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Prianka Binte Zaman Assistant Professor Dept.

of IPE, BUET

Molding Sand
The primary function of any molding material is to maintain the shape of the mold cavity until the metal solidifies. Molding sand is the principal raw material used in molding because it possesses several major characteristics required for molding. Molding Sand Composition The main ingredients of any molding sand are: Base Sand: Have the necessary refractory properties to withstand the intense heat of the molten metal Binder or Bonding Material: To hold grain together Moisture or Water: To coalesce the grains and binder into a plastic molding material

Base Sand Silica sand is most commonly used base sand. Other base sands that are also used for making mold are zircon sand, Chromite sand, and olivine sand. Silica sand is cheapest among all types of base sand and it is easily available. It is reusable and capable of giving good detail. Binder Binders are of many types such as: 1.Clay binders, 2.Organic binders and 3.Inorganic binders Clay binders are most commonly used binding agents mixed with the molding sands to provide the strength. The most popular clay types are: Kaolinite or fire clay (Al2O3 2 SiO2 2 H2O) and Bentonite (Al2O3 4 SiO2 nH2O). Of the two the Bentonite can absorb more water which increases its bonding power.

Moisture Clay acquires its bonding action only in the presence of the required amount of moisture. When water is added to clay, it penetrates the mixture and forms a microfilm, which coats the surface of each flake of the clay. The amount of water used should be properly controlled. This is because a part of the water, which coats the surface of the clay flakes, helps in bonding, while the remainder helps in improving the plasticity. Table: A Typical Composition of Molding Sand Molding Sand Constituent Weight Percent Silica sand 92 Clay (Sodium Bentonite) 8 Water 4

Types of Molding Sand


The molding sand is classified into two categories according to the nature of its origin. Natural or Green sand: It is collected from natural resources like river beds or is dug from pits. It contains the only binder as water. It has the advantages of maintaining moisture content for a long time, wide working range of moisture content and permits easy patching and finishing of molds. Synthetic sand: It is an artificial sand prepared in the foundry by mixing clay free sand, binder, other additive materials as required and water. Its properties can be easily controlled by mixture content.

Advantages of synthetic Sand over natural sand: More uniform grain size Higher refractoriness Improved permeability Requiring less binder Easier control of properties Semi-skilled workers can work on machine molding The need of less storage space since one kind of sand may suffice for different kinds of casting

Types of Molding Sand


The molding sands are classified according to their use in the following categories: Green sand: The sand in its natural condition with moisture to give it enough strength is formed as green sand. Dry sand: The green sand mold is not very suitable for large castings. So they are dried in some suitable oven to evaporate the excess moisture and to give then extra strength. Facing sand: The sand which remains around the pattern is the facing sand. So it forms the face of the mold and comes in direct contact with the molten metal. Parting sand: The cope and drag are placed over each other after the patterns are placed in the respective haves of the flask and the necessary operations of mold making done. There is every possibility that the sand in the cope half and drag half may stick together and with the pattern. To eliminate this possibility parting sand is sprinkled over the parting surface of the cope and drag and the pattern. Core sand: The sand used for making cores is called core sand. This sand has high silica content and is mixed with selected binders.

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Properties of Sand
Properties required in molding materials: Refractoriness Green Permeability Green Strength Dry Strength Hot Strength Collapsibility Properties are determined by: Grain Fineness Grain Shape Clay Content Moisture Content

Refractoriness It is the property by virtue of which the sand can withstand high temperatures without fusing. This property is very important because always molten metals with high temperature are poured in it and poor refractoriness would cause fusion of the sand. As a result slag will form which will come on the surface of the casting to spoil it. The refractoriness of the silica sand is highest. Green Permeability Permeability is also called porosity. It is the property by virtue of which the molding sand permits the escape of gasses and steam through it. As the hot molten metal is poured in the cavity, steam and gasses are formed due to the heat of the metal. These gasses must escape to atmosphere otherwise if either the mold may burst or blow holes in the casting will be formed.

Grain fineness is measured by passing sand through standard sieves,


each with a certain number of openings per inch. Grain size of sand is designed by a number that indicates the average sizes as well as the proportions of smaller or larger grains in the mixture.

Finer grains in a mold impart a smoother finish to a casting. Permeability decreases as the grains and the void between them becomes smaller. The same conditions results from a large proportions of fine grains in a mixture. For large castings that require coarse sand for high permeability.

Shapes of grains: Angular and Rounded.

Sharp angular grains cannot pack

together as closely and give a higher permeability than rounded grains.

Figure: Relationship between Permeability of molding sand with moisture content


and grain shape

Type and amount of binder effects on the permeability of sand. Over a wide range of moisture content, bentonite was found to give more permeability than fire clay.

Figure: Permeability of two kinds of clay for molding sand with various amounts of moisture

Green Strength or cohesiveness


Green strength represents the ability of the sand to hold to the shape of the mold when metal is poured into the mold. The molding sand that contains moisture is termed as green sand. The green sand particles must have the ability to cling to each other to impart sufficient strength to the mold. The green sand must have enough strength so that the constructed mold retains its shape. The finer the sand grains, the larger the surface area of a bulk, and the larger the amount of binder needed to cover the area. The contact and the bonds between grains are more numerous, and thus green strength is higher with finer grains. Figure shows that, the grain size becomes larger, the green strength decreases under
Figure: Green strength of molding sand in relation to the size of the grains

normal conditions.

Round grains packs together much more closely than the angular grains and as a result are bonded together with a higher green strength than angular grains.

Figure: Green strength of two molding sand with different clay binders at different moisture levels

Some binders provide higher green strength than the others. The green strength increases in proportion to the amount of binder in a molding sand, but too much binder is detrimental to permeability.

Figure: Green strength of molding sand to moisture content and grain shape

The effect of the moisture on green strength is similar to the effect on permeability. Green strength increases with the first additions of moisture, reaches a maximum strength and then starts to decrease. An excess amount of moisture has a weakening effect, even nullify the influence of grain size.

Figure: Green strength of molding sand varies for several sizes of grains

Dry Strength Dry strength is the strength of sand that has been dried or baked. In general, dry strength varies in the same way as green strength with grain fineness, grain shape and moisture content. Different binders can affect dry strength and green strength differently.
When the molten metal is poured in the mold, the sand around the mold cavity is quickly converted into dry sand as the moisture in the sand evaporates due to the heat of the molten metal. At this stage the molding sand must posses the sufficient strength to retain the exact shape of the mold cavity and at the same time it must be able to withstand the metallostatic pressure of the liquid material.

Flowability The ability for the sand to flow into intricate details and tight corners without special processes or equipment

Hot Strength As soon as the moisture is eliminated, the sand would reach at a high temperature when the metal in the mold is still in liquid state. The strength of the sand that is required to hold the shape of the cavity at high temperature is called hot strength. Collapsibility This is the ability of the sand to be easily stripped off the casting after it has solidified. Sands with poor collapsibility will adhere strongly to the casting. When casting metals that contract a lot during cooling or with long freezing temperature ranges a sand with poor collapsibility will cause cracking and hot tears in the casting. Special additives can be used to improve collapsibility.

Besides these specific properties the molding material should be cheap, easily available, reusable and should have good thermal conductivity.