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Gabriele Galante Ovidio Michilli R u g g e ro M a s p e ro




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Gabriele Galante belongs to a family which, in the best traditions of the Luino industrial class, continues to carry out a very significant role. His grandfather founded a construction company and his father started his own foundry where young Gabriele, learnt the basic techniques founding stet, once his studies has been completed. Since 1972, when IMF was founded, he has demonstrated his innate design and entrepreneurial capabilities, through the development of the technology, which is the hall mark of IMF in todays world markets. As President of IMF he can offer machines and equipment for the application of proven processes, marked by precision, flexibility, modularity and adaptability: suitable for a wide variety of operating conditions. His successful commercial strategies have led to expansion abroad, and he is also the President of EPF, the French subsidiary; and President of IMFNorth America, the USA subsidiary. AMAFOND, the Italian Association of Foundry Machinery Makers, elected him as Association President from 1983 to 1987, a period of integration with analogous associations, within a wide International context. He followed this success by becoming President of the European Committee of Foundry Materials Producers (CEMAFON) from 1988 to 1991. In this position he took a broad view and forged connections with similar organisations outside Europe, thus creating wider horizons for exports. Today, as a member of the Executive Commission of AMAFOND, he is responsible for the development of its representative role within CEMAFON, at a crucial moment in the process of industrial globalisation.

No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE


He was born in S.Valentino (Pescara), on the 9th July 1925. In 1943 he joined the chemical laboratory of the Fonderia Ansaldo in Genoa. In 1944 he transferred to the melting departments of the section concerned with cast-iron, light alloys and copper alloys. He contributed on the perfection of the process for the spheroidisation of graphite, through the introduction of magnesium metal. This process resolved the serious problem of spheroidisation. His innovative approach was a great success both in Italy and abroad. In 1952 he joined the Fonderie Getti Speciali Colombo Giuseppe di Carlo at S.Giorgio Legnano. Under the competent management of the owner, and with the professional capacity of Dr.Michilli, this foundry became highly proficient in the production of special cast-iron castings. The metallurgic techniques employed and their originality, became standards for the industry, both in Italy and abroad. In 1956 he was awarded a degree in Industrial Chemistry at the University of Pisa. In 1980, he started his activity as a consultant, both in Italy and abroad. Characteristics: during his working career, entirely spent in the foundry sector, he has worked with enthusiasm and competence, to progressively free foundry techniques from empiricism.


He was born at Carimate (Como), on the 4th May 1932. He was awarded a degree in Industrial Chemistry at the University of Bologna. Following his military service, he worked in Duesseldorf, Germany, with the Huetteness-Albertus GmbH (at that time Gebrueder Huetteness), until 1972. He was initially a research worker, and later was the manager of the Research and Control Laboratory. After returning to Italy, he directed the Technical Laboratory of the Research and Development sector of the Satef Huettenes Albertus SpA, from 1972 to 1994. In this period he edites several technical publications and was a speaker at many Congresses and Fairs. In 1992 he was awarded the A Dacco prize, for Italian foundry work, following which he addressed the International Congress held at the Hague (1993), giving the official Italian paper.

No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE




In the face of a continuous and increasing pressure to produce quality castings; the foundry technician has a daily need to reduce production costs. He is also faced with a lack of skilled labour. The empirical approach, which nowadays is increasingly being replaced by technology, is the uncertainty element still typical of foundry work. The No-Bake moulding process has made a great contribution to resolving these uncertainties. IMF has been working in the plant sector of No-Bake technology, as a partner of casting foundry technicians, for more than twenty years. This partnership extends from the foundry floor to the technical offices, and has resulted in technical solutions and plants which are widely recognised for their quality. Through this practical guide IMF aims to widen its contribution, by classifying its experiences and by uniting them with the latest specific publications in the field. Through this work IMF also expects to make a significant contribution to the training of foundry technicians. The manual has three parts, each contained in a separate volume. They are all easily consulted and are complementary to one another. The first volume is instructional. It contains the essential basic theoretical concepts and the more important technical subjects. This volume will be of most interest to foundry engineers, to methods office technicians and to those students who intend to specialise in the foundry sector.(1) The second volume is a practical manual, which contains the most important technical information connected directly or indirectly with the No-Bake process. It is divided into two parts; the first of these describes the characteristics of typical materials and their uses, the second consists of easy reference technical schedules. The third volume deals with equipment. We have left out some technical information on the basis that it is common knowledge, whilst other information has been deliberately repeated, partly in order that it should be completely understood and partly to make the various parts of the manual independent of

(1) In the appendix which follows the Part I text, there is a glossary of chemical terms and compounds, and of physycal phenomena, connected with the No-Bake process.

No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

one another. The on-going developments in the field of foundry binder chemistry, mean that this treatise cannot be considered to be final; nevertheless we believe that its contents will enable you to follow the development of No-Bake technology correctly.



Moulding using the No-Bake process started in the sixties, using sand cold bonded with either urea-furan resins, or inorganic binders of the silicate type. Its introduction made important changes in the production of cores; and later in the production of flasks and flaskless moulds. The first obvious effect, much appreciated by the foundry operator, was the Increase in Production by 40 to 60%, especially in the moulding process for large castings. The second advantage was in the Quality Factor and the increased certainty that the casting would be a good one, despite the fact that the typical moulding defects were replaced by a series of new and for the moment, unrecognised faults. The third advantage was the possibility, in general, of using less skilled labour.



Moulds can be made using sand and binders with different characteristics and also, mixed with sand reclaimed from cores. It is therefore necessary to check the compatibility of the processes, especially when regenerated sand is used, or when new processes are introduced. The characteristics of the sands from the different processes must be assessed, especially for the amount of fines and the degree of acidity or basicity in the sand. The morphology of new sand needs to be evaluated for grain fragility characteristics, to avoid the need to use greater amounts of binder and hardener as the number of reclamation cycles increases. In fact, if the sand has sharp angles and is fragile, there is a saving in the use of binder at first, due to the small interstitial volume. As the number of regeneration cycles increases, the amount of binder used increases due to grain break down and the increased fines fraction. In a well regenerated sand this problem is much reduced.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

You are referred to the technical schedules R9/a/b/c, S2, S3, in Part II, for a check of process compatibility.



Foundry resins are organic compounds, normally liquid, and have molecules which mainly consist of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen atoms. These molecules, called monomers, are simple molecules which can be likened to rings. In the resin production phase active centers form and the molecules join together in long, mainly two dimensional chains, under the combined action of heat and a catalyst. In the application phase this reaction continues due to the addition of a second catalyst; and a rapid and three dimensional chain formation is achieved; resulting in a rigid and dense network. The macromolecules thus formed have a very high molecular weight and are known as polymers (if they are formed from identical molecules) or copolymers (if they are formed from more than one type of molecule). Their configurations give rise to the term reticulation. When this reaction takes place in a sand, the network formed holds the sand grains together in such a way that a rigid skeleton is formed. The reaction of chain formation by monomers as described above, is called polymerisation. The resins mainly used in the No-Bake process are formed by a polymerisation of monomers (poly-condensation) and the co-polymers formed are phenoplasts (from phenol and formaldehyde), aminoplasts (from urea and formaldehyde) and furfuryl copolymers (from furfuryl alcohol, phenol, urea and formaldeyde). According to the type of polycondensate, a further polymerisation is necessary at the point of use in the foundry; and this may be one of two types : Addition polymerisation : also known as poly-addition, is the pro cess in which the reaction product repeats the monomer unit and the molecular weight of the product is equal to the sum of the number of monomer units which form the polymer. Condensation polymerisation is the process in which organic  molecules with individual low molecular weights (monomers), form heavy macromolecules (polymers). The monomer units which are repeated in the polymer chain contain


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

fewer atoms than the original monomer molecules. This is due to the elimination of subsidiary compounds at chain formation, usually water. Polymerisation starts slowly when the resin is mixed with the sand and speeds up continuously until the reaction is completed. The polymerisation process is disturbed by the movement of the sand particles due to the mix being handled, as these movements break parts of the polymerised mesh during its formation. This wastes resin, reduces the flow characteristics of the sand mixture and reduces the mechanical strength of the cured mould. It is therefore advisable to control the polymerisation (or hardening) process during the mixture preparation phase, in order to prevent premature resin chain formation. This means that the catalyst addition needs to take account of the mixture preparation time, so that the polymerisation takes place in harmony with the several phases of moulding.

2.1. THE


The rapid growth of the number of types of binders, coupled with the plant developments in the traditionally complex and divergent foundry sector, makes it impossible to give precise indications or off-the-shelf solutions, for the choice of the most suitable binders. This statement is also true in the context of this publication, given its instructional and informative nature. Nevertheless, the data and information given below make a useful contribution for the best choice of products and plant, having taken account of specific factors such as : moulding materials, the type of casting, the production rate required, the equipment, the skill of the labour force and environmental impact.

2.1.1. GENERAL


The choice of binders is largely determined by the required production rate and the dimensions of the mould and/or the core.



High production rates require rapid and constant hardening times, whilst diametrically opposite conditions are required by large and heavy moulds and cores. These require long initial hardening times and therefore a long working life (bench life) to enable the mould to be filled in an acceptable working time, that is before the polymerisation has appreciably progressed towards completion. The flow characteristics of the sand/resin mixture must allow the pattern to be copied faithfully and allow a satisfactory level of compaction. In the case of complicated pattern models, with so-called shadow zones (parts where the sand compaction is not easy), it is advisable to use vibrating compaction tables. Good compaction enables the percentage of binder to be reduced without reducing the mechanical strength of the mould. Resin viscosity plays an important role as it governs the capacity of the binder to cover the grains of sand. The inability to Rap the pattern, except by vibration, means that special removal equipment is needed. This enables the maximum use to be made of one of the No-Bake system advantages, the minimum deformation of the mould cavity impression. The decomposition rate of the resin during pouring determines the amount of gas produced in the mould cavity. The gas quantity cannot be easily controlled due to the organic nature of the binder. It is therefore necessary to minimise the binder quantity and the gas contact with the liquid metal (see fig. 2). This is particularly important when hydrogen and nitrogen are present as they are in the very reactive nascent state. In these conditions they are easily absorbed by the liquid metal, and may cause small blow holes in steel and cast iron castings. Sulphurous gases arising from the decomposition of the catalysts, may cause morphological changes of the graphite on the surface of ductile iron castings. However, not all cast alloys are affected to the same degree by gases. Environmental considerations require that the bonded sand has to be reclaimed (regenerated) after use and recycled. This process consists of removing the hardened resin film which covers the sand grains.If this is to be carried out by a attrition process, it is essential that the film should be easily removed. This requirement must be borne in mind when choosing the type of


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

15 SECONDS CONTACT 1. 1,5% alkyd resin/20% isocyanate 2. 1,5% polyurethane resin 3. 1,5% furan resin/30% toluene sulphonic acid 4. 1,5% phenol resin/30% toluene sulphonic acid 5. 1,5% alkaline phenol resin
1. alkyd resin

cc of gas PER gramme of sample

2.polyurethane resin 3. furan resin 4.phenol resin with ind. acid

alkaline phenol resin

TIME, in seconds

Fig.2 - Gas evolution at 1,010C by different resin types

resin to be used. The possible need to use a reinforcing framework, is a further factor to be added, when selecting the most suitable binder. A good resin does not normally require the mould to go through a drying stage. The safety and environmental protection problems arising from the several stages; from moulding, to manipulation, to pouring and knocking out, must be minimised. In any event, safety precautions and environmental pollution levels must conform to the legal limits and regulations. In the appendix of Part II, the technical schedules and their usage instructions are given, both for the resins described and the sand/ resin mixes; together with advice for their best use. The same schedules also give the safety precautions to be taken during the handling of the binders, together with other information about safety and environmental problems. Finally, there is also information and data about release agents and paints, to assist in selecting types which are compatible with every type of binder described.



2.2. THE


The most popular resins used for the No-Bake process can be classified into three groups: The first of these is composed of resins catalysed by acids,  such as furan resins (see fig. 2.1), phenol resins and phenolfuran resins (see fig. 2.2), and urea-phenol resins (see fig. 2.3). These can be used singly, or as combinations if specific characteristics are required to meet production needs. The second group is composed of isocyanates, which poly merise by addition with poly-alcohols to form polyurethanes (see fig. 2.4). The third group of resins, has only been in use for a short  time and consists of alkaline (basic) phenol resins (see fig. 2.5). This group completes the range of the resins most commonly used in the No-Bake process; and any type of sand can be used with them including olivine sand (given the basic nature of this sand it cannot be used with resins catalysed by acids).

2.2.1. THE


Furan, phenol and phenol-furan resins, are those most commonly used in the No-Bake process. These definitions are only generic and indicate the type of basic resin components. These are respectively furfuryl alcohol, phenol and mixtures of these. Normally other compounds are also used to complete the formulation and modify the resin, to obtain the required characteristics in the final product.

FURAN RESINS The adjective furan describes the basic component of the resin. This is furfuryl alcohol and its polymerisation reaction (condensation) is shown in fig. 2.1. It is soluble in water and has a low viscosity. It is therefore easily mixed with sand and gives optimum coverage of the sand grains.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE


+ CAT - H 2O















Fig.2.1 - Furan resin formation by the polymerisation of furfuryl alcohol. The furan nuclei are connected by methylene links to form linear chains.The condensation reaction is exothermic




























+ CAT - H2O




CH2OH + n OH


Fig.2.2 - Polymerisation by condensation reactions: A) phenol resin=polymerisation of phenylmethanol(formed by the condensation of phenol with formaldehyde). B) phenol-furan resin=polymerisation of phenylmethanol with furfuryl alcohol.











No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

CH 2


H2 O


Fig.2.3 - Urea-phenol resin formed by the polymerisation of mono methyl urea and phenylmethanol











+ CAT [C2H5]3N

Fig.2.4 - Polymerisation reaction by addition between a resol and an isocyanate.

R1 Phenol resin benzylether type




a) Indicative reaction

OK CH2 CH2 OH + H OK OH CH2 CH2 CH2 O OH CH2 + CH 3 OH + H

Methyl formate



No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE


Alkaline resol








Insoluble macro-molecule






Methanol Potassium formate

pH value 12 - 14 12 - 14 + M+OOCH- +ROH alkaline salt alcohol 7

Fig.2.5 - The hardening reaction of an alkaline resin with methyl formate (procedure using a gaseous ester) and the pH changes in the several phases.

b) Schematic phase reactions M+OPF- + ROOCH Alkaline resin Ester transition phase (HOPF) n polimer






To make the furfuryl alcohol suitable for use as a foundry binder it is reacted with phenol, or urea or formaldehyde, according to the formulation. The copolymers which are formed give resins with better characteristics, as follows : better heat resistance less gas formation when pouring takes place better stability of moulds properties over time longer polymerisation (setting) times Urea in particular, reduces excessive hardness and fragility and also assists in heat decomposition. However, the quantity of urea that can be used is limited by the nitrogen level which can be tolerated in the metal casting. The furan resins are classified into three groups, according to the percentage of nitrogen contributed by the urea and by their water contents : RESINTYPE Without nitrogen Low nitrogen Medium nitrogen N2 0% 0,1 - 2% >2% H2O 0,5% 5 - 15% >15%

The first type is normally used for casting steel and copper based alloys which will not tolerate nitrogen, as this gas gives rise to pinhole defects (see figs. 6.3 to 6.6 page 71-72). Resins with a low nitrogen content are generally used for casting spheroidal cast iron, however, always taking into account the tendency of these cast irons to absorb nitrogen. Resins with a medium to high nitrogen content are used for casting aluminium and for casting common cast iron, as these do not have special requirements. The furfuryl alcohol acts as a solvent for the urea and formaldehyde compounds, in addition to its main function as the monomer which binds the sand through its polymerisation. Furan resins have a very wide field of applications. This is because the proportions of the furfuryl alcohol and urea-formaldehyde components in the initial formulation, can be varied to achieve the best binding characteristics for the particular application.


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We list their main characteristics below :  he sand / furan resin mixture has excellent flow characteriT stics; There is a low content of chemical reaction water. This  means that the curing time is less severely affected than with other resins, both as regards the quantity and type of catalyst required and the quality and temperature of the sand. The tendency for the mould to skin harden, is also reduced. This skin hardening phenomenon is due to loss of water by evaporation. This happens more quickly at the surface than in the centre of the piece; The moulds bonded with furan resin maintain their mecha nical characteristics well even when hot. This enables the ratio of sand to casting to be improved with a consequent cost saving. This partly offsets the greater cost of this type of resin. The polymerised resin film on the sand grains is easily remo ved during mechanical regeneration. PHENOL RESINS AND pHENOL-fURAN RESINS The phenol resins used in the No-Bake process are produced by a poly-condensation reaction between phenol and formaldehyde under basic conditions. The formaldehyde is in a small excess; and this leads to the initial formation of phenylmethanol (phenoplast). The resol formed polymerises by further condensation, due to the addition of an acid catalyst in the foundry. This gives a polymer (resin) with excellent mechanical and heat resistance characteristics. These resins were initially used in the hot process; and their use was later extended to the No-Bake process in cost competition with the furan resins. This was the result of a series of modifications which improved their technical and environmental characteristics. Specifically, the viscosity was reduced to enable the sand grains to be coated more easily, the free phenol was reduced to around or below 5% and the free formaldehyde to below 0.5%. These resins give off an unpleasant smell. Compared with the furan resins, their polymerisation and hardening are affected by several factors, principally any temperature variation of either the sand or the pattern plates, or by exposure of



the mould to air. This is because the resin sets very quickly and the setting time is strongly affected by temperature changes. It is therefore difficult to control the setting time, or to keep it constant. Again, the surface of the mould sets more quickly than the internal parts. Good phenol resins do not contain any nitrogen (which cannot therefore increase when the sand is regenerated), and they are also relatively cheap. Phenol resins may contain furfuryl alcohol as a solvent in many formulations. This improves the mixing characteristics. When furfuryl alcohol is used, it also acts as a binder due to its monomeric nature, whilst if it is used in appropriate concentrations in the resin formulation, it forms compounds known as phenolfuran resins. These resins combine the characteristics of each component, and are therefore nitrogen-free, and withstand heat well. Condensation with urea and addition of silane improves cold strength and therefore the knock-out characteristics as well. When the absence of nitrogen must be matched with low cost, either phenol resins or phenol-furan resins with a low urea content are indicated. Phenol resins are slightly hygroscopic and withstand heat well. However, the expansion of the sand may not be contained and this may lead to surface cracks in the mould. These resins have high mechanical strength when cold and this reduces the friability of the mould. However, this may create problems when knocking out. The quantity of gas produced and the speed at which it is produced at pouring, on colling and at shakeout, are modest. The phenol resins have their maximum gas production slightly later than that of furan resins. The polymerisation reactions of phenol and phenol-furan resins are both shown in fig. 2.2 (page 21).

UREA-pHENOL RESINS AND UREA-fURAN RESINS Urea resins are formed by the reaction between urea and formaldehyde. This gives mono and di-methylurea (both anhydrous and hydrated), and these polymerise through reciprocal and complex reactions to give urea resin. Phenol and furan poly-condensed are normally part of the formulation in which they form urea-phenol (see fig. 2.3 page 22) and urea-


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

furan co-polymers. These resins have a relatively low heat resistance and also develop nitrogen-rich gases. Figures 6.3, 6.4, 6.5 and 6.6 (page 71-72), show casting defects which can be caused by nitrogen.

2.2.2. THE


The second group of resins is made by reacting poly-isocyanates with polybenzylphenylether (a resol), using pyridine or an amine as catalyst. The polymerisation reaction is an addition reaction (polyaddition); a resol of the benzylether type reacts with the isocyanate to form polyurethane, without any secondary products being formed (see fig. 2.4 page 23). The name polyurethane resin is derived from this compound. There are two types of formulations on the market : one with three separate components, one with two solutions.

THE tHREE SEpARAtE COMpONENtS tYpE The resin, the isocyanate and the catalyst, are supplied separately and are added to the mixer through three separate metering pumps, one for each component (see fig. 2.4/A page 29). This presentation is the one which is most widely used as it gives very flexible moulding cycles. It therefore enables the widest range of requirements to be satisfied. For example : - different types of patterns; - different types of alloys; - different production cycles from moulding to pouring; - climatic variations both seasonal and daily; - variable moulding programmes (automatic, semi-automatic, and manual); The amount of catalyst to be used is always small, and the metering pump for it must be a high precision type.

THE tWO SOLUtIONS tYpE The resin and the catalyst form a separate solution to that of the



From the tank Continuous mixer

From the tank


Gear pumps

Dosing pump


200 l. drum of catalyst

Fig.2.4/A - Plant layout for the urethane No-Bake system, showing the three separate components storage and components feeds.

isocyanate. The procedure with two solutions requires constant moulding conditions: for the production cycle, the type of casting and the environment. The reason for this uniformity, lies in the polymerisation time and this governs the production cycle. The quantity of catalyst added to the binder must also be standardised. The work time is therefore fixed by these when the binder is used. The two solutions system is recommended when the plant is not equipped with a high precision metering pump for catalyst addition, however, but this restricts the system flexibility. Normally, the two solutions method requires as many resin types as there are moulding cycles, or temperature variations. The supply programme must take account of the fact that whilst the resin appears to stop the action of the catalyst, over a longer period the polymerisation continues to completion, prior to use. The reaction of the two parts begins slowly and leads to the formation of polyurethanes, after they have been added to the sand. There are therefore a few minutes during which the mixture runs well. The initial slow reaction rate then accelerates quickly and the hardening occurs almost simultaneously at the surface and in the


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

centre of the piece. This means that the pattern stripping leaves a perfect mould; and that the work time / pattern stripping time ratio is very good. Total polymerisation, that is the attainment of the maximum mechanical strength, takes less than one hour. During the pour, the polyurethane mould releases lustrous carbon and this may lead to an increase of carbon in the surface layers of cast steels. This problem can be overcome by adding 2 to 3% of black iron oxide to the sand mixture, when the sand is being mixed. Isocyanate releases nitrogen at pouring and this may cause pinholes in cast-iron and steel castings. The characteristics of the sand / urethane resin mixture are : Production flexibility due to the excellent ratio of work time  to pattern stripping time; The mould is not affected by moisture, nor by water paint,  impurities, variation of temperature or the pH of the sand; It has a good resistance to heat; It is easily knocked out. Specific isocyanate solvents are compatible with polystyrene. Therefore polystyrene patterns can be used with the isocyanate process. The flow properties which the binder confers to the sand need to be improved by using a vibrating table. We recommend that 2 to 3% of black iron oxide or 1 to 2% of red iron oxide should be added to the mould mixture, to reduce the risk of gas defects in the casting when pouring steel. The binder should be considered to be toxic.

2.2.3. THE


The components used in the so-called alkaline resin process are an ester and an alkaline resol and they are basic. The resol is a resin which is formed at the first stage of the condensation process and it is a complex mixture of isomers and/or other compounds. The chemical reaction of these components is not catalysed. In contrast to catalysed reactions therefore, the amount of reaction



product and the speed of its formation are directly linked to the quantity and the type of the reagents used. The reaction products are a phenol resin, an alkaline salt and an alcohol. The phenol resin formed polymerises partially at normal temperatures and this action is completed by the heat of the pour. In fig. 2.5 (page 24), the development of this reaction is shown, together with the pH of the phases. The special characteristics of basic resins are : They are less affected by the acid or alkaline nature of the  sand than acid catalysed resins. They can therefore be used without encountering problems, even with olivine sand. The setting time varies with the quality and not the quantity  of the hardener, as the chemical reaction which gives hardening is not a catalysed reaction. It follows therefore that the dosage of the hardener need not be precise, within reasonable limits. Again the hardening reaction can be started with a wide range of hardeners and these enable the hardening process reaction to be controlled. In practice, the work time of the sand mixture can be fixed at value between a few minutes and an hour. The mould is not rigid as the total polymerisation only hap pens when the mould is strongly heated by the casting pour. The poured metal therefore finds the mould in a thermoplastic condition. This has the following advantages : The mixers can be cleaned more easily; Optimum knocking out as the mould still has a degree of  flexibility; There is compensation for the heat expansion of the sand  and consequently there are fewer of the defects called fins or veins caused by superficial cracks in the mould; There is improved resistance to erosion, thanks to the  instant rigidity of the surfaces when they come into contact with the liquid metal; The amount of gas formed at pouring and the speed of its  formation are lower than with traditional resins; and the gases do not contain either nitrogen or sulphur. These characteristics make this binder ideal for moulds used for casting steel and spheroidal cast-iron.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

We wish to stress that as the moulds only harden completely when metal pouring takes place, they are not very strong mechanically. The mechanical regeneration of the sand used requires a very effective regeneration plant as the alkaline residues stick firmly to the sand grains.

2.2.4 RESIN


As we have already said, resins are solutions of macromolecules, and in the solvent mixture there are molecules which continue to polymerise slowly at normal temperatures. When the resins are used, the poly-condensation reactions are stimulated by the catalyst used and speed up. It is therefore essential to comply with the suppliers warnings and storage advice to prevent the resins polymerising before they are used. The most obvious marker of polymerisation, is that the resin becomes more viscous. The drums must be sealed hermetically to prevent solvent loss to air. The following analyses enable a rapid check to be carried out to determine the state of the stored resin : Refractive index; Viscosity (to register any changes); Decrease of the bending resistance over 24 hours, of a  sand/resin mixture, when compared with a standard mixture; A mixing check to verify that the resin mixes well with the  sand. As ageing changes the concentration of free formaldehyde and water, it is advisable to determine their concentrations chemically. The changes registered when a resin ages are irreversible. Furan resins age more slowly than the other types.




A number of additives are used in the No-Bake system formulations. They are used to meet technical and cost requirements, by altering the characteristics of the basic components of the mix. The most important of these are listed below, with indications of their action and their use. SILANES The silanes used in foundry resins have a common formula of R.Si (OR)3. They are added to reduce the hygroscopic characteristics of the mould and to improve the resin wetting of the sand grains. The latter improves the mechanical strength of the finished mould.

WAtER Whilst there has to be water present as it is a product of polymerisation, it must be kept as far as possible, within the limits imposed by the process. Therefore any increases due to the addition of moisture with other essential materials, must be kept to the absolute minimum. Apart from the cost aspects, water reduces the hardening time of the mixture, can create blow hole defects in the castings and drastically reduces the mechanical strength of the moulds (see fig. 2.6). If follows that moulds tend to harden more rapidly at the surface than in the centre due to the loss of water through evaporation (see fig. 2.7). The application of water based paints must also be carried out as late as possible, in order to guarantee the greatest degree of polymerisation of the resin.
IRON OXIDE Iron oxides are mixed with the sand to reduce the occurrence of the following defects in castings : Pinholes due to gas absorption in the surface layers; Cracks due to the heat expansion of the sand;


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

Transverse strenght lbf/in2

Fig.2.6- The effect of water on the resistance to bending stress, of a sand mixture containing 1.3% of resin.

Mixture with self setting oil

Mixture D

Mixture C

Mixture B

Hardness GF

Time in minutes from packing the core

Hardness of exposed surfaces Hardness of surfaces against the corebox

Fig.2.7- The differences of hardening time in surfaces exposed to air and not exposed to air in products using different amounts of binder.



 arbon enrichment in the surface layers due to the formaC tion of lustrous carbon. The action of iron oxide is the subject of some debate. The widest held theory is that a compound which is highly resistant to heat is formed on the surface of the sand grains. It is also believed that Fayalite is formed due to a reaction with the iron oxide arising from the oxidisation of the casting metal. This oxide is always present in regenerated sands. The compound formed has a low melting point and fills the spaces between the sand grains, thus preventing penetration by the poured metal. The iron oxide used in the production of cores and moulds can be one of two types : Magnetite (Fe3O4), which is black. 2 to 3% is added with respect to the amount of sand. Haematite (Fe2O3), which is red. 1 to 2% is added with respect to the amount of sand. In choosing the most suitable type of iron oxide to use, there is a preference for using the black oxide, especially for the production of large steel castings.



The uniformity of the resins characteristics is clearly important for the maintenance of production quality and production rates. It is therefore necessary to determine both the tests to be carried out and their frequency. It is also necessary to agree the methods and the acceptable test results variations with the supplier, so that there is agreement on an acceptable quality level. This is indispensable given the variety of products, their different uses and the differences between the analytical methods employed. The checks carried out are both physical and chemical and some of them require special equipment and have complex procedures. Simple checks are given below, which enable sufficient information to be gathered to judge whether essential characteristics conform to requirements.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

VISCOSItY-DENSItY It is advisable to carry out the determination of the viscosity of very viscous resins (above 1100 m. Pas.) by using a roto-viscometer instead of Fords cup. Variations in excess of 10% above the specified viscosity value, and in excess of 3.5% above the specified density, constitute unacceptable quality. The density is read using an instrument with an appropriate scale.

REfRACtIvE INDEX The refractive index is one of the significant characteristics of resin quality. It is a very useful indicator for evaluating the degree of polymerisation, the impurities and the amount of water (see figs. 2.8 and 2.9). The simplicity of the instrument and of the analysis, means that an initial selection of products can be easily carried out. Variation in the refractive index of more than +/- 0.05 units, indicates the need to carry out further tests.

resin 1

Refractive index 20C D

2 resin



Time in minutes at 70C 3

Fig.2.8 - The change in the refractive index of resin, as a function of condensation, measured at constant temperature.



The refractive index measurements are carried out with an Abbe refractometer fitted with a constant temperature prism.

Refractive index (20C D)

% water in the resin

Fig.2.9- Changes in the refractive index of resin, as a function of the percentage of water.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE



Moulding with the No-Bake process is used for a wide variety of types and quantities of castings. Castings may be very small or very large, they may be one-off or in long series made on high rate automated equipment. The binders are therefore required to have constant hardening times which can be synchronised with the various phases of the moulding production cycle. The catalysts and the hardeners produce this conformity, and take into account the external variables such as temperature, environmental humidity, etc.

3.1 CATALYSTS The term catalysis is used to describe the influence of substances called catalysts on the activation energy value and consequently on the speed of chemical reactions. The action of the catalyst does not alter the free energy (heat) involved in the reaction in any way, even though they probably take a direct part in the reaction. At the end of the reaction the catalyst is unchanged(2). The term catalyst is often replaced (incorrectly !) by a synonym such as acid or hardener or accelerator. In practical terms the catalyst carries out an important function in speeding up the polymerisation of the binders, and in its effect on specified technical moulding times. The temperature of the sand, of the patterns and the environment (if high), all act synergically with the catalyst on the speed of the reaction, whilst the quantity of water present acts in opposition to the effect of the catalyst (see fig. 2.6 page 34). The action of both factors must therefore be taken into consideration when determining the type and quantity of catalyst to be used, to achieve a polymerisation rate compatible with the phases of the productive process; and especially with the moulding process. Remember that a too rapid polymerisation leads to premature hardening and the mould will be friable, especially at the external angles. In jargon this is called burnt. The catalyst needs to be added to the sand before the resin and it

(2) - The action of positive catalysts on particles, is comparable to that of lubricating oils: they reduce their resistance to motion.

No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

must be mixed very evenly throughout the mass. Never mix resin and catalyst without sand as the exothermic reaction is so violent, it is like an explosion. If the catalyst is diluted this makes the distribution easier, however this slows down the reaction rate. If it is necessary to dilute the catalyst, always add the catalyst to the water, never the contrary. The best solution is to buy the catalyst at the correct dilution. An excess of acid can accumulate in sands used many times without correct regeneration. In addition to its effect on the mould hardening process, it can cause superficial defects of the type shown in fig. 3.1, due to a reaction between the metal and the mould. As can be seen, the upper part of the casting has a normal appearance (it was made

using new sand

using highly contaminated

Fig.3.1- Superficial casting defects (known as the orange peel effect) due to reaction between the metal and the mould, arising from the use of sand which has not been correctly regenerated.



with new moulding sand), whilst the lower part is pitted (it was made with poor quality recycled sand). Figs. 3.2 and 3.3 show the variations in mechanical strength of a sand mixture as a function of time, when different percentages of

Compressive strenght lb/in2

Time in hrs
Fig.3.2- Changes in mechanical strength with different catalyst levels, as a function of time (PTSA=paratoluensulphonic acid).

(I) Compressive strenght lb/in2

30% catalyst at 25C

80% catalyst at 8C

Time in hrs
Fig.3.3- The mechanical strength of samples (all made from the same sand resin mixture., (1) with 30% catalyst at 25C - (2) with 80% catalyst at 8 C), as a function of time.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

catalyst are used, both at constant temperature and variable temperature. Each lot of catalyst must have its concentration checked, either by direct titration, or indirectly by measuring the density. The dosage must always be checked at the time of use. This is essential given the determining effect of the catalyst on the polymerisation process and on the uniformity of the production process rate. Organic sulphonic acids are the most commonly used catalysts with furan and phenol resins, either paratoluenesulphonic acid or benzenesulphonic acid. These are replacing the use of mineral acids such as phosphoric acid or sulphuric acid to an ever greater extent. Phosphoric acid at a concentration of 70 to 80% is still used with furan resins, however its use is dying out due to the difficulty of removing it both by heat (starting with the pour) and by the regeneration processes. Furthermore, it has longer reaction times than those which can be achieved using organic acids. Sulphuric acid is used as an activator in synergic combination with other acids. All sand types are compatible with acid catalysts, except olivine sand (due to its basic characteristics). The urethane resins are catalysed by pyridine derivatives (a basic organic compound) and these can be added to the resin at the binder production phase. This determines the speed of reaction and it cannot be altered during use. The viscosity of the phenol resin/catalyst mixture is affected by temperature; and it is recommended that when it is used there should be temperature control. It is also recommended that it should be placed in the mixer before adding the isocyanate. The technical schedules in Part II give the characteristics of the catalysts normally used with the resins described. The normal precaution in handling acids should be followed for catalysts.

Hardeners are chemical compounds which, unlike catalysts, take part in the chemical reaction as specific components. They are



used in the correct stoichiometric amounts to form a solid compound with the other components. Esters are the most commonly used hardeners.

3.2.1 ESTERS
The combination of alkaline phenol resin - ester appeared during the mid 80s and took a small share of the No-Bake market. Its market share was limited by the limited mechanical strength of the moulds made with it. This was due to the low concentration of the resin in its natural solvent (water). The typical arrangement of the atoms in an ester is shown by the following formula : R-C-0-R1 II 0 R and R1 are aliphatic radicals whose precise nature can be varied. Esters which are typically used are : acetates (di-acetates and triacetates of glycols and triacetin) and propylene carbonate. Generally speaking, esters are formed by the reaction of an alcohol or glycol with an organic acid, and water is produced as a byproduct.

THE USE Of EStERS IN tHE ALKALINE NO-BAKE SYStEM The quantity of ester used is 15 to 20% of the quantity of resin.The quantity of resin used is between 1,4 and 1,8% of the quantity of sand. The types of hardener which can be used, enable the mould to be stripped out from 12 to 15, at 20C.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE



The heat given out by the metal breaks down the resin and hardener molecules. The combustion products are those normally produced by the strong oxidation of organic binders : carbon-dioxide, carbon-mon-oxide, water vapour, saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons (both aliphatic and aromatic). It is not possible to make either qualitative or quantitative forecasts, it is necessary to make specific analyses. These compounds are volatile and leave the system, while the alkaline ions from the ester salts remain behind. These diminish the refractory properties of the silica sand and make its regeneration difficult.

THE REGENERAtION pROCESS Heat regeneration is not possible as the alkaline ions do not leave the system and are therefore not eliminated. The alkali stays attached to the fissures and roughness of the sand particles and reduces their refractory characteristics. Concentrations of these alkaline oxides must not exceed 0.12% as this would affect the work time of successive cycles. Alkaline sand can be regenerated mechanically, and wet regeneration is also possible. It needs to be remembered that the wet process produces contaminated water and this must be treated before discharge.



Sodium silicate with esters is an inorganic binder used in the No-Bake process, as an alternative to organic binders. This binder is compatible with all the casting processes. It is especially suitable for low carbon steel castings as these readily absorb carbon when organic binders are used (the casting surface absorbs the carbon released by the heat cracking of the binder, and a layer of several millimetres may be affected). Another reason why sodium silicate is an ideal binder for use with steel castings, is because the binder is thermoplastic and the pour heat induces the inward completion of the binder set, consequently there are reduced obstacles to cast contraction.

4.1 THE


The basic principles of the process are :



The sodium silicate solution has a strongly alkaline pH, and it has the following empirical formula : (x Na2O, y SiO2, z H2O). The reaction is based on the reduction of the pH to values in the range 5 to 7, following the displacement of the weak siliceous acid by a stronger acid. This acid, derived from the ester, salifies with the sodium ions. The neutralisation of the soda brings down the pH value, the silicate gels and its particles pass from the sol state to the gel state and aggregate as siliceous acid, silica gel or hydrated silica. The reaction phases are the following: 1) The reaction of the silicate ions.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

The reaction can be represented as follows : 2Na+ + SiO3-- + H2O SiO2 +2Na+ + 2 (OH-) The siliceous acid has a very low dissociation constant, so when its negative charge is neutralised it tends to precipitate as a colloid. That is to say it precipitates in an extremely dispersed state within the sand mass and finally coagulates. 2) The ester-soda ionic reaction. For the sodium silicate-ester reaction the ester has been chosen for its solubility in the silicate. The hydrolysis of the ester proceeds rapidly as shown below and liberates its salt and alcohol. Both of these exert a strong gelling action : R- COO - R1 +NaOH ester R COO Na+R1 OH salt alcohol

The dynamics of this reaction are as follows : Decrease of the pH value due to the removal of sodium ions  by salt formation Transformation of the silicate ions into poly-siliceous acid  which precipitates, due to its high instability Chemical drying due to the removal of water by the alcohol.  This reduces the amount of water available for silicate dilution and leads to a stronger agglomeration of the colloid Strong silica gel stability due to the dehydration by the alcohol


The silicate neutralisation is not instantaneous therefore the setting reaction is progressive and gives a long work time to the sand mixture (that is a long period in which it can be worked). The mould hardening reaction is affected by external factors such as the sand temperature, the environment temperature and the humidity. In the case of the manufacture of widely differing moulds it may be opportune to control the hardening process by blowing



with hot air, possibly enriched with CO2.

4.2 THE


Sodium silicate is an amorphous mineral substance consisting of silica, soda and water in varying amounts. Its composition is defined by its modulus or weight ratios of SiO2 / Na2O. For example, a silicate with the following composition : SiO2=30%; Na2O=10%; H2O=60% This is a silicate with the following characteristics : Modulus, or weight ratio : SiO2 / Na2O : 30/10 = 3 Dry extract = 40% Foundry practice shows that in the silicate-ester process, the silicates with a modulus higher than those used with the silicate-CO2 system give the best results. In choosing the correct modulus for the type of production to be carried out it must be remembered that as the modulus value increases, the setting rate increases, the initial mechanical strength of the mould increases, and therefore the difficulty of knocking out increases. The amount of silicate to be mixed with the sand is determined by a number of factors including : The modulus The fineness of the sand (in relation to the surface area of the  grains to be coated); The type and quantity of the additives The temperature and humidity The eventual presence of clay in the sand (if this is more than  1% it means that more dilute silicates with a lower modulus must be used).

4.3 THE


The silicate hardening can be achieved with two procedures which use different hardeners. Briefly the processes are : Variation of the silica-soda ratio by neutralisation of part of the  free soda using either an acid ion or radical. Substances which can be used for this are : carbon-di-oxide, silicon,


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

esters, zirconium fluosilicate and similar substances and glyoxal; Removal of the formulation water and therefore the dehydra tion of the silicate, using cement, blast furnace ash, plaster, calcined dolomite and also by the action of carbon-di-oxide. In the No-Bake moulding process the use of esters is preferred as these are the best compounds for the neutralisation of the free soda, they increase the silica-soda ratio (by the ester free radical), and remove water from the silicate. Several formulas are used, with a well established preference for using mixtures of acetates of poly-alcohols. For example we show the reaction of glycerol triacetate with soda: C3H5(OO CC H3)3+ 3NaOH 3 CH3 COONa+ C3H5(OH)3 Setting takes place in the cold and the setting time depends on the type of acetate used. Glycerol di-acetate gives rapid hardening whilst glycerol tri-acetate is relatively slow (see fig. 4.1). Using measured mixtures of the two reagents, a series of interme-

Rc, in daN/cm2

Type A

Type A
Group 1 Group 2 Group 3

Time in hrs
Fig.4.1- Changes in the mechanical strength of sand bonded with silicate as functions of time and the type of hardener used.



diate setting times can be established.

The method of binding the sand with silicate may have the following drawbacks : Maintenance of mould characteristics during storage Difficult mould shake-out for certain types of casting The need to improve the surface quality of castings with certain types of alloys The size of the problems inherent in this procedure mainly relate to the type of metal cast in the mould. At pouring, the sand grains become coated with a film of glass consisting of anhydrous sodium silicate and this effectively sinters the sand grains. This sintering is determined by the intensity of the heating to which the sand grains are subjected, the length of the heating time and the size of the sand grains. In contrast to many organic binders, silicate increases its cohesive properties after heating. Therefore, to make knocking out easier, various organic additives are used. These burn and leave discontinuities in the glassy mass. This device is particularly important to make the break-down and removal of closed cores easier. Additives can therefore be divided into knocking-out additives and additives with binding properties : Knocking out additives may be : coal, pitch, sugar, molasses,  glucose and sawdust Additives for increasing binding properties : specially treated  phenolic resins increase the storage strength and improve the flow properties of the sand mixtures Black iron oxide improves the moulds resistance to molten  metal penetration



4.5.1 MIX



No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

The silicate-ester process requires the use of dry sand which is not hot, or which is at least at a controlled temperature. The addition sequence is as follows : additives esters silicate : as the silicate is relatively viscous it is recommen ded that it should be dosed using a volumetric pump, and that it should be mixed effectively, whilst avoiding overheating the sand to prevent water loss. In hot weather a little water may be added to compensate for the evaporation which takes place during mixing. Alternatively a less concentrated silicate can be used.

4.5.2 MOULDINg
During hot weather, it may be advisable to add a little water (0.5 to 1.0%), to compensate for evaporation, or to use a less concentrated silicate solution. The hardened mould has very little elasticity, therefore the pattern must have a carefully designed draft angle and smooth surfaces. The relatively poor flow properties of the sand-silicate mass, means that there must be an adequate compacting action to ensure that the mixture fills all the space around the pattern. Painting moulds with water based paints weakens the strength of the painted surfaces. Alcohol based paints are more suitable for this purpose.. Moulds exposed to the air deteriorate, as their mechanical characteristics are weakened by water absorption (due to their hygroscopic nature).



The maintenance of regular production cycles requires that in addition to the silicate checks (physical and chemical), the sand quality must be checked. This is particularly important if regenerated sand



is being used. The checks to be carried out are : The sand temperature The alkalinity The quantity of fines in the sand

CHEMICAL CHECKS The determination of SiO2 and Na2O to calculate the modulus of the sodium silicate, can be quickly carried out by a simple titration. The method is acceptable for quality conformity checks. The determination of the amount of dry weight, is carried out by determining the difference of weight before and after ignition at 600C.

PHYSICAL CHECKS Sodium silicate is composed of three compounds. However, the determination of any two of the characteristics listed below will be enough to establish the conformity of the product : Viscosity; Density (degrees Baume); Solids content; The silicate modulus, that is the ratio SiO2 / Na2O; The silica content (SiO2); The sodium oxide (Na2O) content. The diagrams shown in figs. 4.2 and 4.3 show the relationships between density, degrees Baum, the sodium content, the SiO2/ Na2O ratio of the sodium silicate and the solids content. You are referred to Part II for the analytical methods (see schedules M6 and M7).

MECHANICAL CHECKS ON tESt pIECES Of bONDED SAND The technical tests carried out to determine the mechanical characteristics of the various mixtures, enable indirect evaluation of the silicate characteristics; together with direct evaluation of its mixture with sand. To carry out a correct evaluation, the mixture must be made without


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

pastes Non viscous liquids Viscous liquids

solid Viscosity in poises

R modulus
Fig.4.2- The viscosity of sodium silicate as a function of the R modulus, for different concentrations of dry material (MS%).

any heating and ensuring that no water is lost by evaporation during the various stages. This means that the sample of the mixture must be quickly placed in a sealed container, and that the test pieces must be prepared rapidly. An exposure to air of about two minutes may cause hardening to



begin, due to the evaporation of water and absorption of atmospheric CO2.

Density Degrees Baum

Dry material content as a % age

sc Vi os it

Modulus SiO2 or Ratio ------ Na2O

Fig.4.3- The relationship between density, the Baum degrees, viscosity, the dry material content, the soda level and the silica/soda ratio in the sodium silicate.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE



The sand is the mould skeleton which supports the metal and the binder gives it the necessary rigidity. In this section we shall look at the most important aspects of the use of the different sand types. You are referred to Part II for the specifications.

SILICA SAND (SI02) Silica sand is the most commonly used moulding sand, as with very few exceptions, it is compatible with all binders and all alloys. One of the exceptions is steel with 12% manganese (Mn), as this reacts with the mould. This alloy gives rise to an oxidation-reduction reaction between the SiO2 and the Mn, with the formation of a low melting point eutectic mixture (FeO MnO-SiO2) which allows casting metal to penetrate into the mould structure. This means that extensive surface defects are formed on the casting. Paints based on magnesite or zircon can be used to prevent this fault. Whenever the refractory characteristics of the sand are insufficient to prevent sintering defects on the surface of castings, the use of protective paints offers a wide degree of protection. Quartz undergoes change into tridymite at 870C, this means that there is a marked change in volume. If the resin binder is unable to contain this expansion there will be surface cracks in the mould and also mould deformation. These cause superficial defects in the castings, such as fins and metal penetration (see fig. 5.0). The addition of iron oxides to the sand : 2 to 3% of magnetite (Fe3O4; black colour) or 1 to 2% of haematite (Fe2O3; red colour), either reduces or eliminates these defects. The explanation of this action is still a matter for debate. The most convincing explanation suggests that the amount of oxide which forms a low melting point compound, acts as a binder on the sand grains and makes the system more rigid. In practice, the irreversibility of the above allotropic change in the quartz occurs in recycled sand because of several pouring cycles and of mineral oxyde build up.Therefore, moulds made with recycled sand have a lesser tendency to suffer from the defects caused by tridymite expansion. The degree of purity of sand used in mould manufacture is extre-


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

Fig.5.0- Crests due to sand expansion not contained by the binder content.

mely important for the No-Bake process . The acid catalyst can react with any alkaline compounds which may be present in sea sands, or with metallic particles or oxides. In this event even an excess of acid will not prevent the unwelcome consequences arising from their presence. This is due to the following reasons : The development of CO2 due to the decomposition of car bonates, may break the hardened resin film. The acid-oxide reaction is slower than the setting action of  the binder and the newly formed resin film will be damaged by it. The presence of clay reduces setting times and also lowers the mechanical strength of moulds.



A dry sand with rounded grains, a low percentage of fines and a clay content of less than 0.2% is acceptable for the No-Bake moulding process if proper allowance is made. The optimum sand characteristics, both new and regenerated, for use in mould and core production; are given in table A (page 117).

OLIvINE SAND This material is 93% magnesium orthosilicate (known as Forsterite). Its chemical composition is Mg2SiO4. Olivine sand is the main sand used for casting steel containing 12% manganese, as it does not support a metal-mould reaction. The castings do not therefore suffer from the surface defects which are so typical when silica sand moulds are used. This sand is basic (pH = 9 approximately). It cannot be used with acid catalysts, as these attack it, even in the diluted state. The acid consumed by the attack would be removed from its role as a catalyst and this would affect the hardening rate of the resin. This sand has optimum refractory characteristics and these make it ideal for steel casting. Its grain fragility limits the number of times it can be regenerated mechanically.



Chromite sand is a sand with very angular grains. It consists of a mixture of spinels : FeO Cr2O3, MgO Cr2 O3, MgO Al203 This sand has a very high thermal conductivity, a low thermal expansion and has excellent refractory properties. It is mainly used to solve metal penetration problems and as a chill, in those parts of the casting which might be most affected by microporosity. It is also used for making cores whenever the use of silica sand might lead to difficulties of removal. Whilst it is slightly basic (pH = 7 to 8), it is compatible with all types of binder as it has a marked chemical inertia.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

Chromite reacts with silica both in sand and in paints, and is itself changed if polluted with silica sand. This is due to the following reaction which takes place at temperatures above 600C FeO Cr2O3 decomposes into FeO and Cr2O3. Part of the FeO oxidises to Fe2O3. This in its turn forms a solid solution with the Cr2O3. This forms a sealant barrier against metal penetration and eliminates defects such as metal penetration and fins. If any SiO2 is present it can react with the above iron oxide to form Fe2SiO4 (fayalite) which is a low melting point compound. Large amounts of fayalite at high temperatures may cause sand encrusted castings. Therefore, moulds in chromite sand protected with quartz based paint and chromite sand contaminated with silica sand in excess of 2%, can give rise to castings with sintered surface adhesions. (See Vol. II, S-5). Fayalite formation also occurs when silica sand is contaminated with chromite sand. These reciprocal contamination problems must be remembered when designing sand regeneration plants.

ZIRCON SAND This is a sand composed of zirconium silicate (ZrSiO4). This is chemically and thermally inert and does not react with metals. It has a high thermal conductivity and a high thermal capacity due to its density. This increases the cooling speed of castings to about four times the rate when silica sand is used. The grains are rounded and there are no fines. This means that the moulds have high mechanical strength. However, zircon sand is extremely uniform in grain size, these being distributed across very few mesh sizes. This can cause metal penetration defects.




This section gives the characteristics common to all the sand mixtures, which affect the properties of moulds/cores and the quality of castings. You are referred to Part II for the control methods.

6.1 SAND


The morphology and composition of the sand strongly affect the quantity of binder required and its polymerisation process. This has a marked effect on the mechanical strength of the mixtures. The acidity or basicity of the sand is a very important factor, whether due to its original nature or induced by accumulated impurities. Olivine sand is a good example - it is not compatible with acid catalysed binders due to its basic nature. Angular sand grains of the same grain size as rounded grains, have a greater surface area and therefore require more binder, they have worse flow characteristics; and due to the breakage of the grain projections they produce more fines fractions.

GRANULOMEtRY AND tHE fINENESS INDEX The fineness index of a sand has significance when examined together with the granulometric spectrum (see fig. 6.1). In fact, if two sands with the same fineness index are compared, and one has a grain distribution across only two sieves, and the other has a grain distribution across four or five sieves, the former will require less binder. This is because it has a smaller surface area to be covered. It should be remembered that a variation of five units of fineness, can result in a fall of a few kg./cm.2 in the value of the mechanical strength of a sand/binder mixture. This variation can easily be attributed to an instrument error, by mistake.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE



Fig.6.1 - Sands with the same fineness index but with very different granulometric distribution.

THE SpECIfIC SURfACE AREA Of tHE GRAINS It is important to extrapolate the total surface area of the sand grains from the granulometric values. This enables the binder requirement to be assessed (see the technical schedule MO1 in Part II). The influence of the specific surface area of the grains, and therefore of the fineness index on the consumption of binder is quite clear. The calculation enables us to follow the deterioration of a sand through its regeneration cycles; and the following formula enables us to determine the effect of the variation of the fineness index of a sand, on the consumption of binder. AR = AN IFR IFN

Where : AR = the percentage of binder on the recovered sand AN = the percentage of binder on the new sand IFR = the fineness index AFS of the regenerated sand IFN = the fineness index AFS of the new sand



MOIStURE Moisture values above 0.1% are very detrimental to the mechanical properties of the binder mixture (see fig. 2.6-page 34) FINES fRACtIONS The sand impurities are usually concentrated in the fines. The fines may interfere with chemical reactions and certainly increase the binder requirement due to the increase of surface area, which needs to be covered with binder. If the quantity of binder is kept constant, the fines reduce the mechanical strength of the moulding mixture (see fig. 6.2). The fines increase in sand with poor thermo-mechanical characteristics (i.e. a fragile sand). This increase is made worse by pneumatic transport and by regeneration processes. A poorly regenerated sand which has a high fines content, is also probably contaminated with acid residues, oxides and oolites. These may cause casting defects, due to reactions between the poured metal and the mould, as shown in fig. 3.1 (page 40). The flow properties and the permeability, of a sand, both decrease as the fines fractions increase.

Resistance to bending

Resistance to bending lb/in2


Fines %
Fig.6.2 - Loss of resistance to bending of a mixture with 1.2% of resin, as the percentage of fines varies.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

LOSS ON IGNItION Sand recovery is necessary both for cost and environmental reasons. It is essential that recovered sand has a low percentage of fines. As already mentioned, these consume part of the binder and reduce the mechanical strength of the mould. Moreover, at pouring the volatile component of the fines develops gases which can be absorbed by the metal. The volatile component consists of unburned or cracked binder and catalyst from the previous cycle(s). One of the parameters for the evaluation of volatile residues is the loss on ignition (LOI). The type of metal being cast, the composition of the above residues and their nitrogen and hydrogen contents, set the limit for acceptable loss on ignition.

THE ACID DEMAND vALUE It is important to know the degree of alkalinity of the sand, in order to assess the extra acid to use, over and above that required by the resin. In other words it is necessary to know the acid demand value (ADV) to neutralise the sand. The pH value, or the acid demand value, enable us to evaluate the degree of sand contamination with basic materials. These neutralise part of the catalyst and slow down the hardening process (as the catalyst is normally a weak acid). The acid demand value of a new sand should be below 0.5 cc of N/10 HCl per 100 g. of sand. The acid demand value of a regenerated sand should be less than 5 cc of N/10 HCl per 100 g. to give a pH of 6 to 8. The acid demand value of a sand must be continually monitored, in order to be sure that the amount of catalyst used will lead to hardening in the required time.

THE bASE DEMAND vALUE The above considerations also apply, to evaluating the degree of sand contamination with acids. These acids speed up the hardening process.



CLAY A clay content above 0.1% is enough to alter the work time of a sand mixture. If the sand is washed with recycled water with a high clay content, the sand grains become coated with a clay film which is very difficult to remove. In this event it is necessary to install equipment for moving the sand mass so that this film can be broken by attrition.

THE DEGREE Of OOLItE CONtAMINAtION Sand which has been regenerated several times, has a degree of contamination such that oolites may form due to the heat at pouring and at heat regeneration. These oolites may be siliceous, sideriferous (iron carbonate), phosphatic (tri-calcium phosphate) or ferruginous (iron silicates and oxides). All these compounds have low melting points and react with certain metals. They therefore cause surface defects on castings due to a metal-mould reaction.

TEMpERAtURE The rate of chemical reactions, including catalysed reactions, is directly related to the temperature of the reagents. This means that the uniformity of the various hardening stages in mould forming, is absolutely dependent on temperature control and stability. This is true for the sand, the pattern plates, the reagents and the work environment. The degree of response to variation in reaction temperature, is a characteristic of each binder and each catalyst. To stress the importance of temperature control : one can make a general statement that a 10C. increase will halve the hardening time, and a 10C. fall will double it. Fig. 3.3 (page 41) shows the relationship of time to mechanical strength, in mixtures with different percentages of catalyst, added to mixtures at different temperatures. The diagram clearly shows that the effect of temperature on mechanical strength is greater than that of the amount of catalyst used.

6.2 THE



No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

The resin hardening reaction must never be disturbed and this is the reason why the sand mixture must be made and used as quickly as possible, before the polymerisation really takes hold. To assist processing, continuous mixers are recommended. The components are added to these in the sequence : sand, additives, hardener and finally resin. The addition process for the hardener should be automated, computerised if possible. Vibrating tables or shooting machines ensure that the sand is compacted as quickly as possible. The critical phases of the hardening process are : the work time (bench life) and the strip time.

6.2.1. THE WORK


The resin hardening reaction must be slowed up as much as possible in its early phase, to enable the mould to be completed. The parameters which govern the reticulation process must therefore allow a sufficient work time (bench life). The evaluation of the work time fixes the maximum time for using the resin mixture and it should not be used beyond this. Use after this time will result in very poor of flow properties and excessive reduction of the mechanical strength of the final product. The work time shortens as the polymerisation of the resin-catalyst mixture becomes faster at normal environmental temperatures. The work time of a sand resin mixture is evaluated in the laboratory and is controlled empirically in the moulding shop. There are two laboratory methods : by reactometry (see the technical schedule M4 in Part II).  by measuring the reduction of the resistance to bending. The test consists of making a series of test pieces from the mixture, at regular time intervals, under constant temperature conditions. After 24 hours the test pieces resistance to bending is checked and the reduction trend is noted. The time between the preparation of the mixture and the time when the test piece is prepared, which corresponds to a



pre-selected value of resistance reduction (normally around 30% reduction compared with the maximum value obtainable), is the work time of the mixture being examined, under those conditions. Refer to technical schedule R for the data on work times of sandbinder mixtures, with the most commonly used resins. The evaluation of the work time can be carried out empirically by watching the changes in a lump of mixture exposed to the air under dry ventilated conditions. The time taken for the surface of the lump to form a weak crust, which is slightly resistant to the touch, but is clearly evident, is the work time.

6.2.2. THE STRIp


The second characteristic of a good sand resin mixture, is that it should harden quickly to enable the mould to be stripped. This length of time is called the strip time. Once the mould box has been filled, the mixture should set as quickly as possible to a consistency which enables the mould to be stripped without causing any dimensional changes or excessive deformation of the piece. Clearly there is a conflict between the requirements of work time (bench life) and strip time. The ratio between these must be as high as possible, as the moulding phase normally requires more time than the preparation and stripping. This ratio depends on the resin type, on the catalyst type and quantity, on the sand quality and temperature, and is a key factor for the production rate. In practice an evaluation of the strip time can be made by assessing the resistance to penetration by a wire probe. The handling time of the mixture is also affected by its flow characteristics, and by the mechanical equipment (vibrating tables or shooting machines). The binder should therefore have properties which permit the sand mix to form the precise shape of the model and to fill the most inaccessible corners of the mould quickly. A mould or core which


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

has been well compacted has a better chance of lasting unchanged, even during a long storage period.

6. 3 MOULD


It is advisable to store moulds before use, to ensure that the polymerisation process is complete and that the excess solvent has evaporated. This precaution also reduces the amount of gas produced during pouring. In automated moulding cycles, it is therefore necessary to ensure that there is a sufficient time lapse between moulding and pouring. It is also necessary to take into consideration a possible degeneration of the mould or core characteristics during ageing. When the air has a high relative humidity and its temperature is low, the resin reticulation deteriorates. The degeneration phenomenon is more marked when there is a low percentage of binder in the mix. The damage caused by moisture absorption is irreversible. For more details see point 3.2 in the second volume. A number indicating the hygroscopicity of a binder, is given by the time it takes to halve the mechanical strength of the mould. The test consists of placing samples in a greensand mould and testing the deterioration of their mechanical strengths over time, or alternatively, by holding the test pieces under saturated humidity conditions, in the laboratory.



The quality of moulds and castings and the uniformity of the production rate, are assured by strict control of the sand mixture characteristics. An equally important aspect, is that these checks also confirm the efficiency of the plant. Any mixture anomalies, can be an indication that urgent maintenance is required, to restore normal plant working conditions.



You are referred to Part II for the routine control methods mentioned above, both for laboratory and factory use. Systematic quality control must also be carried out by suppliers; and will be reflected in the quality of the castings (for the defects which can occur in the No-Bake process). Suppliers must therefore be qualified, and each supply lot must be certified, especially for those tests which the foundry cannot carry out in its own laboratories. It is essential to be aware of any quality problems before materials supplied are used, rather than later, when rejected moulds or castings result from using substandard materials. The above checks become significant when they are carried out immediately and systematically and when the data obtained can be used to provide the greatest amount of useful information. The method used to achieve this aim is known as statistical quality control. It enables any factor affecting the process to be identified quickly, and also enables the effectiveness of the counter measures, to be assessed. In a process like casting, in which there is still a certain knowhow due to empiricism and personal experience; it is extremely important to be able to distinguish chance deviations from the standard, from those due to technical factors which are out of control. Money and time spent in continuous quality control, enables problems to be foreseen and avoided. It also gives great cost and psychological returns, due to the reduction of the founders daily problems and uncertainties.



When selecting a binder, it is important to take into account the effects it may have on the environment, any handling effects on staff; and the costs involved to solve these problems. It is therefore essential to know the toxicological characteristics of the products which are to be used. Furthermore, do not forget any problems which might arise in connection with the disposal of used No-Bake products and non-


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

recyclable moulds, etc. The production rate and the number of air changes in the workplace, may increase or decrease the potential risks to personnel. It is therefore essential to make surveys and systematic measurements at the various working positions; and to consider these as an integral part of the general production checks carried out on binders and mixes. The admissible exposure time for operators, and therefore their working time, is one of the key factors in defining the danger to their health. The type of combination of different toxic materials, determines the concentration limit which is acceptable for each material. The following formula establishes the threshold limit for materials : i=n Ci Ci = the value in ppm of a material (compound) = CI 1 where Gi Gi = the corresponding maximum concentration in i =1 ppm permitted for the material on its own CI = concentration index The following table gives the maximum legal concentrations for the most commonly used components of the No-Bake process. The differences between countries and the rate of change in their legislations, means that the table data is indicative, and specific checks should be made to determine the current state of any legislation. TYPE formaldehyde furfuryl alcohol phenol benzene

G1 = 0,5ppm G1 = 50ppm G1 = 5ppm G1 = 5ppm

= 0,6 mg/m3 = 200 mg/m3 = 19 mg/m3 = 16 mg/m3

To make the calculation clear, an example is given below: take the case of formaldehyde fumes on their own: the concentration determined is: C1=0,4 ppm the ratio between the concentration determined and the  maximum permitted concentration is:



CI = C1/G1=0,4ppm/0,5ppm=0,8 As the value of the concentration index (0.8) is less than 1, the environmental conditions are acceptable from a Health and Safety viewpoint. Take the case of formaldehyde plus phenol fumes: the concentration of the formaldehyde and its index are as given above, therefore we have: C1/G1=0,8 the phenol concentration is determined as 2 ppm the concentration ratio = C2/G2=2 ppm/ 5 ppm=0,4 tne concentration index (CI) = the sum of the values of the respective concentration ratios.Therefore we have: CI = 0,8 + 0,4 = 1,2 As this value is greater than 1, the environmental conditions are unacceptable. The use of acids and harmful substances require the application of well known industrial safety precautions; however, as these problems are new ones for foundries, particular attention should be given to them to avoid accidents. Over and above the application of the safety regulations, it must also be remebered that there are persons who are particularly allergic to some of the products used in the No-Bake process. As foundry working conditions have greatly improved, and as the No-Bake process has made a significant contribution to this improvement; it would be a pity to cancel these benefits by not taking simple precautions.

6.6 THE


The heat decomposition of the binder must occur under equilibrium conditions, in the sense that there must be a reducing atmosphere in the mould during pouring to prevent the oxidation of the metal. The oxides would attack the quartz grains and reduce their refractivity and increase the tendency for the metal to penetrate between the sand grains. It is also important that the amount and the pressure of the gas produced, does not create local gas saturation in the metal. This


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

would lead to bubble formation and these might be trapped in the casting. The higher the gas pressure, the smaller the trapped gas bubbles. The type of gas produced is also important. It has been known for some time that both hydrogen and nitrogen are responsible for the blowholes known as pinholes in cast-iron and steel castings. These gases are formed in the atomic state and only form molecules later. The atomic state is also called the nascent state and is the condition of maximum reactivity. The urea contained in some resins, probably decomposes into ammonia first and this then dissociates into hydrogen and nitrogen. It certainly plays a role in the formation of the defects shown in figs. 6.3 to 6.6. Lustrous carbon, formed by the cracking of polyurethanes, can change the carbon content in the surface layers of steel castings. Phosphor and sulphur from catalysts, may cause the formation of a eutectic phosphorous compound and the degeneration of graphite nodules respectively, in the surface layers of spheroidal castiron. The addition of between 0.05 and 0.1% of titanium inhibits the formation of pinholes; and the addition of between 1 and 3% of black iron oxide prevents the surface carburation of steel castings by lustrous carbon. It also reduces sand expansion and the related surface finning or veining defects (see fig. 5.0 page 56). Recycled sand which is not regenerated, or which is regenerated without effective fines removal, may contain an excessive quantity of residual acids and oxides. These give rise to a mould-metal reaction and surface defects known as the orange peel effect (see fig. 3.1 page 40). As production rates have increased these defects have increased too, due to the use of larger amounts of catalyst to reduce hardening times. This has therefore required the improvement of attrition cleaning and the improvement of suction equipment to remove fines, in the sand regeneration plants. On the other hand, the replacement of mineral catalysts with organic catalysts which are destroyed at much lower temperatures, has contributed to the solution of the acid residue problem. Paints can be used to form an effective barrier between the resin and the metal. To recapitulate briefly, silica sand is not recommended for casting manganese steel as the silica (SiO2) reacts with the manganese and is reduced to silicon which passes into the bath. The manga-



Fig.6.3 - Defects called pinholes in a cast iron casting, due to small quantities of hydrogen and nitrogen acting synergically with aluminium contamination.The defect was discovered during machining operations.

Fig.6.4 - A steel casting with pinholes below the surface, discovered at the machining stage.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

Fig.6.5 - A cast steel pump body with pinhole defects below the surface, discovered at the machining stage.

Fig.6.6 - Cracks due to a high nitrogen level (pump body).



nese oxide produced by this reaction attacks the surface of the casting and this becomes badly pitted. Zircon based paints are a possible remedy, whilst the use of olivine sand drastically reduces the problem.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE



Release or separation agents, reduce the energy necessary for separating the pattern model from the mould surface. This means that there is less stress/breakage of the mould surface and means that the mould is a better reproduction of the pattern model in all its detail. The release agent separates the pattern from the sand and prevents the interaction of the pattern material and the binder by reducing the interface forces; and by neutralising the effect of the binders surface tension. In fact for all binders, the adhesion phenomenon depends upon their capability to wet the pattern material. When the release agent comes between the mould and the pattern, the materials do not inter-react and release is easier. However, liquid release agents must not wet the pattern either, and the contact angles must be greater than 90. The choice of the type of release agent used, must take account of the degree of plasticity given to the mould by the binder and also its pH. This is necessary to avoid unwanted reactions at the pattern -mould interface. Therefore a basic release agent should not be used if the binder has an acid catalyst, and vice versa. The pattern material itself may also require attention if it is made of plastic. At regular intervals this needs to be cleaned to remove release agent residues, which may have accumulated in layers. Remember that release agents should only be used in the smallest amounts consistent with effective separation. In cleaning the pattern care must be taken to avoid it becoming scratched or marked, as this increases the adherence of the binder/sand mixture. The static electric charges of plastic attract the binder to the pattern; it is necessary to verify the reciprocal compatibility of binder, release agent and plastic used for the pattern.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE



Paints are used to reduce the roughness of the mould surface, to prevent mould-metal reactions and if necessary, to give protection to the sand grains against heat. Paints can be schematically divided into water-based and alcoholbased paints, however both types must have the following characteristics : the refractory powder in the paint must have a high melting  point, so that it forms a protective heat barrier and ensures separation of the mould from the metal; it must adhere well. Therefore it must have a thermal expan sion which is compatible with that of the sand; it must cover well and therefore it needs to have a low sur face tension it must have a high resistance to metal penetration; it needs to have excellent erosion resistance; it must have a low content of materials which are volatile at  casting temperature. It must have a granulometry which ensures that the refractive material stays in suspension for a reasonable period of time; it needs to have excellent thixotropic characteristics, so that  after settling out it can quickly be re-suspended by mixing; it must not be liable to bacteriological degradation; it must be environmentally friendly; it must be compatible with the metal to be cast. Safety and environmental considerations, mean that water based paints are those normally used.



The paint problem arises from two conflicting requirements: environmental requirements mean that water based paints are increasingly used, yet the growing number of high productivity No-Bake


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

plants require that the paint used should not need a long drying time. The paint must therefore dry quickly. The most important characteristics of paints are given below, and an assessment of these will enable the best choice to be made for specific uses. COMpONENtS The refractory material Zircon flour, aluminium silicate, magnesite, graphite and silica flour, are the refractory powders most commonly used in paint production. The grain size and the specific weight of the refractory powder are important. In addition to the refractory properties, lack of reactivity with the metal to be cast is essential to avoid unwanted paint-metal interaction. In this context, remember that carbonaceous materials can carburize the surface layers of steel castings; and silica cannot be used with manganese steel castings. Graphite, in addition to its refractory properties, can be mixed with other refractories (e.g. silica) to improve the separation of cast iron from the mould. Water The choice of the suspending liquid for the refractory powder, is governed by environmental factors, by cost, by the production rate, by the type of plant used and by the type of mould binder used. In contrast to quick drying organic vehicles, water needs time to dry well. The water paints which are best from this viewpoint, are those with a very low water content. These are called, somewhat euphemistically, self-drying. These paints fluidise easily despite having a relatively high density. They form a thin protective layer and therefore dry rapidly. The composition of the water, its hardness and its pH, must be taken into consideration: these could interfere with the action of additives used to optimise the suspension characteristics, the covering power of the refractory component, the drip speed and adherence to the mould surface.



Binders The binders can be organic or inorganic, provided they guarantee that the refractory particles adhere well to the mould surface. Amongst the inorganic binders, bentonite and kaolin are those most widely used, especially for high temperatures. The bentonites have an excellent fixing power, due to their exceptional swelling capability. This increases their surface area and therefore enables them to cover a large quantity of refractory grains. This swelling capability, which can be up to ten times the initial volume, means that they also have high water retention and therefore long drying times. It follows from this that organic binders of the polymer type, supplemented with dextrins, polysaccharides and silicates, are preferable for water paints, as they do not retain water. Generally speaking, an excessive quantity of additives prevents easy paint application. Suspension agents The suspension agents give uniformity of solids suspension and aid retention of particles in suspension. They normally form a gel which makes a network to which the material particles adhere. In water paints, the most commonly used suspension agent is bentonite, as this has good refractory properties and is capable of forming a voluminous gel. This is capable of retaining a large amount of refractory material in fine suspension. Celluloses and alginates are also used.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENtS Thixotropy A good water paint, when undisturbed, seems to be a semi-fluid gel capable of maintaining a large quantity of covering material in suspension, in a uniform manner, for a long period. On mixing, either by the action of the compressed air of the paint sprayer, or by brush action, it must be extremely fluid. Both mixing methods transmit kinetic energy to the liquid particles. This energy will be lower, the greater the thixotropy of the paint. To summarise: a thixotropic paint has a low water content; but has excellent fluidity at


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

application. Surface tension The molecules of a drop of liquid exercise a reciprocal attraction and tend to form a sphere, as this form requires the least energy. This attractive force is called surface tension. An idea of the magnitude of this aggregating force can be gained by observing the movement of insects or the behaviour of a razor blade on a water surface. Their weights are insufficient to separate the water molecules and they stay afloat. This aggregating force can be reduced by the addition of a liquid consisting of compounds called surfactants. This reduction is appreciable, as can be seen by looking at the meniscus which the liquid forms in contact with the surface containing or supporting it. The practical consequence of this phenomenon, is that a foundry paint containing surfactants tends to spread easily and to wet the surface of the mould well. This gives the following benefits : paint saving due to the reduction of the thickness of the  paint film excellent draining characteristics, a characteristic required  in plants with a painting station; more precise casting as there is less paint in the corners;  and a thinner coating everywhere; faster drying times. Non-ionic (i.e. neutral) surfactants are unaffected by the degree of hardness of the water. Density Paint density, that is its weight per unit volume, is usually measured with a gravimeter, and the values obtained are expressed in degrees Baum. The measurement of the density enables the following assessments to be made within the limits imposed by the type of paint : a preliminary judgement about its quality conformity, by  comparing the density with the standard sample; control of a dilution operation, to the value required by the  specific application; assessment of the sedimentation rate, by carrying out mea surements at time intervals and also at different sediment



heights in a tall container. However, density measurements do not detect small changes in the composition of the paint. These may be important although they do not noticeably affect particular characteristics of the product. For example the Baum measurement is not suitable for use with very dense water paints which are highly thixotropic. The density value does not give any indication of the paint workability at application. Viscosity Viscosity is the resistance of a fluid to flow. Viscometry consists of measuring the time it takes to empty a given amount of liquid through an orifice of given dimensions at a given temperature. A method which is better for dense thixotropic liquids, measures the resistance of the liquid to the rotation of a disc or cylinder. Even more sophisticated methods enable the viscosity gradient to be measured. The resulting curves give the best indication of any quality changes.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE




The No-Bake system has made great improvements in mould construction. The many advantages of this system and its problems, can be summarised as follows :

DIMENSIONAL pRECISION The rigidity of the mould and the uniformity of compacting enable the design dimensions of castings to be produced more precisely. However, this rigidity requires provision to be made when the pattern models are produced, especially in setting the draft angles, as these must take into account the relatively inflexible state of the mould when the pattern is being removed. It is not practical to rap the pattern and this makes it advisable to make the widest possible use of vibrating devices to make pattern separation easier. Release agents have an important role in draft angles reduction. Thanks to these measures, castings can be produced with high dimensional precision, and patterns can be kept in good condition. The No-Bake system has enabled the regulations on dimensional tolerances and casting margins, to be revised, and a new more precise class to be added (see schedule MO in Part II). The system requires patterns to be made more carefully, to avoid increased sticking in the mould. An eventual increase in the draft angle, does not significantly increase the total costs of the mechanical work, as the casting tolerances can be tightened to reduce machining allowances. In fact, the No-Bake process has eliminated the typical surface defects of green or dry sand moulding.

FLASKS The traditional moulding materials require a high compaction pressure to ensure that they form a close fit to the pattern. This means


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

that it is necessary to use rigid and barred flasks. This creates problems at mould removal and also maintenance problems. The No-Bake system has reduced these problems to the extent that in most cases moulding now uses flaskless moulds, which are only slightly larger than the patterns themselves. MOULDING The high pattern covering capability of the sand-resin mixture must not lead one to underestimate the requirement for uniform compacting. The diagram shown in fig. 9.1 shows the variation of mould density as the compacting pressure is changed. It is equally important to stay within the work-time when handling the sand resin mixture; and this should allow more time than is strictly necessary for the work to be accomplished.

Core box smooth and clean

Density g/cm2

Core box badly maintained

Fig.9.1 - The increase in sand density as a function of the tamping pressure.

This is to ensure that the sand has the required mechanical strength due to an effective polymerisation process; and that this is not decreased due to the initial polymerisation phases being disrupted by sand movement. These precautions also reduce the defects due to abrasion and sand metalisation (see fig. 9.2).



THE SURfACE AppEARANCE Of CAStINGS When good quality moulding materials are used and when alloys

Fig.9.2 - An example of the metalisation of a core.

are cast which do not need very high pouring temperatures, it is possible to do away with mould painting. This requires that mould compaction is carried out to a high and uniform standard, making maximum use of the flow characteristics of the sand-resin mixture. The elimination of mould surface painting also makes a contribution to the dimensional precision of the casting.

CORE ASSEMbLY A rigid mould gives a greater guarantee of a successful core assembly operation and also enables the core prints to be reduced by up to 50%, compared with the traditional moulding systems.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

RESIDUAL StRESSES Mould rigidity may interfere with the linear contraction of the casting and induce stresses, distortions and even breakages, in alloys with low hot flow characteristics. In contrast, in castings of alloys with good hot flow characteristics, the linear contraction may be up to 0.3% less than normal. The problem must be allowed for at the casting or pattern design stage. It is advisable, for example, to make those parts which could be retention points during casting shrinkage, as core elements. The following factors are some of those which can contribute to the formation of residual stresses in castings : - excess resin - high resin heat resistance - flash - runner bars which are too long - opposing risers

COStS No-Bake moulding gives cost savings, for the following reasons : less skilled labour can be used; the moulds do not need drying; flask elimination; short mould forming times even for large casings, as the  sand does not need to be rammed, only vibrated; it uses smaller volumes of sand as it is possible to contour  the flask to the pattern profile and to reduce the intermediate space. Large spaces can be filled with lumps from the break down of old moulds; the mixing mill can be simpler and can be continuous; the sand transport and conditioning system, and the fines  removal system can be simpler and more compact, as the system does not have any water or water vapour; plant cleaning is easier, as there are no deep trenches, ele vators, long conveyor belts, extractors, etc.; there are fewer moving parts, therefore a reduced possibility  of unplanned plant stoppages;



there is less sand in the production cycle; the quantity and volume of additives are smaller, and their  handling creates fewer problems; there is less energy consumption; the investment is a smaller burden and can be planned, as  the plant can be built in phases.

CAStING QUALItY The casting system using flaskless moulds, without the restriction of the flask dimensions, enables very flexible plants to be created. These can handle patterns which are different in size and number. This means that productivity is improved, there is a better ratio of gating/risers to castings and fewer restrictions in the arrangement of pouring systems and feed systems. However, the most interesting feature of the No-Bake system is the improved production quality given by the improved rigidity of the moulds and the absence of any water. The advantages resulting from these can be summarised as follows : the rigidity of the mould means that there are fewer dimen sions which diverge from the design drawings, there is less shrinkage and consequent saving in setting up feed heads for the casting (see point 9.2); the absence of water eliminates the typical defects of green  sand moulding such as rat tails, scabs, veining, hard spots, blowholes, etc. This means that the casting machining allowance can be reduced. This and the reduction of the dimensional variations, means that there is a reduction of machining costs; flasks require constantly ongoing maintenance to prevent  misaligned castings. In the flaskless No-Bake system the problem is reduced to moulding frame maintenance; the quality of the mould is less affected by the skill of the  moulder. Any modification of the sand mixture characteristics can be carried out immediately, with direct benefits to the quality of the castings, as the amounts of sand in the process cycle are smaller.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE




Shrinkage is the volume change which occurs when cast metal solidifies. These volume variations are due to metallurgical phenomena, but can also be caused by the deformation of the internal walls of the mould. The rigidity of the No-Bake mould excludes the latter and enables the total exploitation of graphitic expansion. This enables the feed heads setting-up to be reduced; and for high graphite cast iron and certain other types of casting, to be eliminated altogether. The phenomena of solidification and graphitic expansion, in castiron castings; especially in spheroidal graphite cast-iron, is worth further explanation. This will clearly show the benefits gained from the application of No-Bake, in the elimination of casting defects due to shrinkage.



The cooling of steel, white cast-iron and non-ferrous metals, causes an initial contraction called a volumetric contraction. This starts at the pouring temperature and ends at the temperature when solidification is complete. It is followed by a contraction called a linear contraction, which starts at the completion of setting and ends at normal ambient temperature (see fig. 9.3). The process of volumetric contraction of steel and white cast-iron, differs from that of grey iron and ductile cast-iron. To understand this difference in behaviour it is necessary to make an introductory statement : Steel and cast-iron in the liquid state, contain carbon dissolved in the iron. In other words they are liquid or solid solutions of carbon in iron. As the temperature falls to the solidification temperature, the capacity of the iron to hold the carbon in solution decreases. The concentration of carbon which saturates the iron (beyond which it is thrown out of solution), distinguishes the steels from



Pouring temperature Specific volume (cm3/g) Solidification contraction Temperature interval at solidification Rate of contraction of the solid Temperature (C, F) Primary liquid contraction

Fig.9.3 - Diagram of the volume change on cooling, for steel, white cast iron, and non-ferrous castings.

cast irons. In the spheroidal cast irons the separated carbon precipitates in the form of nodules, whilst in the grey cast irons, the carbon disperses in the form of flakes of graphite, as shown in fig. 9.4. These flakes are at first immersed in liquid iron and are finally set in solid iron. They are arranged in a way that calls to mind flower petals immersed in water or ice. THE vOLUMEtRIC CHANGE IN CASt-IRONS It can be easily understood how the separation of graphite can compensate wholly or partly for the volumetric contraction of the iron, altering its effect, according to the amount and the form of the graphite itself. The volumetric changes of grey cast-irons or the spheroidal graphite cast-irons, as a function of temperature, when graphed; give similar or intermediate curves to those shown schematically in fig. 9.5; according to the amounts and the form of the graphite they contain. The curves show the volumetric changes on cooling, from the pouring temperature, of two cast-irons. The sequence of the volumetric changes is the following : starting from the pouring temperature, there is a contraction  which is shown for the two cast-irons by a1 and a2;


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

Section as seen under the microscope



Fig.9.4 - The volumetric arrangement of the graphite flakes (a) and in a graphite nodule cross section (b).



Temperature C
Fig.9.5 - General diagram of the volume changes in spheroidal graphite cast-iron, and grey castiron. a) liquid contraction - b) expansion - c) secondary contraction

 t the eutectic temperature, due to the separation of the a graphite, the liquid expands until the solidification of the eutectic mixture is almost complete; the degree of expansion of the two cast-irons is shown as b1 and b2; the remaining part of the eutectic mixture is depleted in car bon and it solidifies like steel not like cast-iron giving a further secondary contraction shown by c1 and c2. In castirons with a high graphite content the graphitic expansion creates a pressure against the mould. In spheroidal castirons the pressure against the mould walls, is greater than that created by the grey cast-irons. There are two reasons for this : - there is a greater amount of eutectic graphite; - there is a different solidification process, as explained below.

NO-BAKE AND DUCtILE IRON CAStING The solidification of the grey cast-irons starts against the mould


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

Pressure (Kg/cm2)

Carbon equivalent
Fig.9.6 - The solidification pressure as a function of the carbon equivalent and the modulus of cooling (the castings ratio of volume to surface).

walls and extends gradually towards the thermal centre. The first solid layers therefore help the mould walls to resist the pressure arising from the graphitic expansion (see fig. 9.6). In the speroidal graphite cast irons however, the solidification takes place more slowly with more phase and temperature uniformity throughout the pour. This is due to the fact that spheroidal graphite cast-iron has a lower heat conductivity and also a narrower solidification interval. Under these conditions the mould walls must sustain all the expansion pressure on their own. The No-Bake moulds are able to contain this pressure without noticeable deformation, so the mould volume does not increase. The liquid therefore exits into the feedheads and penetrates into the interdendritic pores. The effect is such that it is possible to produce castings in spheroidal graphite



cast-iron without feeding, or with only small feedheads to allow feeding up to take place at the first contraction phase. The essential conditions are that the mould must be rigid, the equivalent carbon must be almost at eutectic concentration and the graphite contribution must be as great as possible. This is to ensure that the amount of graphite is sufficient to compensate for the volumetric contraction of the iron. The metallostatic pressure tends to force the mould walls apart and therefore to vary the entity of the volumetric contraction. In the case of the cast-irons described above, there could also be an additional pressure due to the separation of the graphite. From the above, the importance of a rigid mould is clear. This rigidity is provided by the No-Bake system, as is the solution to the problem of feeding the castings. The control of graphitic expansion can be achieved through thermal analysis.

9.2 THE




The metallurgical characteristics of a cast-iron casting depend on its content of carbon and silicon. These control the formation of the graphites and the degree of undercooling below the temperature of complete solidification, that is, the tendency of the iron to throw down the carbon as cementite instead of graphite at this temperature. All the above elements are necessary to assess the amounts and the arrangement of the graphites, both for their effect on the metallurgical characteristics of the cast-iron under examination and for their effect on its volumetric contraction. The analyses of the parameters must be carried out on the metal in the ladle, before the casting is poured. Given the immediacy of thermal analysis, it is suitable for this purpose. The apparatus consists of two small crucibles each fitted with a thermocouple (see fig. 9.7). The thermocouples are connected to a pyrometer and to a thermal data processor, which calculates the carbon and silicon percentages and the extent of undercooling,


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

expressed as degrees. The first determination is carried out with some tellurium in the crucible to make the thermal data easier to understand. The basic principal of thermal analyses, is as follows : The cooling of an alloy is marked by periods in which the cooling speeds up or slows down. These occur each time there are structural transformations which are respectively endothermic or exothermic. These thermal variations are seen in the trace of the cooling curve, an example of which is shown in fig. 9.8. This schematic trace shows the cooling of a cast-iron and starts at the pouring temperature Tp, in the crucible containing the tellurium. It cools at a uniform rate until temperature T1 where there is a slowing down in cooling. This is due to an exothermic reaction taking place in the alloy in which the first austenite crystals are forming with composition A.

Fig.9.7 - Crucible fitted with a thermocouple.



liquid primary austenite eutectic point


phosphorous eutectic

eutectic point

Fig.9.8 - A cooling curve for cast-iron

Cooling continues steadily until temperature T2 is reached. At this temperature the eutectic mixture B, composed of a mixture of austenite and cementite, starts to solidify. The formation of this mixture is also exothermic so there is a brief pause in cooling. The thermal history below temperature T2 does not interest us in our current context. The processing of the thermal data enables the percentages of carbon and silicon to be determined. To this end, the temperatures are transferred to a specific section of the Fe-C-Si state diagram (see fig. 9.9). As an example take the cooling curves of the two cast-irons which have 3.0 and 3.8% carbon respectively (see part A of fig. 9.9) and transfer them onto the state diagram shown schematically in part B of the same figure. The temperature TLB at point B of the curve AO shows that at temperature TLB crystals of primary austenite precipitate, and give rise to the irregularity shown in curve 1. This point corresponds to


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

3% carbon read from the abscissa of the state diagram. In curve 2 no thermal irregularity has been noted at this stage. A second thermal step is shown at temperature TSE and is shown in both curves. This is due to the exothermic reaction of the formation of the eutectic austenite-cementite. The temperature at which this occurs is a function of the percentage of silicon present and this indicates the silicon content. Point O in diagram B is also a function of temperature TSE, and if we look at curve 2, this point as it belongs to the curve AO allows us to read the curve 2 cast-iron carbon percentage (3.8), from the abscissa of the state diagram. The percentage of carbon does not tell us anything about the quantity of graphite, that is to say, whether or

The cooling curve

Diagrammatic section of the STATEDIAGRAM


primary austenite + liquid


Curve 1 = example with 3% C Curve 2 = example with 3,8%

austenite p. + eutectic

graphite p. + eutectic


concentration %C

Fig.9.9 - An example of the transfer of thermal information onto the Fe-C-Si State diagram for the determination of the percentage of carbon and silicon.

not cementite is absent. This information can be obtained by a second thermal analysis carried out using the second crucible which does not contain tellurium. This enables us to obtain cooling curves of the type shown in



fig. 9.10. These refer to the same basic cast-iron, but inoculated with different materials, so that there are three different graphite formations. Therefore three different values are obtained for the volumetric contraction. The required information is given by the size of the undercooling T below the eutectic temperature TE. The least volumetric contraction, therefore the greatest graphite release and the best mechanical characteristics, occur when the values of T are not greater than 4C.



The characteristics of gravity moulding in automatic Fast-loop type plants, are well known (see figs. 9.11, 9.11/A, 9.13/A). They are appreciated by founders, especially for the flexibility of use with different patterns, the easy changing of patterns and the possibility of process control by computer.




Fig.9.10 - Different undercooling values obtained with the same cast-iron, with three different types of inoculation.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

In addition to the systems many advantages, this has enabled increases in productivity to be achieved within the intrinsic limits of the system. These limits were exceeded when shot moulding was applied to the system. The experience gained in using core shooting machines, combined with the installation of computer control, enabled the combination of the two concepts ; that of Fast Loop moulding and that of core shooting, to produce the process of flaskless mould formation by pressure shooting. In practice, to achieve the same Fast Loop flexibility when using a core shooter in the moulding area, it was necessary to design a core shooter which could be adjusted each time to the dimensions of the pattern and the mould box presented at the filling (shooting), gassing and purging stations. It was therefore necessary to design a machine capable of matching the performance of each station to the pattern in use, at a given time. The shooting head automatically adjusts the shooting pressure, the shot time and the number of shots. The gassing head adjusts the gassing time and the purging station likewise.

9.3.1 THE


In the shot moulding system, hardening is achieved by using a gas which is blown into the mould box. Specially designed vents in the pattern plate ensure the gas penetrates effectively into the most inaccessible cavities, ensuring that mould hardening takes place completely and rapidly throughout. The resins most commonly used are the phenol resins, the urethane resins and the basic phenol resins. The first two categories are hardened by triethylamine (which has a less unpleasant smell than diethylamine), or by diethylamine which has a higher vapour pressure and therefore evaporates more easily. The basic phenol resins are hardened using methylformate (see fig. 2.5 page 24). These hardeners are liquids vapourized in a generator and driven



2 1

5 7 8

1 - Mould box filling 2 - Sand + catalyst + binder mixer 3 - Moulds setting and pattern plates Fast Loop area 4 - Mould rollover/strip station 5 - Pattern plates change area 6 - Painting station 7 - Drying tunnel 8 - Cores setting line 9 - Mould closing station 10 - Lines for pouring, cooling and moulds transfer to the shakeout station

Fig.9.11 - Layout of a Fast Loop type plant for gravity moulding.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

Fig.9.11/A - Fast Loop moulding area (continuous mixer, moulding area, mould boxes rolloverstripping unit, Fast Loop).



by inert gas pressure. The generator can be an injector which atomises the liquid and the gas formed can be injected directly into the shooting system. In another type of generator, the vaporization of the catalyst, or of the second reagent, is carried out by bubbling an inert gas through it in the liquid state. The gas formed is then distributed to the several shooting systems. A third type of generator heats the liquid amine (below its boiling point).The epoxy resins and the furan resins, when combined with oxidising agents, polymerise in the presence of sulphur dioxide. These resins have a long work time and break down readily at mould shakeout. They are therefore especially suitable for use in aluminium casting. All the above processes require the moulds to be purged with inert gas to remove catalyst residues. The workplace must be well ventilated and all the necessary precautions must be taken for staff safety and environmental protection.



A mould shooting plant has the following parts: (see figs. 9.12 9.12/A - 9.13 - 9.13/A).

THE MIXER The sand-binder mixture is prepared in a type T. 36/15 mixer capable of mixing 15 - 20 T./h. This is fed from a two compartment silo (to enable two sand types to be used). The metering of the different types of binder is accomplished using electronically controlled variable speed metering pumps. This enables the flow to be quickly corrected to the rate required for the programme to be used. The binder can only be added when a probe indicates the presence of sand in the feed tube, and after the sand feed box has opened. This protective device eliminates the possibility that binder can be added to the shooting chamber on its own, and the reasoning is clear, given that the mixer is completely automatic. The mixer discharge port is fitted with a shutter gate, which at the



1 1A 2 2A 3 4 5 6 7 7A 8 9 10 New and reclaimed sand silos Sand + catalyst + binder mixer Pattern plates Fast loop Mould shooting unit Mould rollover/strip station Painting station Drying tunnel Cores setting line Mould closing station Mould transferring device Pouring and cooling area Shakeout Sand reclaiming plant

Fig.9.12 - Layout aof Fast loop plant with mould shooting system and vertically poured moulds.


10 8 2A 2

3 5 6 7 7A


1 1A 2 2A 3 4 5 6 7 8 8A 9 10 11 -

New and reclaimed sand silos Sand + catalyst + binder mixer Pattern plates Fast loop Mould shooting unit Mould rollover/strip station Painting station Drying tunnel Cores setting line Mould closing station Mould piling device Mould piles positioner Pouring and cooling area Shakeout Sand reclaiming plant

11 9 2A 2


3 5 6 7 8 8A
Fig.9.12/A - Layout of a Fast Loop type plant with a shoot moulding unit and vertically poured moulds


1 - Sand + catalyst + binder mixer 2 - Loading hopper 3 - Mould box 4 - Mould shooting area 4A - Mould shooting unit 5 - Gassing station 6 - Purging station

3 6 4A 5

Fig.9.13 - Detail of moulds shooting station


13 10

1 - New and reclaimed sand silos 2 - Sand + catalyst + binder mixer 3 - Mould setting and pattern plates Fast Loop 4 - Mould rollover/strip station 5 - Painting unit 6 - Drying tunnel 7 - Cores setting line 8 - Mould closing station 9 - Pouring and cooling area 10 - Shakeout 11 - Sand reclaiming unit 12 - Electric melting furnaces 13 - Dust collector 14 - Fettling shop


14 9 8

7 3 5 6

11 2 4
Fig.9.13/A - Layout of foundry equipped with a mechanized No-Bake moulding plant (gravity system)


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

beginning of each mixing cycle holds back the sand for a few seconds, to ensure that the mixture is uniform.

THE MOULDING pLANt The moulding plant has the following parts : - A loading hopper with a capacity of 80 to 250 kg. The capacity can be adjusted by means of photocells. - A shooting system, FOMES Patent consisting of : a. A rapid opening shooting valve, positioned directly above the cartridge; b. A holding cartridge for the sand mixture. This has a device which enables the sand to be fluidised in the shooting phase; c. A shooting head consisting of an aluminium plate with a network of holes. The holes have inter-changeable steel bushes, to enable their diameters to be altered, or for them to be completely closed, as necessary. There are air vents round the edges of the plate. The shooting head moves from the loading position under the loading hopper to the shooting position. If the amount of sand required for the mould exceeds the quantity that can be held by the cartridge, the filling operation and the shoot need to be repeated, whilst maintaining a maximum cycle time of 30 seconds. The mould box arrives under the shooting head in a programmed sequence, as it arrives the upper part is cleaned with a rotary brush, to give a better seal against the shooting head. When this cleaning is completed, the mould box base plate rises and presses the mould box opening against the shooting head. This makes an effective seal between the moulding box and the shooting head and between the cartridge and the valve. The sand is shot at a pressure in the range between 2.5 and 5.0 bar, for a variable time. The pressure and the time both depend on the configuration and size of the pattern. GASSING - PURGING The filled mould box moves automatically to the gassing station and is raised up to make a seal against the gassing head. Following this it is lowered and moves towards the purging station. The gassing and purging operations can also be carried out in the same position



THE bUffER pOSItION The mean time of each operation is 30. There may be some variation, either more or less than this mean time. A buffer zone has therefore been provided, with four buffer positions, between the purging zone and the mould stripping area. MOULD StRIppING From the buffer position, each mould box passes to the rollover. The rollover is used for mould stripping and it has a hydraulically operated stripping plate. This plate works the ejector pins under the pattern plate. The ejectors act when the mould box is turned over. This ensures that the mould box is emptied, even if mould setting is incomplete. The device ensures that the mould box is emptied within the cycle time.

PASSING tHE MOULDS tO tHE pOURING LINES The shooting system of mould making enables a higher production rate than gravity moulding. This means that putting the moulds in order, and passing them to the pouring lines, needs to be automated. The type of automation differs according to whether the mould is poured horizontally or vertically.

HORIzONtALLY pOURED MOULDS After the half moulds have been formed, painted, any cores set and the moulds assembled they are sent to an automatic handler, are sorted automatically and passed to the pouring lines.

VERtICALLY pOURED MOULDS The moulds are closed by an automatic handler on an oscillating platform after being formed and painted. A second handler takes the moulds and stacks them in a container. This container is arranged vertically and the moulds are placed in one at a time until it is full. The cut-off point is determined by a


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

photocell. When the container is full, an automatic screw clamp locks the stack of moulds in place. The container, full of well clamped moulds is turned to the horizontal position and is transferred to the pouring line in conformity with a programme. There are always two containers at the pouring station, to prevent lost time between one pour and the next, and in the case of two different types of alloy, to allow the moulds in the two containers to be arranged according to the alloy to be used. After pouring and cooling, the containers are transferred to above the shake out, are unlocked and overturned to empty them.

9.3.3. THE


The advantages brought to traditional Fast Loop mould forming, by the shooting system, can be summarised as follows : the operations are completely automatic throughout. Operators are only used for painting or core setting; the almost complete elimination of excess sand even in  small moulds; extremely easy stripping using mechanical ejectors; the moulds have a higher degree of compaction compared  to vibrated moulds, due to the use of the patented Fomes shooting head. In this respect it is essential that there should be air vents at the mould points which are most difficult to fill with sand; by using a highly refractory sand, the high degree of com pacting enables mould painting to be eliminated in specific cases.To achieve this end, a fine sand can be used as a flaskless mould enables the gas to escape easily; the whole production can be automatically controlled by a  computer; moulds stacked vertically can be clamped into position  automatically; it is possible to use stacked moulds with single or double  sided impressions and for pouring to be horizontal or vertical.



9.3.4 THE


Pouring castings vertically offers several advantages. The use of flaskless moulds separated vertically requires that the design of the gating system and risers is different to the design of those used in horizontal pouring. If there are impressions at different levels, the design of the gating system must take into account each impression at each level, even if these are reciprocally connected. The basic premise is that all the cavities at each different level should be filled at the same rate, that is in the same pouring time. The pouring rate of the castings in the bottom half of a mould should be the same as the pouring rate of those in the top half of a mould. If the pouring rate of the lower half is too high there may be faults due to turbulence. The commonest faults are penetration, pinholes and inter-dendritic gas porosity. The correct sequence for filling flaskless mould cavities, requires the adjustment of the gating system for each pattern. The advantages of the vertical pouring system are as follows : there is a wider choice of metal flow arrangements; the pouring time is reduced; grinding of the gates is reduced to a minimum; the gases can be removed more easily; in some cases, there is easier castings feeding; The limiting factors of mould shooting are : the maximum size of the mould is  880 x 880 x 310 x 310 mm.; the mould box must be made of aluminium due to the rough  handling, and to guarantee the mechanical strength to resist the forces in play at the time of shooting; the patterns may be made of wood, or of resin for limited  production runs.

9.3.5. FIELDS


The mould shooting system enables the automation of the entire No-Bake mould making cycle.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

The procedure has been applied successfully in the following fields : steel castings (the process described eliminates pinhole  faults, as the resin is almost nitrogen-free); high quality aluminium castings; short runs of high quality castings; prototypes; castings in ductile cast-iron (as these are improved by the  highly compacted and rigid mould, and the reduction of the shrinkage tendency).




Sand regeneration has been part of the casting cycle for some time as an intrinsic and indispensable stage, due to the following motives : the requirement to have more heat stability; the scarcity of good quality new sand; the cost of new sand, continues to rise, for purchase, for  storage and for the transport required; the cost of disposal of used sand is also rising rapidly; the difficulty of finding suitable disposal tips; The thermal expansion of silica due to the morphological changes in the quartz, are pratically irreversible in the re-cycled sand owing to the repeated heating and to the build up of the mineral oxides. The use of this sand reduces the superficial defects in castings caused by heat deformation of the mould surfaces. The regeneration of contaminated sand is a recovery and re-conditioning process, which uses the following operations : cleaning the film of hardened binder and catalyst from the  surface of the grains, to maintain these at acceptable levels; removal of metals and other foreign bodies; removal of inert materials, and fines due to the breakage of  sand grains, using a system which does not cause any further breakage of the grains; cooling the sand. The mechanical regeneration of sand agglomerated with sodium silicate requires a preliminary operation of heating the sand to a temperature which may be as high as 300C. This is necessary to dehydrate the silicate and remove both the dilution water and the combined water. Furthermore, the intrinsic hygroscopicity of sodium compounds needs to be taken into consideration when designing the plant. Fig. 10.1 shows diagrammatically the processes for the recovery of sand using heat, mechanical and wet, processes. The efficiency of a sand recovery plant and its state of maintenance, can easily be determined by carrying out the following checks on the regenerated sand : determination of the granulometric spectrum and the index  of fineness;


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

Breaking out with/without mould breakage Used sand, core residues, lumps Removal of metals Breakdown of lumps and size reduction Removal of metals Sieving
Preparation of the sand, removal of contaminants, size reduction

Wet regeneration, stirring, solvent, neutralisation of the water

Heat treatment, removal of volatiles, combustion of combustibles, size reduction

Mechanical regeneration, by milling, grinding & mechanical/ pneumatic beating

Removal of binders and additives

Drying Pre-cooling Contact, vibrating bed, steam cascade Pre-cooling Contact, vibrating bed, steam cascade Regenerated sand
Final treatment

Fig.10.1 - Block diagram for processing used foundry sand (sand recovery).



 etermination of the mechanical characteristics of the sand d mixture before re-use, compared with those of a new sand mixture. A reduction of the resistance to deflection is acceptable, provided that it is not more than 20%; determination of the sintering temperature. The importance  of this is illustrated by the following : a sand which sinters at 1,450C. and which has a quartz content of 99%, sinters at 1,250C when the quartz content falls to 96% due to contamination with low melting point compounds; determination of the loss on ignition; determination of the acid or base content.

In figs. 10.2 and 10.3 the changes to compression strength and bending strength resistance are compared, for a sand which has 100% new sand and one in which 80% is reclaimed sand with only 20% new sand. Table A lists the optimum characteristics for a new foundry sand;

Compression strength (N/cm2)


0 rec


nd/ d sa




1% resin 0,3% catalyst

Fig.10.2- Development of the mechanical strength of 100% new sand mixtures and 80% recovered sand mixtures, over time.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE




Bending resistance (N/cm2)


0 rec

nd d sa overe


1% resin 0,25% catalyst

Fig.10.3 - Change of bending resistance of 100% new sand mixtures and 80% recovered sand 20% new sand mixtures, over time.

and for a regenerated (reclaimed) sand, for use in both mould and core making. Changes in these values depend on the specific use conditions.

10.1 THE


The degree of regeneration is given by the reduction of the quantity of undesirable substances in the sand per operating cycle. In practice, these are binder residues and catalyst residues. The value is expressed as a percentage of L.O.I. reduction. The regeneration plant plays a role in achieving a specific degree of foundry sand regeneration, this achievement is summed with that due to the heat effect at pouring. A major contribution towards achieving a given degree of regene-



ration, is due to the following factors : the type and percentage of resin used and the type of  catalyst; a low ratio of sand to casting (for a high degree of self regeneration); the quantity of new sand added. The acceptable level of regeneration is defined by the quality and quantity of gas produced by the decomposition of the binder and the catalyst; and the acceptability of its effect on the alloy being cast. In analytical terms, it is necessary to define for every alloy, the acceptable level of the loss on ignition at saturation. This is the value of the maximum percentage of volatile residues in a recycled sand, irrespective of the number of times it has been recycled. The percentage loss of a new sand mixture on burning in relation to the ratio of sand to casting, is given in fig. 10.4. The values show the effect of this ratio on the degree of regeneration. It is very important to know the relationship between the acceptable loss on ignition at saturation and the self-regeneration contribution. In fact the difference enables the required characteristics of the regeneration plant to be defined. The curves of the graphs shown in fig. 10.5 clearly show how the quantity of unburnt resin in a recycled and regenerated sand tends to level off at a maximum value, called the saturation value. The data were derived from a series of recycled sands with different degrees of total regeneration, including the part due to the pouring and the part due to the regeneration process. The graph refers to reclaimed sand, which has been continuously recycled. It is possible to calculate the maximum value of the organic material at saturation, as a function of the degree of regeneration of the system. The following formula is valid for regenerated sand to which no new sand has been added : Z100 _______ - Z I max = r Where: I max = the loss on ignition as a maximum value (i.e. at saturation) Z = the percentage of resin plus catalyst  r = the degree of regeneration expressed as a percentage of the loss on ignition reduction each cycle, following pou-


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

Loss on ignition %

Pouring temperature in C

Ratio of sand to cast

Fig.10.4 - Percent variation of the loss on ignition as a function of the sand to metal ratio.

Z = 2% resin plus catalyst

Total degree of regeneration in %

Loss on ignition

Number of times the sand is recycled

Fig.10.5 - The increase in the loss on ignition as a function of the number of recyclings and for different degrees of regeneration, in total r%. The illustration is a sand mixture with 2% resin and an organic catalyst.



TABLE A: FOUNDRY SiO2 Sintering point Moisture Clays Loss on ignition pH Acid demand in cm3 of N/10 HCl/50 g. sand at pH 4,5 Oolite contamination level




> 99 % > 1500 C 0,1 % 0,1 % 0,2 % max 6 - 8 1 max -

> 99 % 0,1 % 0,3 % 0,6 % 5-6 (1) (1) 3 % max

(1) - It is very important to keep the acid demand value constant .

ring and eventual regeneration As an clarifying example, we give an example of the calculation of the ignition loss at saturation: Z = 1,5 (the percentage of resin plus catalyst) r = 30% (the degree of total regeneration) (1,5100) I max = ________ - 1,5 = 3,5% 30 The formula has to be modified as follows if any additions of new sand are made : Z100 100 - N _______ - Z ______ I max = r 100 N = the percentage of new sand added at each cycle


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE



Collaboration between the customer, the founder and the pattern maker, is an essential premise for the construction of a pattern with an acceptable life, which meets the needs of a given method of casting and which has the necessary accessories required by the foundry technology. Whilst the involvement of the founder is expressly cited in paragraph 5.2 of the UNI 473 regulation and other standard regulations, it often happens that he is not involved at the pattern design stage. He is therefore required to correct or compensate for errors of pattern design, and/or construction. The pattern maker must be able to assimilate all the information and requests given him by the founder, to be aware of the intrinsic requirements of the casting process in general and of those specifically required by the No-Bake process. The first thing to bear in mind, is that the No-Bake system of moulding will accept a pattern which is not as strong as those required by the traditional moulding process. This is due to the flow characteristics of the sand mixture, and the fact that this system does not require such a forceful sand compaction as the traditional method. The cost savings due to the lighter construction compensate for the extra costs, due to the greater effort required to make a pattern suitable for this moulding system. For example soft wood can be used, retaining hard wood only for those parts which are stressed during pattern removal from the mould. Against this, the low flexibility of the sand mixture requires a pattern without undercuts which would require forcing at the pattern stripping stage. Forcing might not damage the pattern, but would certainly damage the mould. The same considerations apply to the rigorous attention required to setting the pattern draft angles, to ensure easy pattern stripping. The construction technique must therefore ensure that the segments, the inserts and the connections generally, must not move due to the wood flexing or to moisture, or the handling it receives. The No-Bake mould becomes somewhat flexible during the hardening phase, but never to the extent that it enables the pattern to be rapped.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

To carry out the removal of the pattern therefore, the draft angles are normally 2 to 3 according to the height of the parts [see the rules of the pattern making technical schedule in Part II]. Draft angles are very important for pattern stripping. The quality of the release agents is also important as is the vibration of the pattern plates. The pattern surface finish is most important both as regards the construction and its painting. All the corners must be well radiused and the pattern must be very securely fastened to the plate to prevent sand infiltration between it and the pattern. The loose pieces for undercuts must be very limited, as they may move during the sand mixture compaction process, and form socalled shadow areas which do not permit the sand mixture to be easily compacted. Furthermore, the joints of these parts can easily become set with use, and they then become mould retention points. On this basis, it is preferable that the parts of the design which create the undercuts, should be produced with cores. That is, unless the design of the piece can be modified to remove the problem. In defining the amount of linear contraction and the machining allowance, it is essential to assess the possibility that parts of the casting will be restrained by the rigid mould, on cooling. This can be caused by differences of as little as 13 per 1000 less than the theoretical contraction shown in the UNI standards (see Part II pattern making technical schedules).In addition to the geometry of the casting, the extent of the phenomenon is a function of the hot flow properties of the metal. With rigid alloys there can be a buildup of casting stress to breaking point, either when cold, or even in the mould. In this event it is necessary to make the above parts of the casting using cores made with less rigid binders. In any case, the play of the core in the print makes that point less rigid. This reasoning is valid and applicable, if the design of the piece cannot be modified. Pattern construction for No-Bake casting can be carried out using the materials specified in UNI 473. The No-Bake process is particularly suitable for use with onetime patterns made of expanded polystyrene, given that it does not require more than a light sand compaction and this would not



affect the pattern. It should be remembered that the use of metal patterns and plates can slow down resin setting if they are cold, due to their greater heat conductivity compared with wood. It should also be remembered that wooden master patterns used to make metal patterns, must be constructed to compensate for double contraction. If resin models are used, it is essential to check that they are compatible with both the release agent and the resins to be used in the mould. Consult the supplier about this. The parts of wooden patterns which are likely to suffer hard wear, or which are delicate, can either be made in metal, or constructed so that they can be easily replaced. Patterns on plates must be well fastened to the supporting plate. Pattern plates of plywood are recommended as they are light and keep the system rigid at pattern stripping. In the event of long storage periods they also significantly reduce the possibility of the pattern becoming distorted. When chills are used, they are heavy and have fins to improve their cooling capacity and their contact with the sand is improved. This prevents them, moving due to their own weight, before the sand sets. Clearly, other fastening systems can also be used. No-Bake moulding enables castings to be made with very close tolerances compared to the drawings. This may result in pattern costs being increased by up to 30%, due to the increased precision/accuracy required. This extra cost is recovered later during the machining phase, due to the reduction of the machining allowance.

11.1 TYpES


Large items, to be produced as single pieces, or as a short run, can be hand made with a skeleton model or with profiled green sand, or using the No-Bake system with the normal technique used for moulding using dry sand. The No-Bake system is not suitable for moulding with intermdiate part moulds and the pattern must be constructed for moulding with two part moulds. The central parts which cannot be stripped, are made of several core parts, to pro-


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

duce the intermediate shape required. (see fig. 11.1). If the bottom ingate must be cut through the core, the appropriate core print must be made in the pattern (see fig. 11.2). The sand plug and the forming of a stepped parting line, will be replaced by the core system, therefore the pattern must have the required core prints. Hand moulding using complete piece patterns which need a false print, can be made by the usual technique, and also by the No-Bake process. Clearly, the part which must receive the pattern provisionally, that is the odd-side, should be made with green sand for greater convenience. Patterns which have a parting line which is not horizontal, require a false print, which is usually difficult to produce using the No-Bake process.




Mould section

Pattern section 5 Pattern section 4 Pattern section 3

Mould section Core 3 Mould section Core 2 Mould section Mould section Core 1

Mould section Flasks

Mould section Mould section

Pattern Pattern section 1



Cope core print

Mould cope half


Core n.2

Core n.1

Mould drag half

(c) Solution for two part moulds

Fig.11.1 - Example of a mould change from several sections to two parts.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

Cope Parting line

Core insert for gating system

Back ingates

Drag Runner bar

Back ingates

Core insert for gating system

Fig.11.2 - Example of a pouring device installed in a core.The device is necessary due to the change in the mould system from several parts to two parts.




The No-Bake system does not require skilled operators, as the moulding operation can take place almost without the operator needing to touch the mould. The essential conditions for exploiting this advantage are, that the equipment is correctly laid out and that the casting design takes account of the process requirements. It must be remembered that the plasticity of the sand-resin mixture is so low that it is not easy to extract pattern parts such as ribs, hubs, flanges, guides, etc., or to mould manually to form plugs. Moulding in three or more parts is almost impossible (unlike greensand), when it is necessary to make undercut profiles. When using the No-Bake process many parts must be made with cores to enable the castings to be removed from the mould. This means increased costs, for both equipment and labour, and these may be sufficient to cancel out the advantages of the No-Bake system. In this event it is necessary to take corrective action by applying good practice in casting design, which takes account of the requirements of the No-Bake process.

12.1 MOULD





Pieces can always be moulded. However, the moulding cost is lower, the more good design practice imposed by foundry practice is taken into account. These practices are even less flexible when moulding with the No-Bake process. The examples given below show how critical it is and at the same time how simple it is, to adopt correct profiles for easy mould removal.The diagrams show this elegantly and do not need detailed explanations.

Example No. 1, fig. 12.1


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE


Fig.12.1 - Modification of the shape of a projection to eliminate an undercut and to make mould removal possible.

A) The two loose pieces of the pattern for the shape of the undercut, must be removable to enable the pattern to be extracted. They are extracted after the main pattern is removed. b. In this solution, the shape of the projection is not undercut and does not interfere with the extraction of the pattern. The pattern for the projection is therefore attached to the main pattern body.

Example No. 2, fig. 12.2 In fig. A the undercut parts must be moulded with loose pieces on Parts of the pattern which cannot be removed Pattern removal difficult

Poor design

Correct design

Fig.12.2 - Simplification of a baseplate mould to allow pattern extraction.



pattern which are be extracted from the mould after the main pattern is removed. The alterations to the shape of the casting shown in B simplify pattern construction and the removal operation. Transfer to the interior of details which cause removal difficulties

Fig.12.3 - Elimination of mould removal problems.


Example No. 3, fig. 12.3 The undercut parts have been transferred to the core, without altering the casting profile significantly.

Example No. 4, fig. 12.4 The shape shown in A can only be moulded horizontally. Foundry techniques, of which the designer may be unaware, indicate solution B as the one to be carried out, as it permits vertical casting and pattern extraction, in the direction shown by the arrow. This second solution also reduces the risk of the cast containing inclusions; and of the core moving under flotation forces. No-Bake prescriptions need to be added to these generic ones. Solution A requires the use of a balance print, to ensure that the core does not float under the upward thrust of buoyancy, unless supports are used. This would mean increasing the sand quantity, to fill a larger flask.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

direction of mould removal

Fig.12.4 - Design changes to simplify mould removal.

Example No. 5, fig. 12.5 This is an example of an undercut boss. With green sand or dry sand moulding this can be shaped using loose pieces, or a sand plug. Using No-Bake moulding the boss needs to be core formed (see a), or extended up to the flange (see b). For a casting without a flange (see c), the boss needs to be lengthened as shown in (d).

Fig.12.5 - The undercut boss prevents mould removal; and this means that a core will be needed for the application of the No Bake technique. (see a); the best solution is to lengthen the boss till it meets the flange (see b).For (c) the solution is given in (d).



Example No. 6, fig. 12.6 If the pattern is large or medium sized, the webs shown in fig. A can be made using loose pieces on pattern. If they have the correct draft and appropriate rapping they can be extracted from the mould, provided that it is slightly plastic, as when made with green sand or dry sand. This is practically impossible with a No-Bake mould, which requires that the webs must be arranged in the core box. Figs. B and C show economical alternatives which ca be used with any type of

Fig.12.6 - Changing the orientation of the webs in fig.A, to those shown in figs. Band C allows mould removal.

moulding. Example No. 7, fig. 12.7 The moulding for a complete piece pattern as in A, requires a parting line which is not level but is stepped. This pre-supposes that this can be achieved in making the mould. This type of moulding is not possible with No-Bake, unless a core is used, and the design needs to be changed, as shown in B. This solves the problem. An unacceptable design A much better

Fig.12.7 - Replacement of an offset joint with one in the same plane.


No-Bake as we see it - PART ONE

Example No. 8, fig. 12.8 In fig. A the feet are connected in pairs in the two half patterns, using dovetail joints. They are held in the mould when each half pattern is removed, and are later extracted inwards. The simplification offered by solution B is very clear. incorrect


Fig.12.8 - Projections joined together eliminate the need for a core.