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International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882

Volume 4, Issue 1, January 2015

Solidification Analysis of Investment Cast Knee Joint Implant

Mrs. M. S.Shirke1, Prof. (Dr.) V.D.Shinde2
Student, Textile and Engineering Institute, Ichalkaranji, Maharashtra,
Professor, Textile and Engineering Institute, Ichalkaranji, Maharashtra

Nowadays in manufacturing field, time and money
saving has become a prime importance because of tough
competition. In investment casting process, the
manufacturer has to go through many trials to a sound
cast component. Main objective of investment casting
process is to form intricate shapes. Knee joint implant is
one of the intricate shapes which are planted in the
human body when the knee joint fails. Thus knee joint
implant because of its intricacy is manufactured by
investment casting. To avoid number of trials,
simulation software will be used to achieve defect free
implant casting. Main objective of this project is to
know the solidification behavior in the knee implant cast
component with different process parameters. Use of
simulation software reduces the trial cost and helps to
design correct method with minimizing melt scrap of
defective castings. The key process parameters under
investigation are pouring time, pouring temperature,
mould preheating temperature and firing temperature.
The output criteria such as material density, Critical
Fraction Solid Time (CFST), Niyama criterion and
temperature gradient were studied for solidification
analysis of knee implant cast component.
Keywords- Modeling software, investment casting,
simulation, process parameters, Niyama criterion.



Casting, one of the economical manufacturing processes

used in industries, is a complicated process, which
involves considerable metallurgical and mechanical
aspects [1]. The rate of solidification governs the
microstructure largely, which in turn controls the
mechanical properties like strength, hardness,
machinability, etc. The location, size and shape of riser
in a casting depend on the geometry of the casting,
mould design and thermal properties of metal, old and
other process parameters [2]. Wrong designed riser
results either defective casting with shrinkage cavity or
lower yield, as directional solidification has not
achieved. There are number of casting simulation

software are developed and are used in foundry

worldwide. The application of casting simulation
softwares are also increasing day to day in Indian
foundry as it essentially replaces or minimizes the shop
floor trials to achieve the desired internal quality at the
highest possible time[3]. Recently, due to the
development of computer technology, an effort is done
to predict casting defects directly as a consequence of
the physical phenomena that are involved. A modeling
approach based on an improved description of the
physical processes has become a more realistic, practical
and straightforward option. Shrinkage related defects
result from the interplay of phenomena such as fluid
flow, heat transfer with solidification, feeding flow and
its free surfaces, deformation of the solidified layers and
so on.

Computer simulation provides a clear insight regarding
the location and extent of internal defects, ensuring
castings. It requires a 3D CAD model of the method
layout (with mold cavities, cores, feeders, and gating
channels), proper setting of boundary conditions for each
virtual trial, and correct interpretation of results. In the
past the foundryman have strived for ways to improve
the casting process and eliminate the defects that
occurred in the castings by trial and error and past
experiences. The time needed to produce a particular
product is a time-consuming process. Problems occurred
in the casting may only be solved through trial and error.
Scientists throughout the years have studied the science
of casting and metallurgy and developed theories and
mathematical models to explain the properties of metals
while going through the solidification process.
Simulation programs were developed from these
methods which are useful in predicting how the casting
will come out. Defects and problems can be discovered
before the actual casting is cast avoiding costly tests to
prevent the problems. Fig.1 shows the steps involved in
simulation process.


International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882
Volume 4, Issue 1, January 2015


Solid Modeling of part (3 D modeling of Gating,

feeding and component part)
II. Pre-processing (assigning simulation thermal
III. Processing (processing simulations iteratively)
IV. Post-processing (For analyzing
temperature ,
shrinkage, thermal gradient etc.,)

pattern layout Fig.3d we can see the combination of third

and second pattern layout, with the same width that of
the third pattern layout, number of cavities reaches to 24.
Above pattern tree are formed with different designs to
increase the yield. Simulation is carried out on each of
the layout and final design is suggested.

Fig.2a. knee prosthesis

Fig.2b.Meshed knee

Fig.1: Steps for simulation process [1]

Solid modeling permits engineers to visualize
and understand the parts actual appearance and function
within an assembly by displaying the critical relationship
of part layouts, interference, and clearances. The mass
property data (weight, center of gravity, moments of
inertia, etc.) of parts and assemblies can be obtained.
This eliminates the need for hand calculations to
estimate these values from drawings or sketches. The
mechanical integrity of the design may be investigated
using various finite element methods to determine
structural, thermal, kinematics, and vibration properties.
These capabilities allow the engineer to design, analyze,
and iterate on the CAE software using the same solid
model. In solid modeling basically first a 3 dimensional
model is prepared and then it is converted to STL file
format. STL file format is the loaded in to other software
where the simulation process is carried out. Fig.2a
indicates the solid model of knee implant and meshing is
indicated in Fig.2b. In first pattern layout Fig.3a the gate
and runner system width dimensions are kept as those of
the length of the component, the number of pattern
formed are 18. In the second pattern layout Fig.3b to two
runners are added parallel to each other thus we get 16
cavities of the component. In the third pattern layout
Fig.3c, to increase the yield runner width is reduce thus
we have 24 component planned in this. Finally in the last

In Pre-processing, the input parameters are
assigned for the simulation process. Process parameter
which affects investment casting product includes mould
preheating temperature, firing temperature, pouring
temperature, pouring time, shell thickness. In
SOLIDCast software input parameters are 3 dimensional
model in binary STL format, assigning materials for cast
and mold part, meshing details like node size, pouring
time, pouring temperature, room temperature. In this
study the input parameters are same for all the type of


International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882
Volume 4, Issue 1, January 2015

pattern tree. The 3 dimensional model is drafted in a

drafting software Pro-E and is converted to STL file
format so as we can use that file in SOLIDCast
simulation software. Input parameters related to casting
material considered are, detailed in table-I. We need to
assign ambient temperature and pouring time which is
32.222C and 23 second respectively, pouring time is
defined as the time required for filling the mould cavity
by molten metal. Pouring time input is considered by
experimental method. For knee joint implant material
used is SS 316 L with chemical composition is listed in
Material properties of SS316 are excellent in a range of
atmospheric environments and many corrosive media generally more resistant. Good oxidation resistance in
intermittent service to 870C and in continuous service
to 925C. Excellent weldability by all standard fusion
and resistance methods, both with and without filler
metals. 316L stainless steel is also easier to machine
compared to 316 stainless steel due its lower carbon
content. Material temperature factor is taken by the
software as we select the material in it.
Input parameters
Parameters related to casting material
Thermal Conductivity
Specific Heat
502.08 J/Kg-K
Initial Temperature
Freezing Range
Latent Heat Of Fusion
Parameters related to mold material
Mold Material
invest shell
Initial Temperature
Thermal Conductivity
1.73 W/m-K
Specific Heat
External Heat Transfer 8.512W/m^2-K
Temperature In Mold



<0.03% C

Solidification analysis: Solidification plays an
important role in formation of defect less casting.
Directional solidification is important to avoid defects
like shrinkage, misrun. Directional solidification can be
achieved with the help of correct gate and runner
dimensions. Non directional solidification can be
observed with the hot spots present in the casting. By
observing the solidification step we can determine the
defect in each pattern layout. Solidification time shows
the time, in minutes, at which each node in the casting
reached full solidification, i.e., the solidus point. In all
the types of pattern layout the colour shades ranging
from yellow to blue denotes the temperature range and
solidification. Blue colour denotes that part of material
will be solidified first and yellow shows the hotness of
the material and will be solidified last. The node size
which is 1.5mm common for all is input for the
solidification analysis. Viewing a plot of Solidification
Time shows the progress of solidification through the
casting. This can help to locate isolated areas of molten
metal within the casting and to get a general idea of
progressive solidification in various areas of the casting.
PT-16:- In fig. 4.a layout we can observe directional
solidification so we can get sound component. The
simulated time taken was 25.701 minutes. PT-18: - In
fig.4.b we can observe that the part is solidified first and
then the rest gating and runner system. By neat
observation the entrance point of gate get solidifies first
where we can see hot spot. Thus there is possibility of
shrinkage defect. The simulated time taken was 32.301
minutes. PT16-24 fig.4.c we can observe the same
problem as that of PT18-24, left side middle row is not
filled, due to design error. The simulated time taken was
27.312 minutes. In PT18-24 fig.4.d we can see the
second line where the material gets solidifies in the gate
so the cavity is not filled. So we have fewer yields in this
case. This effect is due to less thickness of runner. The
simulated time taken for PT18-24 was 28.381minutes.


International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882
Volume 4, Issue 1, January 2015

ranges from 0 to 1. Lower values are worse. Usually, the

Critical Value is around 0.99 to 0.995 (values below this
indicate visible shrinkage).

Post- processing indicated the output of the simulation
process. Thus the simulation is carried out and the result
is generated for all the type of pattern layout. In
simulation process filling of molten metal and its
solidification process is carried out [3]. Results are
plotted on the base of criteria like solidification time,
critical fraction solid time, temperature gradient, cooling
rate, material density, niyama criterion, FCC criterion.
6.1 Material Density
The Material Density Function is the result of a
calculation in which the contraction of the casting, and
resulting flow of liquid feed metal, is taken into account
during solidification. Areas that have metal removed due
to feeding liquid metal to other areas of the casting will
show up as having lower Material Density numbers. In
this way, potential shrinkage can be predicted. Material
density measures macro porosity in the casting. Value

Fig.5. material density at particular point on each layer

of different pattern layouts
The Material Density Function is a number that can vary
from 0 to 1. It is a measure of how much of the metal
remains at each point in the model. A value of 0 means
that the metal has been completely drained from that part
of the casting; a value of 1 indicates completely sound
metal. The Material Density Function therefore should
be interpreted as, if value is equal to 0 % metal then we
have 100% porosity, value if 0.909% metal then we have
10% porosity, if value ranges near 0.99% metal then 1%
porosity is observed. If metal content value is near
1.0100% ten we can say that 0% porosity is observed. In
general, we have found that values in the range of .995.990 and below are areas of detectable shrinkage


International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882
Volume 4, Issue 1, January 2015

porosity in castings. The Material Density Function is a

measure of macroporosity and is most useful in ferrous
castings. In Fig 5.a show the cut plane of each layer of
pattern layout (PT18) which contains 6 component
cavities. In this at each point of the component we have
material density as 1. In Fig 5.b pattern layout (PT16)
we have 2 layer. At each layer we have 8 component, we
get density value 1 at each point.Fig 5.c show the cut
plane of each layer of pattern layout (PT18-24) and have
8 components. In first layer we have 8 components and 1
value for material density is obtained. In the second
layer we have all the values as 0 which denotes that there
is no material filled in the lower side of the layer here we
can get 4 components. In the third layer again we have
density as 1 for all components. Fig 5.d show the cut
plane of each layer of pattern layout (PT16-24) and have
8 components. In first layer we have 8 components and 1
value for material density is obtained.In the second layer
we have all the values as 0 which denotes that there is no
material filled in the mould cavity. So in this total layer
the material solidifies in between and all 8 cavities
remain unfilled. In the third layer we have again material
density value as 1 for all the components.
6.2 Critical Fraction Solid Time
Critical Fraction Solid Time records the time, in
minutes, for each part of the casting to reach the Critical
Fraction Solid Point. This is the point at which the alloy
is solid enough that liquid feed metal can no longer flow.
Therefore, for judging directionality of solidification,
and whether any isolated areas have formed within the
casting that cannot be fed. Critical Fraction Solid Time
is generally a better indication than Solidification Time.
Plotting Critical Fraction Solid Time gives a good
indication of whether any contraction that forms will be
able to be fed by liquid feed metal. The areas that appear
as isolated pools of molten metal will not be able to
receive feed metal from the risers if any contraction
should occur during cooling and solidification [5]. In
below all types of pattern layouts the isolated material is
specified. The isolated material in the pattern layout
shows the further shrinkage possibility in the casting. In
fig. 6.a which is the first pattern tree design with 18
components has less isolated material in the parts. Also
in PT16 (Fig.6b) we can derive the observation that the
isolated material is less in proportion. In third type of
pattern tree (fig. 6.c) the unfilled area is more and we
have less isolated material. In last pattern tree type
PT16-24, more percent of isolated material is observed.

Fig.6. PT diagram at initial value of CFST

6.3 Temperature Gradient
Temperature Gradient is a measure of how much change
in temperature there is as you go from point to point
within a casting. A high temperature gradient means that
there is a large temperature change within a short
distance within the casting. A low temperature gradient
means a small change in temperature from one point to
the next. Temperature Gradient is calculated at each
node within the casting as that point hits the Niyama
Point on the cooling curve. Temperature Gradient can
be used to get an idea of whether there was good or poor
directional solidification at various points within the
casting. The disadvantage of Temperature Gradient is
that each casting ends up with a different range of
values, depending on geometry, and it is hard to
compare one casting with the next .In first pattern
layout(Fig.7.a) we can see a low temperature gradient
ranges from 0 to 46.66 which means variable difference
in the temperature . In second (Fig.7.b)we have the same
values to observe. In third pattern layout (Fig.7.c) the
value range is near to 0 value thus there is very less
temperature difference. In fourth pattern layout (Fig..d)
we can see the middle layer has maximum value where
the metal is not filled while other layer are filled.


International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882
Volume 4, Issue 1, January 2015

Where, N = value of Niyama function; Gs= thermal

gradient [C/cm]; T = cooling rate [C/s]. [7]
First two pattern layout (Fig.8.a&b) shows high value
for the niyama criterion. The third pattern layout
(Fig.8.c) shows most highest value among all. The
fourth pattern type(Fig.8.d) has the lowest values for
niyama criterion.

Fig. 7. Temperature Gradient variation in each layer of

pattern layout
6.4 Niyama Criterion
The Niyama Criterion is a function based on
Temperature Gradient and Cooling Rate. The criterion
was developed by Dr. Niyama, a Japanese researcher
studying shrinkage prediction in steel. Niyama found
that the Temperature Gradient divided by the square root
of the Cooling Rate corresponded to the presence of
shrinkage porosity in steel castings. The lower the value,
the higher the probability of shrinkage. If this number
is1 or above there is little or no shrinkage porosity in the
castings. Niyama has been used extensively for
shrinkage prediction in castings. The Niyama Criterion
has been extended to alloys other than steel. Niyama is
basically a prediction of directional solidification. Poor
directional solidification is represented by a value of 0,
good directional solidification by higher values.The
general idea is that the lower the value of Niyama, the
worse the potential for shrinkage. A value of 0 is the
highest probability of shrinkage, and as the value
increases, the severity of the probable porosity
decreases. Above the critical number, probability of
porosity is low. Niyama plots need interpretation,
because they give low values in many areas where
temperature gradients are low but shrinkage might not be
likely, such as at the centreline of thin-wall areas and at
the dividing line between the feeding areas of two risers.
Also, Niyama is based only on heat transfer and does not
take the effect of gravity into account. The function is:
N = Gs / T

Fig.8: Niyama function value variation for different

pattern tree
Results are plotted with the help of the output from
above studied criterion.





In minutes





density in %

1 at most

0.95 at

0.89 at

fraction solid

Less Hot

More hot

0.90 at
Not much
material is

gradient range
are C/cm






More hot
spot seen






International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882
Volume 4, Issue 1, January 2015

In the current project SolidCAST simulation software is
used to study the solidification behavior in knee implant
casting.The key process parameters under investigation
are pouring time, pouring temperature, mould preheating
temperature and firing temperature. The output criteria
such as material density, Critical Fraction Solid Time
(CFST), Niyama criterion and temperature gradient were
studied for solidification analysis of knee implant cast
component. The highlights of casting solidification
simulation analysis as follows:

1. Casting simulation technology has become an
essential tool for casting defect troubleshooting and
method optimization. It enables quality assurance
and high yield without shop-floor trials, and
considerably reduces the lead-time for new cast
components under development.
2. By simulating the different casting layouts by
varying process parameters, the casting yield,
quality and cost of different design will be studied.
The process options which optimal parameters were
selected to for actual pouring to achieve the sound
casting right at the first time.
3. The importance of the process input parameters
affecting the performance parameters such as
material density,CFST, temperature gradient &
niyama criterion can be effectively used for
solidification analysis.


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Optimization Using Pro-Cast, International
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Design and Simulation on Investment Casting
Mold for Metal Matrix Composite Material,
Applied Mechanics and Materials, Vols. 66-68,
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Development Of Method For Reverse Engineering
In Creation Of 3d Cad Model Of Knee Implant ,
Facta Universitatis Series: Mechanical Engineering,
Vol. 11., pp. 45-54.
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Engineering Vs Conceptual Design Principles in the
Making of Artificial Knee Models, Trends
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2011Metals for

Biomedical Engineering - from Theory to

Applications, pp.411-430.
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Investment Casting Defects Assisted by Computer
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Defect Analysis of Investment Casting Using
Computer Prediction, International Conference on
Information and Communication Technology, 9-10
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Leaks in High-Nickel Steel and Nickel-Based Alloy
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