This study summarises the research efforts undertaken in iron foundry plants in which the process are mostly automated and mechanised. The research program was limited in scope, focusing on causes of surface defects in castings products that are attributable to the bentonite-containing sand and the mould system. One of the potential roots of surface defects is heterogeneity of sand grains, containing lumped ball-shaped grains and irregular pellets with a layered-structure. The moisture contents of those lumped grains is different than the moisture level required in the process, besides these grains may contain various elements and metallic compounds which, when cast into moulds, may react with molten metals in an uncontrolled manner. As a result, surface defects are produced, such as surface blowholes, burst penetration, sand holes, slag inclusions, pinhole porosity. This study investigated the efficiency of key sand preparation and moulding machines and installations integrated into the casting process line. The efficiency of machines and installations is defined in terms of quality parameters of sand mix and moulds, which are associated with the emergence of surface defects on castings.
Changes of gas pressure in the moulding sand in the zone adjacent to mould cavity were analysed during pouring of cast iron. No significant effect of pressure on the surface quality of castings was observed. In the second series of tests, the concentration of hydrogen in the gas atmosphere was measured. It has been found that the value of this concentration depends on metal composition and is particularly high in cast iron containing magnesium. This is due to the reduction of water vapour with the element that has high affinity to oxygen. The presence of hydrogen causes the formation of gas-induced defects on the casting surface.
The results of researches of sorption processes of surface layers of components of sand moulds covered by protective coatings are presented in the hereby paper. Investigations comprised various types of sand grains of moulding sands with furan resin: silica sand, reclaimed sand and calcined in temperature of 700oC silica sand. Two kinds of alcoholic protective coatings were used – zirconium and zirconium – graphite. Tests were performed under condition of a constant temperature within the range 30 – 35oC and high relative air humidity 75 - 80%. To analyze the role of sand grains in sorption processes quantitavie moisture sorption with use of gravimetric method and ultrasonic method were used in measurements. The tendency to moisture sorption of surface layers of sand moulds according to the different kinds of sand grains was specified. The effectiveness of protective action of coatings from moisture sorption was analyzed as well. Knowledge of the role of sand grains from the viewpoint of capacity for moisture sorption is important due to the surface casting defects occurrence. In particular, that are defects of a gaseous origin caused by too high moisture content of moulds, especially in surface layers.