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sand casting | metal casting resources

sand casting | metal casting resources

Sand casting is a process that utilizes non-reusable sand molds to form metal castings. On one hand, casting is a deceptively simple manufacturing process: anyone who has formed castles at the beach knows sand can be used to make detailed shapes. However in a foundry, dealing with the heat of molten metal, many factors must be considered for success. Casting is used to make metal components of all sizes, ranging from a few ounces to several tons. Sand molds can be formed to create castings with fine exterior detail, inner cores, and other shapes. Nearly any metal alloy can be sand cast. Hollows are made in moistened sand, filled with molten metal, and left to cool.

Sand casting is one of the few available processes for metals with high melting temperatures such as steels, nickel, and titanium. Because of its flexibility, heat resistance, and relatively low cost, sand casting is the most widely used casting process.

Castings are produced by pouring liquid metal into a mold cavity. For a casting to be successful, the mold cavity must retain its shape until the metal has cooled and fully solidified. Pure sand breaks apart easily, but molding sand contains bonding material that increases its ability to resist heat and hold shape.

Green sand(an aggregate of sand, pulverized coal, bentonite clay, and water) has traditionally been used in sand casting, however modernchemically bonded molding systemsare becoming more popular. The most widely used casting sand is silica (SiO2).

Moisture content affects a molds strength and permeability: a mold with too little moisture may break apart, while a mold with too much moisture can cause steam bubbles to be entrapped in the casting.

Many properties of molding sand depend on the grain size and distribution of sand particles: small grain size enhances mold strength, but large grain size is more permeable. Finely grained sand provides castings with a good surface finish, but possesses low permeability, while course grained sand provides the opposite.

Special additives orbindersmay be added to the basic aggregate of sand, clay, and water to increase cohesion. These binders can be either organic or inorganic. Common binders include cereals, ground pitch, sea coal, gilsonite, fuel oil, wood flour, silica flour, iron oxide, pearlite, molasses, dextrin, and proprietary materials.

Finding the perfect combination isnt easy. Some properties of a sand aggregate are contradictory to each other: a molding sand with greater collapsibility has less strength, and one with greater strength has less collapsibility. Trade-offs are often needed to achieve a compromise that provides appropriate properties for the specific part and casting application. Precise control of molding sand properties is so essential that sand labs have become a common addition to modern foundries.

The mold cavity is shaped by thepattern, a full size model of the part that makes an impression in the sand mold. Some internal surfaces are not included in the pattern, and will instead be created by separate cores.

Acoreis a sand shape inserted into the mold to shape the casting interior, including features such as holes or passages. Cores are usually made out of molding sand so they can be shaken out of the casting. Acore printis a region added to the pattern, core, or mold to locate and support the core within the mold.

Further core support is provided bychaplets small metal pieces that are fastened between the core and the cavity surface. In order to maintain that support, the chaplets must be composed of a metal with a same or higher melting temperature than that of the metal being cast. After solidification, the chaplets will have been encased inside the casting.

Sand cores can be produced using many of the same methods as sand molds: as molds are shaped by a pattern, sand cores are shaped by acore-box; they are similar to a die and can be made of wood, plastic, or metal. The core-boxes can also contain multiple cavities to produce several identical cores.

Ariseris an extra void within the mold designed to contain excess metal. It prevents shrinkage voids from forming in the main casting by feeding molten metal to the mold cavity as it solidifies and shrinks.

The entire sand mold is contained in a box called theflask. In a two-part mold, which is typical of sand castings, the upper half (containing the top half of the pattern, flask, and core) is called thecope. The lower half is called thedrag. Theparting lineis the line or surface that separates the cope and drag.

Sand casting involves four basic steps: assemble the sand mold, pour liquid metal into the mold, allow the metal to cool, then break away the sand and remove the casting. Of course, the process is more complex than it sounds.

The first step of mold assembly is to partially fill the drag with sand. The pattern, core print, cores, and gating system are placed near the parting line. The cope is then assembled to the drag. Additional sand is poured on the cope half until the pattern, core, and gating system are covered, and then the sand is compacted by vibration or mechanical means. Excess sand is removed with a strike off bar.

Pattern extraction is undertaken carefully to avoid breaking or distoring the newly formed mold cavity. This is facilitated by designing adraft: a vertical taper perpendicular to the parting line. The draft taper is usually at least 1. The rougher the surface of the pattern, the more the draft to be provided.

Before it can be filled with liquid metal, the complete mold needs to be prepared; the mold cavity is often lubricated with mold washes to facilitate casting removal. Then the cores are positioned, additional mold materials such as cope rope are added to help prevent run-outs, and the mold halves are closed and securely clamped together; the cope and drag sections maintain proper alignment with the aid of pins and guides.

The mold halves must remain secure so liquid metal cant leak through the parting line. Before pouring flaskless molds, wood or metal pouringjacketsare often placed around the mold and weights are set on the top to keep the cope from lifting.

Molten metal enters the mold cavity through agating system: molten metal is poured into a mold via thepouring cup, continues down thesprue(the vertical part of the gating system), and then through the runners (horizontal portions). Built up gases and displaced air escape throughvents. The multiple points where metal is introduced into the mold cavity from the runners are called thegates.

After the casting has cooled, it is broken out of the sand mold. The process of removing sand from the castings is calledshakeout. The casting can be removed manually or by automated machinery. Agitations tables and rotary tumblers are commonly used.

After sand has been shaken off a complete casting, the lumps are cooled and crushed. All particles and metal granules are removed, often with the assistance of a magnetic field. All sand and constituents are screened with shakers, rotary screens, or vibrating screens. Cleaned sand can then be reintroduced to the beginning of the molding sand production cycle.

Prepared sand is delivered to the molding floor, usually by scoop trucks or by belt conveyors, where it is formed into molds; the molds may be placed on the floor or delivered by conveyors to a pouring station. After pouring, the castings are removed from the adhering sand at a shakeout station. The used sand, in turn, is returned to the storage bins by belt conveyor or other means.

Casting sand is typically recycled and reused through many production cycles. According to industry estimates, approximately 100 million tons of sand are used in production annually. Of that number, only four to seven million tons are discarded, and even that sand is often recycled by other industries.

A typical green sand mixture contains 89 percent sand, 4 percent water, and 7 percent clay. Green sand is an industry favourite because of its low cost and solid overall performance. The green in green sand refers to the moisture content present in the mixture during pouring.

Green sand molds have sufficient strength for most sand casting applications. They also provide good collapsibility, permeability, and reusability. The main difficulties arise to the moisture content. Too much moisture can cause defects in the casting, with the moisture tolerance dependent on the metal being cast.

Sometimes non-traditional binders are used in industrial sand casting. Conventional casting binders require heat to cure, while these alternative binders bond chemically at room temperature when mixed with sand hence the term cold setting processes. Technically advanced, these relatively recent sand casting processes are growing in popularity. Cold setting processes are more expensive than green sand molds, but they produce castings with exceptional dimensional accuracy.

Shell mold casting is a relatively recent invention in molding techniques for mass production and smooth finish; it was first used by Germany during the Second World War. The molding material is a mixture of dry, fine silica sand with minimal clay content and 3-8 percent thermosetting resin (phenol formaldehyde or silicon grease). When the molding mixture drops on to the heated pattern plate, a hard shell of around 6 mm thickness is formed. In order to cure the shell completely, it must be heated to 440 to 650F (230 to 350t) for several minutes.

Reliance Foundry works collaboratively with clients to design the pattern and molding method for each custom casting.Request a Quoteto get more information on how our casting service can match your project requirements.

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Installed with 12556 pieces of Trina Solar 210 Vertex dual-glass modules, the 60 MW floating solar photovoltaic system on Tengeh Reservoir in Singapore has been recently connected into the grid, and is now in full commercial operationbecoming a global showcase of excellent performance and high reliability proven...

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sand control

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