 0.24g is good enough for me & my staff, but more anal supervisors may demand greater precision... All the "Hold" bins are dumped together and weighed (check that the weight is as calculated) If there is a gross margin of error - Lather, Rinse and repeat... Note: Do-Not attempt to simply scoop a bit of sand out by hand or with a spoon to adjust the weight between bins in an attempt to arrive at the Sample weight quicker... This is grounds for dismissal, consider this your written warning!!!

The Diagram to the right illustrates a typical range of Sieve Mesh sizes used in an AFS-gfn test.

NOTE: The word "Typical" implies that there may be other sizes that can be used for specific sand distribution ranges, but this listing can be considered an example, but not "the example". The Sieves have collars that surround the mesh and allow them to be stacked securely into a column, with a closed pan the bottom to catch any material that passes through the finest Mesh sieve. Ensure that all sieves are completely free of any sand or residue from a previous test before beginning. The Column of sieves is placed into an agitator that securely holds the column and will apply a vibratory action on it to work the grains through the various mesh sizes. This process run for approx 15 minutes to ensure that a thorough separation has occurred. The sieves are separated and the various distributions are weighed and documented. (Since I haven't done the actual Lab yet... I'm a bit unsure but...) It would seem that AFS-gfn is ranked as a 3, 4 or 5 sieve distribution (with the condition of at least 10% of the total sample weight is present on 3, 4 or 5 adjacent sieves... I think... Since that is the case it's likely that there is a minimum value as a percentage of the total sample size required to a AFS-gfn to be within or out of bounds of the expected value??? The point of grain size distribution is to strike a balance between voids and permeability of sand. According to the lecture notes... If a uniform size of rounded grains is compactly rammed, the total volume would still consist of approx 40% void space, if the size was reduced considerably (but remained consistent, it would still have an equal volume of voids... The solution is to use a distribution of varying grain sizes to fill-in voids to improve surface finishes, and an added note that Silica Flour also can be used to increase mold densities. ...this is the end of Course notes for Module 2 MATL MTB72, please turn over the tape to continue listening to Module 3. at

is

Even More... Physical Properties of Sand


This module will be considerably shorter than others posted as some of the material was already covered in Module #1... Unfortunately it also lacks any really exciting content, beyond the rather dry classification and assessment procedures employed within commercial foundries. Bonded & UnBonded Sand

This refers to loose sand that has been screened, dried and filtered of impurities such as carbaceous materials and minerals that would adversely affect the thermal specifications of the sand. Unbonded sand usage within the commercial foundry sector is relatively new (since the 1950's) as a result of the development of various casting processes and new synthetic binding agents. Prior to the 1950's all foundry sand usage was clay bonded sand, and presumably was classed as such... Naturally occurring bonded sand is mined from river banks and similar deposits (vague...) Sizes and Shapes of Sands This section applies to all 4 (four) sand types listed in Mod#1 (Silica, Olivine, Chromite, and Zircon) The 3 (three) general shape descriptions of Mold Quality sands are Angular, Sub-Angular and Rounded, the chart to the right is as good a gauge of the various classifications and shapes of sand as you'll find... A fourth classification exists "Compound", but compound sands are not adequate for Metal Casting due to their fragile nature (typically 2 grains of lightly fused sand, creating a compound grain) and the mechanical and thermal stresses of casting. The 3 (three) Sand shapes impart various properties such as flowability (for mechanized handling and molding), permeability and binder strength. Rounded Sands Rounded Sands offer excellent permeability but lack any interlocking strength, in an unbonded state. In a bonded state require less binder though with a reduced permeability, but good flow characteristics. Angular Sands Angular Sands exhibit lower permeability though with superior interlocking strength when unbonded. In a bonded state require more binder to cover the higher surface area, and are prone to produce significat sand fines due to sharp corners breaking from mechanical handling. Sub-Angular Sands Predictably Sub-Angular sands are a median between Rounded and Sub-Angular... Better permeability than Angular, but not as good as Rounded when unbonded, better interlocking strength than Rounded, but not as good as Angular. More binder is required than Rounded, but not as much as Angular, with less fines generated than angular, but more than Rounded, and a similar mid-point of flowability. It is common practice for foundries to use a mixture of sand shapes to achieve a balance of the above properties for their specific molding, handling and casting needs.

The 2 (two) extremes of sand shape would be Lo-Spherical/Very Angular grain compared to a HiSpherical/Well Rounded Grain. Grain shape has a considerable influence on binder adhesion and qty, due to the variance in grain surface area. Grain shape also influences mold strength and permeability. The last point is that Grain shape has a natural tendency to change from Angular to Rounded, due to handling and usage over time. The points or material that is broken off an angular grain remains in the sand and is termed "Fines", the qty of fines also impacts mold permeability.

Clay and Clay Minerals


All clays essentially can be considered Hydrous Alumina Silicates - I was unsure what that meant so with Google "Define: xxxxx" Hydrous - Containing water, typically chemically bound water or water of hydration. Alumina - An aluminum oxide compound Al2O3 is a family of compounds found naturally in clays such as bauxite or kaolin Silicate - A rock or mineral whose structure is dominated by bonds of silicon and oxygen atoms The Alumina & Silicate components are physical and can be defined on an elemental level, the Hydrous component is what gives clay it's adhesive and slippery properties. The elemental definition of water H2O bonds to the Alumina Silicate through 3 (three) methods, Electrostatic Bonding, Surface tension and inter particle Friction. The electrostatic bonding mechanism can be defined as dipolar forces initiated by the preferential absorption of Positive and Negative Ions within the Hydrous solution. The text definition goes on for a full page on micellular di-pole structures... The key component is that this solution has an ionic component that has enough strength to retain the hydrous element... in english Clay will dry-out, but wants to retain a certain amount of water. Also the elemental chemistry of various clay types have varying degrees of pH in part due to the ionic retention of the hydrous component (This may be grossly inaccurate as I've tried to reduce a tremendous amount of detail into as short a definition as possible) Clay particles are rather flat in shape and typically can be imagined to stack like a deck of cards, this near 2 dimensionality of alumina silicate when hydrated imparts the characteristic slippery plasticity of clay. A typical individual Alumina Silicate platelet or flake ranges between 1/5000 to 1/50,000" in diameter, 1 gram of Bentonite, if separated into individual platelets would cover an area of approx 800 sq meters. Green Sand & Clay(s)

As a binder for sand, clay can be added in proportions ranging from 5% thru to 12%. The qty of clay used is influnced by numerous factors such as sand shape, grain size, alloy being poured, size and thickness section of castings being poured and the desired shake-out characteristics. Although it would appear that the stronger the mold the better, issues can arise with molds that hinder the collapsability of the mold as the casting contracts during solidification such as "Hot Tears" Clay Bonded sand is rated on it's "Green Strength" or ability to hold it's shape until the metal has been poured, and it's "Hot Strength" it's ability to hold it's shape until the metal has solidified. The "Big-3 of Clay's" - Southern Bentonite, Western Bentonite & Kaolinite Bentonite is mined and consumed in the North American market 8 to 1 vs Kaolinite, with annual gross weights of 700,000 tons vs 90,000 tons. The key compositions of the Big-3 are summarized below

Base Hydrous Shrinkage Refractoriness Exchange Quality (on drying) High. Na Western (OH)4Al4Si8O202100-2450F Very High. Ion pH=8Very High Bentonite nH2O 1148-1342C Gel Forming 10 90% Class 1A montmorillonite (Wyo, S. 10% quartz, Dak, Utah) feldspar mica, etc... High. Ca Slight, Southern (OH)4Al4Si8O201800F + Ion pH=4modest Very High Bentonite nH2O 982C + 6.5 Gelling 85% Class 1B montmorillonite (Mississippi) 15% quartz, limonite, etc... Very Low. 3000-3100F Kaolinite (OH)8Al4Si8O10 Very low Non gel Low 1647-1703C forming 60% Kaolinite, Class IV (Ill., 30% illinite, Ohio) 10% quartz, etc... Composition Chart abbreviated from AFS - Technology of Metalcasting - Schleg

Particle Size <0.00001"

<0.00001"

typically coarse ground to flour

Of note above is the Alkalinity of the clays based on their ionic bonding atom (Na or Ca for the Bentonites), The elemental formulas listed don't accurately reflect the percentile mineral composition of the clays.

Western Bentonite - is the most popular clay for green sand molding due to it's compatibility with a broad range of alloys. Although it has 90% of the Green Strength of Southern Bentonite it has significantly more Green Strength than the Fire-Clays, and superior Hot Strength characteristics than Southern Bentonite. With careful control of moisture content most foundries can use 100% Western Bentonite and avoid blending clays. Typically moisture content should be kept between 38 and 42% of Active Clay (as opposed to burnt or spent clay due to firing from previous pours). Too much moisture impacts the moldability of the sand and shake-out characteristics, while too little moisture effects mold surface stability, and contributes to erosion defects and mold cracks. Western Bentonite requires additional Mulling (over S-Ben) due to it's expansion properties when hydrated. Southern Bentonite - Has poor Hot & Dry strength properties that exclude it from use in steel or Cast Iron Casting, as the clay is destroyed above 700C. The hydration of Southern Ben. requires less mulling to completely coat sand grains, offering greater Green Strength, but exhibits more brittleness that impacts the ability to extract patterns that require deep pockets in the mold. Sou. Ben. lends itself well to high production foundries that employ mechanized molding due to it's High Green strength. Foundries and Foundry supply houses commonly blend the Bentonite clays to achieve an averaging of their beneficial properties, and Kaolinite is also blended with either or both clays to improve the refractoriness of the binder. Fireclay (Kaolinite) - Although Kaolinite clay has the highest refractoriness of the clay families it has substantially lower green, hot & dry strength. Similarly Kaolinite requires 1/3 more water to be hydrated as the Bentinites, and 2 to 3 times as much clay is needed to achieve similar coverage. Property Sodium Bentinite % Clay to Sand 5 % moisture 2.5 Green Compression 11.2 (PSI) Dry Compression (PSI) 101 Hot Compression @ (PSI) 1000F 110 1500F 210 1850F 520 2000F 345 2500F 8 Calcium Bentonite 5 2.5 12.4 69 Kaolinite 12 3.0 10.2 71.5

55 103 150 72 4

75 145 170 510 27

Primary Tests The following are a series of what are considered Primary Tests that are run on a continual basis (hourly) within a commercial foundry operation to ensure Green Sand performance is maintained at a consistent level. This modules has 4 (four) Lab Assignments that relate to these tests. Green Compression Strength - This is the most common test, and establishes a benchmark that allows foundries to compare a standard. This measure can be affected by Mulling, clay selection, quantity of Clay and moisture. Compactability - Offers an excellent indicator of either Over or Under Tempering of Green Sand, when combined with Moisture testing, this test becomes a good indicator of sand consistency. Permeability - is a measure of the "Openness" of a green sand mixture, and is a determinant in the sand's ability to vent gases. Too high a permeability results in surface finish defects, and too low results in gas related defects. Permeability is used to aid in determining proper AFS -Grain distribution. Moisture - Testing is also classed as a Primary test , as the clay is activated with water and it's plasticity is a function of it's level of hydration. Many of the other properties of green sand are dependant on accurate maintenance of proper moisture levels, Green Strength, Hot Strength, Flowability and Permeability... Temperature - The last of the Primary tests is Temperature, this relates to high production environments, where green sand is cycled from mold thru shake out, mulled and into mold again at a high rate. The accepted rule is that sand must be under 120F to re-activate clay binders, and mulling must also occur below that threshold point. Green sand mulled above 120F is simply mixed together, and the sand grains are not being coated.

Secondary Tests
This series of tests are performed less frequently (daily or weekly depending on volume and test) Active Clay Content - AKA Methelyne Blue Test is used to determine the percentage of active clay remaining in the green sand mix. Since the total clay blend is determined by the alloy being cast, size and weight to sand ratio, the percentage of "Dead" or clay that can no longer be re-activated must be determined to ensure consistency of castings. Total Fines - the fines or sub-granular content must be maintained below 2.5 and 4% depending on the castings being produced. The accumulation of fines from dead clay, sand fractures, or other green sand additives can adversely effect casting quality by reduction of permeability, higher moisture requirements or brittle molds affecting green strength. AFS -gfn - Grain size distribution was beaten-up and left for dead in the previous module...

Wet Tensile Strength - is an integral function of the green sand process. WTS can be adversely impacted by shifts in the AFS-gfn, or accumulation of contaminants in the sand. TWS is a good indicator of the quality of the Bentonite in use.

LOI (Loss on Ignition) - For some alloys it is necessary to add carbonaceous material such as "Seacoal". LOI is used to determine the amount of combustible material in the green sand. ...this is the end of Course notes for Module 3 MATL MTB72, please turn over the tape to continue listening to Module 3.

Water
This module is relatively brief, but is dedicated to the most essential and most abused material within the green sand molding composition... Water. As stated in the previous module notes, the water or aqueous component of clay goes beyond simply wetting the other minerals. There is an ionic bonding mechanism at work that has water penetration that ranges from 3 to 10 molecules into the platelet structure. The ideal hydration of the clay and sand mixture is the "Temper" of the sand. Ideal hydration is the point that all water is engaged within the clay structure and it can absorb no more... But there is no excess water that is free within the sand Clay mixture. The terms discussed are "Adsorbed (nor absorbed) & Free Water. Adsorbed is the point of ideal hydration, while Free Water is any excess. It is the water clay-bond that gives molding sand it's plasticity. And remember each clay type has unique points of hydration. High Density Molding (HDM) - It should be noted that when the molding process is mechanized as in HDM practice, there is a reduced moisture content required. Moisture Content This is a variable due to many factors that influence the requirement of water;

clay type, percentage of live to dead clay, the method of mulling, Supplementary additives (Organics - flour etc) Sand Type, shape and grain distribution and fines

Molding Sand Properties Vs Moisture Content Given that some of the above factors are variable over the life of the sand, the moisture requirements of the sand are similarly dynamic. This implies that to aim for a static numerical value for moisture content is impossible. Rather, it is the influence that moisture has on the molding sand that should be aimed at, these are the various green and hot strength values that are required to create quality castings.

An important factor in the water clay relationship is "Compactability", this characteristic influences the strength of the molding sand, in an HDM application the sand has a compactability between 30 to 40%. The Temper point of the sand is the point of ideal hydration, peak Green strength as well as ideal, resistance to deformation, toughness and permeability. Hot Sand Considerations. The heat of the casting process obviously liberates a qty of water from the mold, though it should be noted that the ionic bonds that hold the water and clay in solution are rather weak and even temperatures as low as 120f to 160F (well below boiling) still influence the liberation of water. Sand molding and testing should be restricted to temperatures below 100F. It stands to reason that the sand to metal ratio has a significant influence on the moisture losses associated with the casting process. For example a 50lb mold that receives 1 lb of molten metal dissipates less heat than a similar qty of sand that receives 5 lbs of the same Alloy, which brings to light the influence of the alloy type. Aluminum as a significantly lower thermal transfer requirement than a ferrous alloy such as Cast Iron, on a volumetric scale as well in consideration of mass. Excess Moisture Defects - are found within the following list, deformation (oversized) castings, gas pick-up resulting in porosity defects, fine cracks, as well as hot tears due to too high a hot strength that does not allow the casting to shrink uniformly. Water like most materials, expands as it rises in temperature Water can expand up to 4.3% above it's original volume between 5C and 100C, above 100C (the point of vaporization) water expands rapidly to 1600 times it's liquid volume. Such a rapid expansion of a significant qty of free water within a mold can result in an explosion. I picture a shower of liquid metal droplets emanating outward like bullets onto workers, tools, and building walls and work benches. The impact of each droplet in my nightmare scenario has all of my buildings engulfed in flames (even the hunt camp located a Km away, I said it was a nightmare) as well as our house (similarly located a distance from the foundry). The expansive property of excess or free water within a mold is further exasperated by the resultant decrease of the mold's permeability. Water can actually be decomposed at excessive heat when in contact with certain alloys, in the case of Cast Iron the thermo-chemical interaction is illustrated as 3Fe + 4H2O Fe3O4 + 4 H2, essentially forming iron oxide (rust) and hydrogen on contact. Surely some clever engineer can use this to create a new energy economy...

Green Sand Additives


As the previous module dealt with the issues associated with moisture (water) as the most important consideration in the maintenance of green sand, this module will address the numerous other materials that can be added and their effect & purpose. To be clear, the only reason to modify or change the properties of the foundry sand is to improve the quality of the castings. This can be in the form of superior surface finishes, reducing or removing persistent defects and the scrap rate associated with such defects. Other considerations such as

flowability or handling of the sand are included, this area would cover the molding process, the molds properties in terms of strength, shakeout, reclamation, and quick reusability for high production foundries. Through all of the above the primary objective is to establish consistency in the Green Sand formula. I personally feel that there is no optimal or super sand system, and the end product will be an assortment of benefits and compromises. Variability Theory - I found that it was worth my while to "google - Define: Variability, Consistency and Quality to get a better sense of their meaning, due to their typically subjective nature (Note - this definitely won't be on the exam, but is an exercise that frames a deeper understanding of the overall objective. Define: variabilityThe characteristic of a product or process in which parameters fluctuate to a significant degree but do not typically trend in a specific direction. Reduction of variability is a priority in systems that attempt to ensure consistent quality and reduce lead times. www.bridgefieldgroup.com/glos9.htm A spread of possible outcomes around an expected outcome www.show.scot.nhs.uk/pfcu/Glossary.html variable control chart- A chart presenting actual data from quality tests that shows the range, upper and lower limits, and deviation characteristics of a set of observations. www.bridgefieldgroup.com/glos9.htm Define: Consistency (logic) an attribute of a logical system that is so constituted that none of the propositions deducible from the axioms contradict one another www.cogsci.princeton.edu/cgi-bin/webwn A measure of the ability of a particular method to converge on the correct answer as the sample size becomes infinite. www.zoology.ubc.ca/~otto/EvolDisc/Glossary.html Define: Quality The characteristics of an item or process that indicate its conformance to designated parameters, and its degree of perceived customer acceptance or satisfaction. Quality characteristics often include reliability, consistency and the ability to continue performance in stress or volume situations, but are critical only in relation to the value placed on them by the user or customer. www.bridgefieldgroup.com/glos7.htm The totality of features and characteristics of a product that bear on its ability to satisfy given needs. www.2asc.com/ascweb/products%20and%20services/risk/Best %20Practices/content/resource/gloss.htm

So as a Green Sand - Mission Statement, we could say that "Our goal is to reduce the Variability of the mixture such that we can achieve and maintain Consistency in an effort to provide Quality castings." Additives - Many of the additives are naturally occurring minerals, as such there is a degree of variability in the composition of the additives. This property of variability contributes in a cumulative fashion as additives are introduced. This is the rational to minimizing the use of additives. Organic Additives - include but are not limited to Cereals, resins, proteins, and oils. Cereals - This additive covers the variety of "Flours" including corn, wheat, milo, and rye. The term flour implies a very fine particle size. The purpose of introducing a cereal structure into the molding sand is to increase plasticity, and dry strength, as well as aid in retaining moisture. The improved green strength and deformation properties reduce sand inclusions. The green and hot strength properties of the mold can be improved with cereal additions between 0.25% and 2% by weight. Cereals typically are destroyed at temperatures between 500F and 700F. In summary, the appropriate addition of cereal material, improves plasticity, green & hot Strength, while contributing to the quality of the casting. Points of consideration are - The contact of molten metal creates dead material that will be accumulating in the molding sand over successive castings, ultimately contributing to excessive fines. Excessive cereal may rob water from the temper point of the clay and actually reduce green and hot strength of molding material. Excessive water and cereal may create such a high hot strength that the mold can not shrink or collapse as the metal solidifies and create hot tears. Similarly excessive water/cereal combinations typically exhibit gassing defects ranging from hydrogen formation to carbon monoxide and Carbon Dioxide formations. Cellulose - This additive covers the variety of "Flours" including wood, rice husk/hull and nut shells. The term flour implies a very fine particle size. The purpose of introducing Cellulose material is to absorb excess water and improve the flowability of the sand during the molding process. The destruction of the cellulose material at the mold metal interface creates a cushioning effect, where the burnt cellulose matter leaves voids that allow the sand grains to expand while retaining better mold dimensional accuracy. This cushioning effect can aid in reducing scabs, rat-tails, veining, cracks, hot tears and buckle type defects. Again, bearing in mind the variability of additives the initial introduction of cereals should be between 1% and 2% of the total weight of the batch. In summary, the appropriate addition of cellulose material, improves flowability, dimensional stability and shake-out properties while contributing to the quality of the casting.

Points of consideration are - The contact of molten metal creates dead material that will be accumulating in the molding sand over successive castings, ultimately contributing to excessive fines. Also like cereal material, Cellulose material if used excessively can undermine the ideal temper of the water/clay ratio and reduce green & hot strength properties, resulting in associate defects such as wash-out, wall movement, gassing, etc... Inorganic Additives - include but are not limited to cement, silicates and some esters. Iron Oxide - is a fine inorganic additive that has it's place primarily with Silica based sands. The purpose of adding Iron Oxide is to aid in the thermal transfer of heat from the mold metal interface, and provide some stabilization of the mold's dimensional properties. This thermal property is most effective with alloys that promote the liquefaction of Iron Oxide creating the best thermal transfer properties, while leaving room for the sand grains to expand. Points of consideration are - The introduction of fines and the effect on permeability, the scavenging effect the Iron Oxide has on the moisture content, potentially reducing Green & Hot Strength, and the pronounced brittleness (or reduced plasticity) of the mold, which may impact the ability to draw patterns that have deep pockets. Similarly the addition of Iron Oxide has an effect on the refractoriness of the molding sand and may contribute to "Burn-On" type defects. Carbonaceous Materials - These materials are applicable to Cast Iron alloys and some of the larger, thick walled copper alloy molding sands. Carbonaceous material is used to improve the surface quality of the casting. Note that carbonaceous materials are NOT used in the casting of steel, as it would introduce carbon and alter the alloy in undesirable ways. The term that describes how a casting separates at the mold metal interface is called "Peel". This property is enhanced by the addition of carbonaceous material. The list of Carbonaceous materials includes (but is not limited to) seacoal, asphalt, Gilsonite, lignite and petroleum distillates. Of these the most common is Seacoal, a finely crushed bituminous coal. Seacoal is typically added at 2% to 8% by weight relative to the batch of molding sand. The Volatile nature of the powered coal produces a significant volume of smoke and gas, though the gases aid in producing a non-oxidizing atmosphere for the metal surface with the addition of "Lustrous Carbon" This production of gases necessitates the addition of vents to aid in the dispersion of the gas. The materials listed above have significantly higher volumes of "Volatile Carbons" and as such can replace seacoal in a 1 to 2 ratio (half as much as was used of the seacoal). Points of consideration are - The effect of fines from the seacoal and the requirement of heavy venting due to reduced permeability. Also the introduction of excessive asphalt, gilsonite, lignite and petroleum distillates, that essentially water-proofing the sand and clay, inhibiting the hydration of the clay and bonding action, resulting in poor Green & Hot Strength properties. A general note that applies to all modifications to the green sand mixtures, regardless of additive is the volumes or masses of material. The examples given for Cast Iron green sands are all listed in the

per-ton ranges. The larger the scale of production typically the easier the additives are to control (assuming adequate mechanization is employed to handle such volumes). The illustration that comes to mind is the maintenance of an aquarium for fish, it's generally much easier to maintain the properties of a larger (100g) tank than it is for a small (5g) tank, and if MINOR errors are made, the larger medium can be somewhat more forgiving... Polymer Additives - These materials are relatively new additions to the foundry and serve the purpose of lowering the surface tension of the water, offering better clay hydration and superior coating properties to the sand. This modified water of sorts can make minor allowances for hot sand molding environments by the reduced moisture loss relative to the less hydrated clay. Similarly the use of polymers to enhance hydration can translate into reduced mulling requirements Chemical Additives - I think the name is too generic as everything can be reduced to a chemical composition? no matter... An example of a chemical additive would be Soda Ash for the purpose of reducing the acidic pH that results from cereal usage or the contamination of molding sand by the introduction of spent core material that was catalyzed by an acidic process. This counter action of a lowered or acidic pH is employed to stabilize the properties of the Bentonite clays that are effected by acid pH resulting in a weaker bond strength. The soda ash is added in proportions that restore the pH to the 8 - 9 range, though be aware that this will activate clay that has been dormant and result in variations in mulling and significant modifications to Green compression strength. If this occurs, avoid the "Knee-Jerk" response of reducing the clay content... I hope you get the picture that as soon as we start to modify one parameter we effect other parameters and soon, we're making additions that are counter acting previous additions, ad nauseum... In summary, only employ additives to impart a characteristic improvement in the sand for the casting at hand, select the additive(s) carefully with the implications on the entire system as materials decompose due to exposure at the mold metal interface, as well as any supplementary additives that may unduly complicate the maintenance process in the course of counter-acting the effects of initial additives. Dilution Sand This is the addition of sand of an appropriate grain size or distribution to buffer or counter act the accumulation of fines and restore permeability. Essentially dilution sand can be added to counter act a variety of additive related issues, as the name implies it dilutes the general composition based on the volumes of the composition and the volume of dilution required to achieve a specific purpose. Be aware that the addition of dilution sand may require the proportionate addition of other constituents to ensure that the mixture retains it's desired properties. In closing, dilution sand is typically added at the rate of 20% to 30% to maintain the sand mix over time. All clay-based Green Sand mixture inevitably require some maintenance to ensure that Compactability, Refractoriness and Permeability via grain distribution remains within acceptable ranges.

BINDERS
Modules 6 & 7 could be under one heading of binders, these are of greater interest for the purpose of creating Cores. Cores are parts of the mold that typically are placed after the pattern is removed and form internal passage ways within the casting. Initially I thought that Mohawk had glossed over the topic of core-binders, with a gross lack of detail on the chemical binder systems found in the foundry industry. Upon careful reading and research into the chemical binder systems, I started to see the typically high environmental impact these systems impose. The families of Furan, Phenolic Urethane, and Urea Formaldehyde, impose significant capital and operating overheads to be handled in an effective and safe manner. Although I enjoy the exposure to the spectrum of industrial processes, regardless of their applicability to my foundry, I agree with the Colleges choice in omitting significant detail on these systems. Module # 6 - Protein based Binders This family of binders is a recent innovation developed by General Motors Corp. GM began with an R&D effort in 1990 to replace their current binder systems with a more environmentally friendly system that could compete with regard to Cost & Performance properties. The result was a Polymer-Peptide based binder that is formed through the use of "Long-Chain Amino Acids", these amino acids are found in the base material "Collagen Compounds" & an additive that promotes thermal breakdown is also included . The materials are derived from renewable naturally occurring sources and refined into a non-toxic compound. The R&D effort brought GMbond to market in the late 1990's. This product is licensed through Hormel Foods. As an aside the licensing to a food industry manufacturer is an indication of the low impact the compound has on the environment, either a true testament or just clever marketing on the part of GM. Below is a link that has several Video clips on GMBond http://www.gmbond.com/update_video.html Essentially the process requires 1% protein based binder by weight, mixed dry to a rounded grain sand. The addition of water acts as a catalyst that forms polymer bonding of the mixture. The sand flowability is optimal at a lower temperature. Cores are blown or formed, and heated to create a Biopolar crystalline structure from the polymerization of the binder. These cores exhibit excellent tensile strength on the order of 200psi with less than 2% binder. Protein based core binders work well in Aluminum and Magnesium foundries as well as Cast Iron production. CI binder would have an additional component (Ferrous Oxide) that improves surface finish added, though must not be present for either Al or Mg castings. The shakeout characteristics are also excellent, as the core is reduced to free sand due to thermal breakdown of the polymerized biopolar crystal structure. Any retained core material is completely water soluble and is easily washed form the casting.

The problems of Core Gases is also eliminated as well as the toxicity of traditional core processes by as much as 99% in Al & Mg production. All aspects from initial mixing through post-casting reclamation share in the benefits of an environmentally benign process.

Chemical Binders
This module will focus on the "No-Bake" process and resin bonded sands. Note: There are significant risks and high capital & operating costs associated with certain families of chemically bonded sands. This is related to findings that indicate carcinogenic properties and environmental concerns associated with the reclamation and disposal of spent sands. The resin based binders are typically a 2 (two) part process. Initially the sand is coated with a resin, and then activated with a second compound known as a catalyst. The activation of the resin with a catalyst forms synthetic polymers that create the high strength properties required in the mold or core application. The key distinction between the Protein based binders and chemical is the chemical catalyst vs a heat catalyst, and the formation of synthetic binding polymers vs the amino acid based polymers that are water soluble. The trend in the 1980's was toward developing "No-Bake" or room temperature curing compounds. The basic idea of establishing consistency in casting production is also important when considering chemically bonded molds & cores. The primary constituent is the sand itself, ideally a sand that has a rounded shape requires less binder and can provide improved mold/core densities and strengths. Sand handling has a significant impact on mold/core quality, typically long sand transports through steel piping should be avoided as it can degrade the sand, also any process that might lead to segregation of the grain distribution is to be avoided. Temperature The effects of temperature are important in both "Heat Pattern" process and the "No-Bake" process. Ideally Heat Pattern molding requires that temperatures are held within 50F of the target temperature (based on the application datasheet for the binder system being employed). The No-Bake process requires that all processes be within the range of 70F to 100F. The mixing of sands an resins is inhibited by excessive viscosity at temperature below 50F, while the resins will begin to partially evaporate at temperatures above 100F, leaving a gummy residue with poor activation characteristics when the catalyst is introduced. The property of activation or "Set-Time" is also influenced by the temperature of the resin coated sand. The general rule of thumb is that for every 10 Degrees C the mixture is above the optimally recommended temperature, 10 minutes can be removed from the "Set-Time" ie; If a resin coated mixture is rated to set within 30min if the mixture is at 23C when activated, a mixture at 33C will set in 20 mins, while a mixture at 43C would set in 10 mins... Note that a mixture at 43C (well above 100F) would have very poor core/mold strength properties due to decomposed resin prior to activation by the catalyst.

I doubt that it requires mentioning that sand/resin mixtures at 53C will not reverse time, by setting 5 minutes prior to the addition of the catalyst... Conversely sand that is below 70F can take significantly longer to set or cure when activated, while sands below 50F are too viscous to be moved effectively and would result in poor activation if at all. This condition is counteracted by the use of in-line resin or sand heaters to aid to maintaining an adequate temperature... ADV - Acid Demand Value Defined as the property of a sand or additive to affect the cure process as a function of the materials acidity or basicity on the pH scale. The pH scale is defined as the logarithm of the reciprocal of the hydrogen ion concentration within an aqueous solution... This is the same scale that is used to maintain drinking water, and aquariums for fish keepers etc... The Hot-Box, Warm-Box, Acid Catalyst No-Bakes systems require an acidic ADV, while Cold-Box and Phenolic Urethane processes require a more basic ADV. This ADV requirement now demands that the sand be tested to ensure that it is consistent with the process being employed, as the ADV of sands can drift over use. Moisture The effects of excessive moisture can have tremendous impact on the properties of the cured core/molds if outside the specified norms for the process being used. Typically moisture content is kept below 0.33% due to it's negative effects. this is illustrated in the lecture notes as; "The effect of a hot summer day with 100% humidity will cause the tensile strength to drop by 4 times" The effect of moisture condensing on cool sand on a hot day is a significant factor. This creates a paradox of sorts as there is also a relationship between the speed of activation or the formation of the polymerized bonds and the strength of the core/mold. Up to a limit, the slower the polymerization of the resin, the stronger the bond. The paradox exists in the molds ability to resist absorption of moisture when cured but having to use comparably cooler sand to achieve the slower catalyst activation, and creating a condition where condensation potentially could occur. (if you understood that on the first reading you can take my spot in line for the gold star...) Density The core density also holds a relationship to the cured strength properties of core/molds.

The most common way to influence density is through grain shape of the sand, where a rounded shape will require the least binder for effective coverage, compactability increases between 8 to 10% over an angular grain shape. Again a balance has to be established as too high a density will adversely effect the permeability of the core/mold and create issues associated with gas related defects such as porosity. Expansion Characteristics The final consideration in all binder systems, and especially for cores is the thermal expansion characteristics of the sand being used... Silica Sand has the worst characteristics at almost 4 times the rate of expansion than, Olivine, Chromite and Zircon Sands. The dimensional integrity of the core within a closed area of the casting potentially could create stress or hot tears, especially when a binder is used that has poor collapsibility or too high a Hot Strength.

Heat Activated Chemical Binder Systems


Let me retract, my statement in the previous section (6 & 7), about the lack of coverage of the "Binder Systems"... This section and the next 2 sections are more info on binders... The chemical binders are grouped by activation, the main groupings are Heat Activate, Cold-Box & No-Bake. This section will deal with the Heat Activated class. Of note within the "Chemical Binders" is that the majority are classed as Organic, or based on Carbon compound(s). The In-Organic, or Non-Carbon binders are based on Silicate compound(s) or Phosphate/Metal Oxide compound(s). The In-Organic binders require more attention when molding, provide lower strength levels and are the least reactive when catalyzed, though do have a place in specific foundry operations that require other properties that are beneficial.

Cold-Box Phenolic/Urethane/Amine Silicate/CO2 Furan/SO2 Acrylic/Epoxy/SO2 (Acrylic) FRC /SO2 Phenolic/Ester (Methyl Formate) Phenolic/CO2

No-Bake Furan/Acid Phenolic/Acid Phenolic/Ester Oil/Urethane Silicate/Ester Phenolic Urethane Phosphate/Metal Oxide Polyol Urethane

Heat-Activated Shell Core Oil Phenolic Hot-Box Furan Hot-Box Urea Formaldehyde Hot-Box Warm-Box

The table above is the AFS grouping re-typed for quick reference... This section will not cover every "Heat-Activated" binder type listed but will discuss the more common applications and provide an overview of the group.

Core Oil Binder Molding This method has been replaced by other systems but was once a dominant core bonding system and is one of the oldest. The Core sand is dry mixed with cereal additives, Water is added to activate the cereal material and achieve a measure of green strength. Once the Sand/Cereal/water is well mixed a quantity of kerosene oil is added that improves the flowability of the sand and acts as a releasing agent for the formed core. The mixture is blown or rammed into a core mold, removed and baked at between 350F & 500F in an oven with adequate air flow to evacuate any moisture release from the core. Shell or Croning Process The Shell process, also known as the Croning process (named for it's developer Johannes Croning) is comparatively more current than the Core Oil process, as it was developed during the second World War. The shell process is still in use today. Part of the Shell Processes longevity is it's relative ease of use, and it's adaptability to mold production as well as Core production. Typically most foundries purchase core sand that is pre-coated with resin. Although it is possible to resin coat the sand in-house, the technical nature of the process generally precludes doing so. The coating methods described in the text are termed "Hot-Coating" and "Warm-Coating", both require precision temp control of sand, resin and typically a chemical wash and mechanical treatment to particulate the sand for usage. Shell sand has an indefinite shelf life prior to molding and the mold/cores similarly have an indefinite shelf-life prior to use. The core mold is a heated box (typically 500F - 550F) that the sand is blown or rammed into. The sand is held at temperature for a period of time that allows the resins to melt and form either a solid or hollow shell core. In hollow cores the box is tilted to allow un-catalyzed sand to pour out for the next core. Beyond the advantages of long storage periods, Shell Cores provide good surface finish properties due to their flow and density characteristics, and hollow cores aid in the "Shake-Out" properties of the casting. Hot Box Core Process The dominant process are Furan, Phenolic & Urea Formaldehyde. These process are even more current than the Shell process, having been developed in the early 1960's (much like myself...). Though their application is somewhat restricted due to the environmental issues that surround the emissions of Formaldehyde in production. These binder systems made the production of thin-walled castings in the production of engine-blocks possible due to their superior strength and shake-out characteristics. The 3 resin types can be used individually or in combination to create specific core types with properties that are tailored to the casting in question. The hybrid resins are formulated with

consideration to the ADV (Acid Demand Value) of the sand and the pH nature of the resin's themselves to ensure proper polymerization into a stable thermoset. Warm-Box Core Process This method is similar to the Hot-Box listed above, though the heat activation occurs approx 100F lower than the traditional "Hot-Box" temperature. The Process also is similar to Hot-Box Core production in that it uses a Furan based resin, though the catalyst is a mild acid, resulting in substantially reduced Formaldehyde and Phenol emissions. The reduction of environmental pollutants, reduced energy consumption required in core activation make this a more viable and economically attractive Core Production method, while offering the flexibility of using plastic core molds at the lower activation heats.

More Chemical Binder Systems - Cold Box Technology


The "Cold-Box" technologies are currently being used in high-end core production and high volume core production shops. What distinguishes this system from the Hot & Warm-Box techniques beyond the use of heat as a catalyst is the use of a vapour or gas as a catalyzing agent. The sand that is used is still a resin coated sand though. Of the most popular in use today (2005) are;

sodium silicate/carbon dioxide (gas) phenolic urethane/amine (vapor) epoxy acrylic/sulphur dioxide (gas)

Although other processes are also in use these three form the majority of the market in use. Phenolic Urethane/Amine (or PUA for short) is ranked as the #1 process in use, with Epoxy Acrylic/Sulphur Dioxide as an alternative method to the PUA system. Lastly Sodium Silicate/Carbon Dioxide will be discussed. Phenolic Urethane/Amine (PUA) This system uses a 2 part resin coating made up of a Phenolic based resin that is dissolved by an organic solvent, and isocyanate material that is dissolved by a similar solvent. These compounds are blended with clean sand to form the resin coating. Once properly coated the sand is blown into the Core molds. The Core molds that are used in "Cold-Box" applications have special considerations for passing gases or vapours through the pattern. For a PUA mold the venting ensures that 80% of the crosssectional area of the core is exposed to the catalyzing gas. The gas/vapour that is used is from the Amine family... below are the results of a quick "GoogleDefine" . The common theme appears that this is an Ammonia based molecule that has been modified to fall into an "Organic" classification.

One of a class of organic compounds which can be considered to be derived from ammonia by replacement of one or more hydrogen by organic radicals. www.pqcorp.com/technicalservice/Glossary.asp An organic molecule which consists of an ammonia molecule where one or more of the hydrogen atoms has been replaced by organic groups. misterguch.brinkster.net/vocabulary.html A curing agent used with epoxy resins that is any of a class of ammonia derivatives. www.airproducts.com/Products/Chemicals/EpoxyAdditives/content/Glossary.htm

The Amine based vapour/gas is introduced under pressure, once the Amine is introduced, a flush of clean air is introduced to the mold also under pressure. The purpose of the air is to ensure that the Amine is completely passed through the mold/core, as well as remove any pronounced odor or health hazard. As with many chemical processes, the addition of heat to the clean air will accelerate the catalyst action of the Amine gas with the Phenolic Urethane resin mixture. The Amine gases are carefully collected and vented off to a scrubber that neutralizes the Amine and recovers the vapour in the form of Acidic Salts. The 2 (two) most common Amine based catalysts are triethylamine (TEA) and dimetylethylamine (DMEA). DMEA is the more effective catalyzing agent but has a higher cost and also has a much stronger odour, as a result TEA is found more commonly in Core/Mold production usage. Considerations The PUA binder class falls under the definition of a Polymeric resin system. This type of chemical composition has some properties that have to be accounted for. The primary concern is dimensional accuracy, the core/mold will shrink in the coarse of the curing process. The amount of shrinkage is a function of the density of the core/mold, the proportions of resin, the type of aggregate and/or sand as well the age of the core/mold. Also of note is that even with a clean-air flush the core/mold is still only 70 to 80% cured, the remainder of the curing process occurs as the catalyst gases evaporate once the core/mold is removed from the core box. Unlike some core/molding systems PUA has a very short shelf life for the resin coated sand. It is advised that the sand be catalyzed as soon as possible after coating. Also proper design of core venting and aspiration of the Core/Mold box is a prerequisite to consistently stable core/mold production, as the gas catalyst interaction with the resin coated sand is crucial. In closing this section any chemical system that has an acronym like PUA likely has a poor environmental impact and this is true in this case... A general rule of thumb would be that industrial organic compounds can be potentially harmful to staff and the environment. The adherence to local regulations in the use of such a system is essential to being a safe employer and corporate citizen... For my part theworkshop.ca will stick to such benign process as wheat flour binders baked with molasses. Sodium Silicate/Carbon Dioxide The Sodium Silicate/Carbon Dioxide system is a popular alternative to the PUA system just discussed. This system is classed as an "In-Organic" binder system and as such has fewer health and environmental concerns associated with it's use.

Primarily the use of CO2 as the catalyzing gas/vapour removes the requirement of a scrubber as the gas in inert, has no odour and will NOT be a respiratory irritant. Similarly the Sodium Silicate binder has a lower environmental impact and can be considered comparatively inert. The Sodium Silicate/Carbon Dioxide system was introduced in the 1950's and pre-dates Phenolic Urethane/Amine. The popularity of PUA is largely due to superior strength properties over Sodium Silicate/Carbon Dioxide. One of the pluses of a Sodium Silicate/CO2 system is that it generates very little gases when compared to Organic systems, so has fewer porosity defects. The strength properties of the Core/Mold are closely related to the Sodium Silicate ratio. Optimal performance has been established with 1 part Silicate to 2.5 parts Soda compounds. Of concern with this process is the core/mold tendency to absorb moisture in humid environments, this adverse property should be attended to with air conditioning and humidity handling systems. Also this property implies a relatively short shelf-life of core/molds. The duration of gassing has an effect on Core/Mold Strengths, a fully cured mold will have a high initial strength but should be used the same day as it will have fully 1/5th the strength of an under cured core/mold 48hrs later. The temperature of the Sodium Silicate mixture when gassed has a significant impact on compressive strength of the core/mold. Assuming a 60sec gassing time to activate or catalyze the binder, @ 32F the compressive strength is approx 20PSI, @ 60F it is close to 50PSI and at 100F is just under 200PSI compressive strength. The Shake-Out characteristics for a Sodium Silicate/CO2 core/mold are unfortunately, quite poor, although some additives are available to improve this property for Ferrous metal castings, these additives can't be used in non-ferrous applications. Similarly the sand reclamation process can be hampered by vitrification of the core due to heat, mechanical reclamation has poor results though some water based systems are available. Epoxy Acrylic/Sulfur Dioxide (FRC) This final "Cold-Box" system is also known as the FRC system, though I couldn't find the reason in either the lecture notes or text... This system uses a blend of both Acrylic and Epoxy resins to derive the best strength properties of both compounds. Acrylic based resins have excellent green strength and moldability, with poor hot strength characteristics, while Epoxy based resins provide excellent Hot Strength properties though with longer cure-times and gassing requirements. A blend of 35 parts Epoxy to 65 parts Acrylic (with peroxide for Ferrous applications) seems ideal, or alternatively a 50/50 mix for Aluminum production is used. These proportions are mixed to sand in 0.5% to 2.0% concentrations. The benefits of this system are reduced scrap sand, better flow properties from the mixer through the hopper and into the core blowing machinery. This system is free of Water and Nitrogen from a gas generation perspective and also Phenol, ureaformaldehyde, and isocyanate from an environmental view. Though the catalyst gas (Sulfer Dioxide) does require additional equipment (Scrubbers) for reclamation. The reclamation system most commonly used is a "Packed Tower Scrubber" this system uses a water and 5% Sodium Hydroxide

solution. The resultant Sodium Sulphate solution has a pH of 8.5... Local laws and environmental regulation will dictate whether this can be discharged or requires specific disposal considerations... As an aside, how can there be such vague guide-lines for disposal of this type of material, either this effluent is benign or hazardous, I can't see how regional jurisdiction would matter... again a process that I will not undertake for the sake of profit...

No-Bake Air-Set Binder Systems


This the final section for this course as well as the last of the Core/Mold Binder systems. The Air-Set or No-Bake systems are distinguished from the cold-Box systems just covered in that they are catalyzed by a liquid rather than a gas agent. The Air-Set binder system is generally used by smaller "Jobber-Shops" or low volume foundries due to the additional time required for the binder system to cure once molded. This binder system has 3 (three) distinct phases or durations that start immediately after the catalyst is added to the coated sand mixture and occur at ambient room temperature. The first phase is "WorkTime" this is the period that all mixing transport, molding and compaction will occur within, the second is the "Strip-Time" referring to the period that has to elapse before core/mold has polymerized enough to hold it's shape and be removed from the core box, lastly the "Cure-Time" is the period of time that has to elapse once the core starts to set-up to the time that the resins are fully cured or polymerized. Work, Strip & Cure times should be predictable consistent durations that are specific to the resin type being used, the qty & type of catalyst added, the ambient temperature of the sand and room as well as humidity. Temperature & Humidty The considerations of temperature and humidity can be even more critical with some of the binder systems that generate water as a byproduct of the polymerization process. The moisture has to be evaporated from the core/mold to ensure that the binder is not under-cured and proportionally weaker as a result. Similarly any surplus moisture or un-catalyzed solvents may contribute to excessive gassing and porosity defects in the casting. As discussed in a previous module, the 10C/18F Rule is applicable... The basic premise is that every rise in sand/resin temperature of approx 10C/18F cuts the current phase time in half. The ideal temperature or mid-point from which to work is between 75F & 85F, with a lower limit of approx 50F and an upper limit of approx 110F. The sand/resin mixture may become too viscous below 50F to flow properly, and the resin will not be able to properly coat the grains if not pre-coated. Temperatures above 110F tend to evaporate the solvents within the resin(s), resulting in gummy resin that also does not coat or flow properly. In an effort to accommodate the temperature requirements of the binder system that a foundry is using, Sand heaters and/or chiller may be needed to achieve consistent results. As a last resort the core/mold may be baked in an oven to ensure all moisture and solvents have been evaporated,

curiously I think that this would open the door to litigation on the basis of "False Advertising" if sold as a "No-Bake" binder system... The Big-3 As with the Cold-Box system there are 3 (three) main families of binders that will be discussed

the Furan/acid system the Silicate/ester system the Phenolic urethane system

Furan/Acid System The first is the Furan/Acid system. This system is categorized as the Furan Family but contains no furan, but rather is composed of either Urea Formaldehyde (UF) or Phenol Formaldehyde (PF) as well as a Furfuryl alcohol. google define: Furan

Resin formed from reactions involving furfuryl alcohol alone or in combination with other constituents. www.hghouston.com/f.html a colorless toxic flammable liquid used in the synthesis of nylon www.cogsci.princeton.edu/cgi-bin/webwn Furan, also known as furane and furfuran, is an aromatic heterocyclic organic compound. Furan is a clear, colorless, very volatile and highly flammable liquid with a boiling point close to room temperature. It is toxic and may be carcinogenic. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furan

The Furfuryl alcohol is said to be miscible with water, to clarify this see below; google define: Miscible

Capable of being mixed in any concentration without separation of phases; eg, water and ethyl alcohol are miscible. www.havoline.com/carcare/glossary/m.html Miscible means able to be mixed. Two liquids are said to be miscible if they are partially or completely soluble in each other. Commonly, the term miscible is understood to mean that the two liquids are completely soluble in each other. (See also Solubility.) ccinfoweb.ccohs.ca/help/msds/msdstermse.html The capability of being mixed; mutually soluble. www.airproducts.com/Products/Chemicals/EpoxyAdditives/content/Glossary.htm Capable of being mixed together. www.sludgehappens.com/dewatering_glossary.htm

The system is considered as Organic, and readily polymerizes with acidic catalysts to a solid state at room temperature The Furan family has 3 sub groupings based upon the Nitrogen & water content of the system. These are generically identified as Low, Medium & High Nitrogen systems.

Low Medium High

Furan/Acid Binder Classification Nitrogen % 0-3 2-8 5 - 11

Water % 0-5 5 - 15 10 - 30

These percentages are representative of the percentile of the polymerized resin, and do not include the volume of sand/aggregate, although neither text or lecture notes explicitly say this, I think it is self evident... The catalyst reaction is exothermic or one that generates heat, although not stated, it's possible to theorize a relationship between the moisture content created during the polymerization phase and rate of cure. What is stated is that higher moisture contents do generally lead to slower cure-times. The tensile strength of the core/mold is also negatively impacted by higher levels of moisture. The third issue is the relationship between Nitrogen (N) and moisture. Though the effect of nitrogen is less pronounced with Non-Ferrous castings, it is problematic with ferrous (especially steel) castings. The Nitrogen (and by association moisture) content can be modified by the use of "Low-N" Furfuryl alcohol.

Sand Resin Catalyst

Typical Material proportions Mold 98.96% 0.80% 0.24%

Core 98.70% 1.00% 0.30%

Note that molds generally have less resin & catalyst than cores. The catalyst material is an acid, and is generally from either the Phosphoric or Sulfonic families, with the Sulfonic acids yielding faster cure times. The rate of cure can be accelerated up to a point, beyond which core/mold quality is effected by dried weak surfaces that are prone to being friable when cast. The acidic nature of the catalyst is what activates and precipitates polymerization. The sand that is used can adversely affect the curing process if it has a high ADV (Acid Demand Value), effectively neutralizing the catalyst before the curing process is complete. Olivine sand does have a high ADV and would be considered unsuitable, while Silica, Chromite and Zircon sands would be acceptable. In closing, the Furan Family of binders are among the most widely used systems for the class of NoBake/Air-set. They offer flexible work, strip and cure times, good Hot-Strength & Erosion Resistance and relative ease of sand reclamation. On the negative side SO2 (Sulfur Dioxide) is produced during the casting process, as well as the toxicity of the resin & catalyst components involved. The release of residual formaldehyde during the sand reclamation process also poses health and environmental concerns.

I think that the shift to "Off-Shore" high volume casting may have motivators beyond "CheapLabour", is it possible that more industrially friendly environmental policies and lax Work-place Safety governance could be contributing to the trend? Or is it the whining North-American worker that thinks s/he is above carcinogenic compounds and would rather breathe clean air than Formaldehyde laden clouds of sulfur dioxide that is to blame? Perhaps the purpose of this course is to illustrate what NOT to use for sustainable production. Silicate/Ester Chemical Binder Family This family is composed of a Sodium Silicate resin that is In-Organic that is catalyzed by an organic Acid Ester. The various binder compositions are achieved by varying the ratio of Silica (SiO2) to Soda (Na2O) when mixing the resin with water. The range of ratio's for foundry usage in Core/Mold production is from 2.0 up to 3.0. The Table below better illustrates the weight ratios for the range of Silicate/Ester binder resins.

Low Medium High

Silicate/Ester Resin Composition Na2O SiO2 H2O 15.2% 30.4% 54.4% 12.7% 30.8% 56.5% 11.2% 31.9% 56.9%

Wt. Ratio 2.0 2.4 2.85

google define: ester

An ester is a compound formed from the reaction between an acid and an alcohol. In esters of carboxylic acids, the -COOH group of the acid and the -OH group of the alcohol lose a water and become a -COO- linkage. www.eere.energy.gov/biomass/student_glossary.html an organic compound produced by the reaction between a carboxylic acid and an alcohol www.learnchem.net/glossary/e.shtml Compound formed by the elimination of water and bonding of an alcohol and an organic acid. www.carpetbuyershandbook.com/carpet_glossary_e.htm A molecule containing an ester linkage, a carbonyl group bonded to an O that is in turn bonded to a C. www.foresight.org/Nanosystems/glossary/glossary_e.html

Above is a quick reference to better define an Ester. It should also be noted that In-Organic molecular bonds are generally weaker than Organic bonds. The same considerations of ADV of the sand are applicable to this system as the polymerization occurs as a result of the acidic catalyst. The catalyzing Ester is added at a rate of 10 to 12% of the resin used to achieve consistent core/mold production.

The sand must be above 15C, and the grains are coated with the sodium silicate resin. The addition of the acidic ester causes the resin to gel and harden. The speed and degree of hardness achieved is related to the type of acidic ester used as a catalyst. The 3 (three) Ester catalysts that are commonly used within the foundry industry are glycerol diacetate that provides the fastest curing action, followed by ethylene glycol diacetate which is a midrange curing speed Ester and lastly glycerol triacetate classed as a slow speed catalyst. Proprietary blends of the three Esters have been formulated to offer a finer degree of control over cure rate and speed. Advantages The primary advantages to this system are environmental compared to the Furan Family, with an inorganic resin composition, absence of Sulfur, phosphorous or formaldehyde emissions. Silicate/Ester is better suited to a broader range of applications covering both Ferrous & Non-Ferrous casting due to the absence of Nitrogen pick-up. Disadvantages The in-organic nature of the resin bonding impacts both shake-out and sand reclamation, as the bond is not broken by heat. This can be improved by additives (what these additives are, and whether they drag down the environmental performance of the Silica Ester family is not discussed) The strength of the core/molds is also lower than that of the other No-Bake/Air-Set families. Phenolic Urethane Family The final class of No-Bake/Air-Set binder families are the Phenolic Urethanes introduced in the 1970's. This system is most prominent in the production of small to medium sized core/molds. This class of binders is quite similar to the PUA cold-box system discussed in Module #9, with the difference being an Acidic Liquid over the Vapour/Gas Amine catalyst used in Cold-Box production. Moisture absorption is less of a problem with this No-Bake system over the PUA Cold-Box system. Advantages The Phenolic Urethane No-Bake system offers the fastest Cure-Time, while maintaining a high work to strip time ratio. The cured core/molds exhibit good strength characteristics, while providing excellent shakeout and sand reclamation properties. The binder and coated sand has long storage stability. Disadvantages

The presence of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) in the solvents can't be a good thing. As well as the production of smoke and odors during the casting process (I wonder what they are? Are they healthy smokes and odors like those found in cigarettes???) The process is generally not used for ferrous (Steel) casting due to the presence of Nitrogen. Closing comments... This course (MTB72) is a necessary evil, in that it is rather boring and pretty dry but did cover a fairly broad range of basic knowledge and gave an overview of industrial practices with regard to Binder systems... I think that an opportunity was lost to drill deeper into the binder systems with a greater emphasis on Work-place safety and environmental concerns. Also a module on current regulations, typical Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and government regulatory bodies that oversee the Foundry industry would have been helpful.

Lost-Foam Metal Casting


This page was created in response to a few requests that I've had regarding Lost Foam Metal Casting method that I use. Unfortunately I can't compare Lost Foam to Cavity Molding or Green Sand Casting as I've never used green sand. When I first built my Blast Furnace, I just wanted to try it out on something quick & dirty. I had read about Lost Foam, and thought it would be a quick way to get started. The results I had were so much better than what I expected that I've just continued on with it. Secondly, since I didn't have a Cope & Drag setup or the sand clay mixtures readily available I started to focus more on Foam. The foam that I use is construction insulation. I buy mine in 2 ft by 8 ft by 2 inch sheets. This is great stuff to work with, as it cuts easily and can be shaped with common hand tools. The tight cell structure is a key feature, I doubt the the larger bead type foam would be of much use. I first started using foam for molding fiberglass. During that experience I made a small hot wire foam cutter. Even though the cutter is fun to use, it does tend to distort the form as it cuts and requires quite a bit of hand finishing to clean-up plugs.

Generally I guesstimate the rough dimensions of a part and cut a chunk of foam with a hand saw at least 0.25" over-size. This generally leaves enough material to shape as closely as possible to finished dimension. In this case I'm cutting out an octagon shape that will be turned down to be a face plate for my lathe. Notice the el' Cheapo drill press. I picked this up at a flea

market for 5 or 6 bucks, and just love it, as it's bolted to a table on wheels, while my main press is bolted to a stationary 16ft bench.

Once the chunk is cut, I find the center, drill a hole to accept a length of 3/8ths threaded rod. A nut and large flat washer are located on either side of the foam block to help keep it flat or perpendicular to the threaded rod. Generally I hand tighten the nuts to the point that the washers sink flat with the surface of the foam. This is adequate to keep the rod from spinning inside the foam as you shape it.

Obviously the threaded rod and foam block get chucked-up into an electric drill. It doesn't have to be a drill press, but for me it seems to be easier than having the drill flopping all over the bench. I true-up the block into a cylinder with a wood rasp. At this point I'm using both hands and trying to steady off the base of the press. Even though it's just foam, there's enough velocity on the outer edges to give you nasty burn if you rub-up against a turning edge. I'm using my index finger on my right hand as a light sensor as the block spins.

After having shaped the block into a cylinder I use a woodworking chisel to turndown the cylinder into whatever shape I need. It seems that the faster the foam spins the better finish I get. After having tried at slower speeds I noticed that there is a greater ripping action on the foam leaving a more mottled finish requiring more effort to produce a piece. During the shaping process I tend to use the sharp corners of the chisel and the face as shown in this picture. Always angle the chisel point with the direction of rotation, or you may find that the chisel gets drawn into the foam and ruins the piece. Similarly you may loose your grip on the chisel and have it fly across the shop.

The last stage is to get a smooth finish without removing any more material than necessary. I like to start with a 200 grit sand paper to remove any little flakes and finish with a flat metal file. These pictures are of a square shouldered faceplate, but pulleys are just as easy to make with the groove cut and finished. The factory glaze or finish should be broken while on the press with the sand paper as well. The factory finish tends to cause a warp or curl on pieces once the opposite side is cut. This problem is more pronounced with flat square pieces.

Not that the specifics of this casting have much to do with Lost-Foam Casting but I thought this was a good illustration of how easy foam is to deal with. I wanted 4 slots cut squarely on the face. Here I'm using my trusty (knock-off) dremel tool with a quarter inch routing bit. Since it requires so little force to cut through the foam, it's easy to use a steel rule as a guide without damaging the bit.

The tub on wheels is full of used sand that I have yet to sift, the Steel bucket, wooden box, and old pot are what I use for pouring my castings into. I will have to get more sand, but I have enough to pour off 3 castings at a time with this set-up.

Here my assistant carefully sifts the sand through screen stapled to a shallow box. By using a wisk any debris is easily swept off the screen onto the floor, the screened sand is poured off into a container. I recently picked up 20lbs of the finest sand I've ever seen. Unfortunately it was on a beach in northern Quebec during a

fly-in fishing trip. It took some convincing to get the pilot to let me bring it back, but it's in Ontario and about to be put to the test. This stuff is so fine it feels soapy when you run your fingers through it.

Here is the faceplate plug with a 9/16th shaft through the bore and a sprue shaped and pinned into place. This is the first time I'll be trying steel pins to hold 2 pieces together. Though it may seem paranoid to be fearful of any changes to process, it's always in the back of your mind that liquid metal could end-up flying in all directions whenever you encounter an unknown variable.

I opted to use my trusty soup pot, poured in about an inch and half of loose sand. Placed the faceplate plug roughly in the center and covered it with more loose, dry sand. There is no clay, water, oil, petro-bond, just dry loose screened sand. This picture doesn't show it well, but I try and create a natural funnel with the sand to help direct the metal onto the foam sprue. Ultimately, you want to pour the metal directly onto the top of the sprue as fast as it can take the metal. As I've said in other pages, there is a knack to pouring fast but carefully. I always find that there is a split second when the metal pools ontop of the sprue and then there is a quite poof with a puff of black smoke. As this happens you are pouring and MUST KEEP pouring. To make matters worse the sand does look like it is shifting slightly, this only adds to your anxiety that the pour didn't turnout. Now all that is left to do is is clean-up your tools, pace around the mold pot, and generally wait. After about 10 minutes I'm almost crazed with anticipation. I start by poking the top of the sprue to see how solid it feels. I can never tell much from the poke test but it does tend to kill at least 15 to 20 seconds.

This is it... The moment of truth, I grab a large set of pliers or channel locks and pull it out of the sand. This time everything when well. Steel pins are OK, so is the pipe to place the bore hole. My slots seem to have come out fine as well. The finish from the French sand also has noticeably improved this casting. Compared to previous pieces there is less pitting.

After a bit of clean-up with a wire brush and file, the sprues are cut-off. There is a slight concave property to the face plate that will be machined off. I think that this is from not taking off enough of the factory foam finish. Hopefully this helps you explore the possibilities of LostFoam Casting.