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Determination active clay percentage of

moulding sand by using methylene blue

Madurapperuma c

Casting sand
Casting sand (Green sand) is made up of basic sand, bentonite or another coal dust, and uninvited

Silica sand
Sand is a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles.
The most common constituent of sand in inland continental settings and non-tropical coastal settings
is silica (silicon dioxide, or SiO2), usually in the form of quartz. Silica (SiO2) sand is the stereotype
sand (i.e. the sand found on a beach) and is also the most commonly used sand. It is made by either
crushing sandstone or taken from natural occurring locations, such as beaches and river beds.
The fusion point of pure silica is 1,760 C (3,200 F); however the sands used have a lower melting
point due to impurities. For high melting point casting, such as steels, a minimum of 98% pure silica
sand must be used; however for lower melting point metals, such as cast iron and non-ferrous metals, a
lower purity sand can be used (between 94 and 98% pure).
Silica sand is the most commonly used sand because of its

great abundance

low cost

Its disadvantages are

high thermal expansion - which can cause casting defects with high melting point metals,

Low thermal conductivity - which can lead to unsound casting. It also cannot be used
with certain basic metal because it will chemically interact with the metal forming
surface defect.

Bentonite is a binder. There are different types of bentonites, and their names depend on the
dominant elements, such as

potassium (K)

sodium (Na)

calcium (Ca)

aluminum (Al).

Sodium bentonite
Sodium bentonite expands when wet, absorbing as much as several times its dry mass in water.
Because of its excellent colloidal properties. The property of swelling also makes sodium
bentonite useful as a sealant, especially for the sealing of subsurface disposal systems for spent
nuclear fuel and for quarantining metal pollutants of groundwater. Sodium bentonite can also be
"sandwiched" between synthetic materials to create geo-synthetic clay liners (GCL) for the
aforementioned purposes. This technique allows for more convenient transport and installation,
and it greatly reduces the volume of sodium bentonite required.

Coal dust
Coal dust is a fine powdered form of coal, which is created by the crushing, grinding, or
pulverizing of coal. Because of the brittle nature of coal, coal dust can be created during mining,
transportation, or by mechanically handling coal.
May be added to the molding material

To prevent wetting (prevention of liquid metal sticking to sand particles, thus leaving
them on the casting surface),

Improve surface finish,

Decrease metal penetration

Burn-on defects.

These additives achieve this by creating gases at the surface of the mold cavity, which prevent
the liquid metal from adhering to the sand.
Green sand properties cannot be standardized for all foundries and castings as such, yet place to
place and job to job the specifications can be set to maintain minimal amount of rejection. A
basic set of parameters to test are:
1. Fineness number (grain size/AFS Number) of the base sand
2. Moisture content in the mixture
3. Permeability (ability of compacted mould to pass air through it)
4. Total clay content
5. Active clay content (presence of active bentonite/clay which can readily bond)
6. Green Compressive strength
7. Percent Compactibility
In this discussion I hope to describe about determination of active clay percentage of moulding is also called methylene blue clay.
The MB clay test determines the amount of active clay, indicating the Base Exchange capability
of bentonite.
The use of tetra sodium pyrophosphate as a preliminary solution enables a similar response to
methylene blue of bentonite and hence the MB Clay Tester makes possible the rapid and accurate
determination of active clay in foundry sand systems employing bentonite.
It can also be used to determine systems using fireclay. This enables the total active clay to be
determined with the MB Clay Tester.
Methylene blue is a

heterocyclic aromatic chemical compound with the molecular formula C16H18N3SCl.

At room temperature it appears as a solid, odorless, dark green powder, that yields a blue

solution when dissolved in water.

The hydrated form has 3 molecules of water per molecule of methylene blue.

The basic relationship in MB analyses of clays in materials is that a ground powder is titrated
with methylene blue dye, and a spot tested on Whatman filter paper no 4 until the spot of
material absorbs no more dye as evidenced by a lighter blue ring around the darker blue ring of
the spot tested.

Procedure to find the active clay percentage

First we have to prepare the methylene blue

Weight 3.739 g MB powder

Mix the powder with 500 ml distilled water in 1000ml volumetric flask
Steer with magnetic stirred for 30 minutes
Make up volumetric of water with additions distilled water to 1000 ml
Allow to stand the solution for before use

Next we have to find reference factor for bentonite (RF).

The steps are followed
1. Dry 10g of bentonite at 110 -115 OC for approximately one hour
2. Cool in up to room temperature


Take 5 g of bentonite, 4.5 of clay free silica sand in 250 ml conical flask
Add 50 ml of distilled water and 10 ml solution of tetra sodium pyrophosphate.
Boil the solution gently on hot plate for 10 minutes and then cool
Add 1.5 ml of h2so4 and shake well approximately 5 minutes
Titrate the above mix with methylene blue standard solution to end point

A. After the titration with MB solution insert a glass rod in titrated solution an add on
Whatman filter paper no 4
B. Observe the drop on paper there there should be greenish blue or sunburnt
C. If not continue titration till green blue below or sun burnt observed
D. After that point add one more drop of MB solution so then sky blue ring become darker
E. Note down burette reading
MB value of bentonite = Burette reading * 2 ml/g

Reference factor (RF) of bentonite=

Weight of Bentonite
Burette reading

Now to calculate the % of active clay in prepared or return sand & dust collector finer

Weight 5 g of dried sand sample

Add 50 ml of distilled water in 250 conical flask
Add 10 ml saturated tetra sodium pyrophosphate
Boil the solution gently on hot plate for 10 min and cool
Get the end point as per above procedure about
Note down the burette reading
Percentage active clay =
Burrete reading Reference Factor Of Bentonite
Weight Of Sand Sample

RF= 0.0084

Whatman filter paper use to find the end point of titrate.

Theory part of this experiment

Normally clay particle surface have negative charge. Therefore the positive ion is always come
on this negative surface.
The presence of isomorphous substitutions between atoms with different valence causes
alterations to the electronic charges in the structural units, as borne out by the presence of
negatively charged sites along the outer surface of the structural units, and a subordinate role is
played by the positively charged sites located along the edges of the structural units.
The surface electric charges of these sites are compensated for by external cations and (or)
anions, which may be attracted in a more or less stable manner and exchanged with the
electrolytes contained in the aqueous solutions circulating in the material; this mechanism is
referred to as ionic ex-change capacity, which can be either cationic of anionic.
A peculiar feature of some clay minerals is their capability of expanding in the presence of water
and (or) organic liquids. They are commonly referred to as expandable (swelling) clay minerals.
The variation in basal spacing depends on the quantity and nature (valence and hydration
potential) of the ex-changeable cations contained in the structural spaces between layers.
This phenomenon is referred to as intra crystalline swelling. The thickness of this layer is
determined by the forces of mutual attraction among the water molecules, the electrolytes
diffused in the latter, and the active sites located on the outer surface of the clay particles (the
nature of the electrolytes plays a significant role).
We can distinguish the following types of water:
1. Adsorbed water covers the outer surface of clay particles in very thin layers, is kept in
place by very we are use as binder is sodium bentonite. Therefore it have Na+ ion.
Therefore that ion goes to the surface of clay particle. Because the reason is it have a
negative charge its surface. Strong electrostatic forces, and in natural conditions cannot
be removed.
2. Saturation water is situated at a greater distance from the outer surface of the clay
particles and is retained by polar forces and can be removed quite easily
3. Interstitial water is mostly contained in pores and can also be removed quite easily. The
geotechnical (mechanical, Hydraulic) behavior of clay materials in the presence of water
is therefore the outcome of interactions among solid clay particles, water molecules, and
dissolved electrolytes in addition to any organic molecules that may be present.
The various types of clay minerals can be roughly classified as follows:
inert chlorite, illite, and kaolinite with cationic exchange capacity (CEC) of 325
mequiv./100 g,
active smectite and vermiculite with CEC of 80150 mequiv./100 g,

With the aid of scanning electronic microscopy (SEM) it is possible to examine the morphology
of individual clay.
So produced a bond between clay particle and bentonite. it means bentonites positive ion and
clay negative ion. Therefore it is called active clay particles. Because the bond have high strength
than others.
Principles of the methylene blue stain test the methylene blue stain test makes it possible to
quantify the ionic absorption capacity of a soil by measuring the quantity of methylene blue
necessary to cover the total (external and internal) surface of the clay particles contained in the
sand. The positive ions which contain on negative surface are replaced by methylene blue cation.
Testing technique works on the basis of the chemical reactions triggered by an excess in negative
electric charges in the clay particles and (or) the ionic exchange phenomena taking place
between the easily exchangeable cations of the clay and the methylene blue cations released by
methylene blue during its decomposition in water.
The particles having the largest specific surface and the greatest negative charge are those of clay
minerals, which therefore are the ones that can be most readily exchanged. Further- more, the
absorption capacity of the sand, its clay content being the same, is a function of the type of clay
mineral contained in the sand.
The absorption capacity increases as a function of clay particle specific surface and charge.
Based on this principle, different testing techniques have been developed using methylene blue