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Metal Casting

Metal Casting is one of the oldest materials shaping methods known. Casting means pouring
molten metal into a mold with a cavity of the shape to be made, and allowing it to solidify. When
solidified, the desired metal object is taken out from the mold either by breaking the mold or
taking the mold apart. The solidified object is called the casting. By this process, intricate parts
can be given strength and rigidity frequently not obtainable by any other manufacturing process.
The mold, into which the metal is poured, is made of some heat resisting material. Sand is most
often used as it resists the high temperature of the molten metal. Permanent molds of metal can
also be used to cast products.

Casting Terms:

Flask: A metal or wood frame, without fixed top or bottom, in which the mold is formed.
Depending upon the position of the flask in the molding structure, it is referred to by various
names such as drag - lower molding flask, cope - upper molding flask, cheek - intermediate
molding flask used in three piece molding.

Pattern: It is the replica of the final object to be made. The mold cavity is made with the help of

Parting line: This is the dividing line between the two molding flasks that makes up the mold.

Core: A separate part of the mold, made of sand and generally baked, which is used to create
openings and various shaped cavities in the castings.

Pouring basin: A small funnel shaped cavity at the top of the mold into which the molten metal
is poured.
Sprue: The passage through which the molten metal, from the pouring basin, reaches the mold
cavity. In many cases it controls the flow of metal into the mold.

Runner: The channel through which the molten metal is carried from the sprue to the gate.

Gate: A channel through which the molten metal enters the mold cavity.

Chaplets: Chaplets are used to support the cores inside the mold cavity to take care of its own
weight and overcome the metallostatic force.

Riser: A column of molten metal placed in the mold to feed the castings as it shrinks and
solidifies. Also known as feed head

Vent: Small opening in the mold to facilitate escape of air and gases.

Basic Features:

Pattern and Mold

A pattern is made of wood or metal, is a replica of the final product and is used for
preparing mold cavity. Mold material should posse’s refractory characteristics and with stands
the pouring temperature. When the mold is used for single casting, it made of sand and known as
expendable mold. When the mold is used repeatedly for number of castings and is made of metal
or graphite are called permanent mold. For making holes or hollow cavities inside a casting,
cores made of either sand or metal are used.

Melting and Pouring

Several types of furnaces are available for melting metals and their selection depends on the type
of metal, the maximum temperature required and the rate and the mode of molten metal delivery.
Before pouring provisions are made for the escape of dissolved gases. The gating system should
be designed to minimize the turbulent flow and erosion of mold cavity. The other important
factors are the pouring temperature and the pouring rate.

Solidification and Cooling

The properties of the casting significantly depend on the solidification time cooing rate.

Shrinkage of casting, during cooling of solidified metal should not be restrained by

the mold material, otherwise internal stresses may develop and form cracks in casting. Proper
care should be taken at the design stage of casting so that shrinkage can occur without casting

Removal, Cleaning, Finishing and Inspection

After the casting is removed from the mold it is thoroughly cleaned and the excess
material usually along the parting line and the place where the molten metal was poured is
removed using a potable grinder. White light inspection, pressure test, magnetic particle
inspection, radio graphic test, ultrasonic inspection etc. are used.

Steps involved in making a casting:

1. Make the pattern out of Wood, Metal or Plastic.

2. Prepare the necessary sand mixtures for mold and core making.
3. Prepare the Mold and necessary Cores.
4. Melt the metal/alloy to be cast.
5. Pour the molten metal/alloy into mold and remove the casting from the mold after
the metal solidifies.
6. Clean and finish the casting.
7. Test and inspect the casting.
8. Remove the defects, if any.
9. Relieve the casting stresses by Heat Treatment.
10. Again inspect the casting.

Advantages of metal casting:

 Casting is one of the most versatile manufacturing processes.

 Casting provides the greatest freedom of design in terms of shape, size and the product
 Casting imparts uniform directional properties and better vibration capacity to the cast
 Casting produces machinable parts.
 Shapes difficult and uneconomic to obtain otherwise may be achieved through casting
 A product may be cast as one piece, thereby eliminating the need of metal joining
 Very heavy and bulky parts which are otherwise difficult to get fabricated may be cast.
 Metals (like cast iron) difficult to be shaped by other manufacturing processes may be
 Casting can be designed for equal distribution of loads and for minimum stress
concentration in order to achieve more strength and increased service life
 Casting process can be mechanized and usefully employed for mass production of

Limitations of casting:

 Dimensional accuracy and surface finish of the castings made by sand casting processes
are a limitation to this technique.
 Many new casting processes have been developed which can take into consideration the
aspects of dimensional accuracy and surface finish.
 Some of these processes are die casting process, investment casting process, vacuum-
sealed molding process, and shell molding process.
 The metal casting process is a labor intensive process

Applications of Casting:

 Transportation vehicles
 Turbine vanes
 Power generators
 Railway crossings
 Agricultural parts
 Aircraft jet engine parts
 Sanitary fittings
 Communication, Construction and Atomic Energy applications, etc...