The present article describes selected aspects of investment casting technology for manufacturing of open-cell aluminium. The main focus is, among others, on the precursor thickening. Two groups of total 30 samples were produced, basing on open-cell polyurethane foam used as the precursor. Each of the two sample groups was thickened with a different type of suspension consisting of carbonaceous substances and organic binders. The influence of the coating mixture type was compared, leading to conclusions regarding the desired composition and fluidity of the suspensions. Both sample groups of the obtained open-cell aluminium had stochastic cell distributions, the average pore diameter was 5.2 mm and the PPI index was 8. The apparent densities were respectively: 0.485 g/cm3 and 0.312 g/cm3, which reflected the impact of the precursor coating. Additionally, samples from both groups differed in quality.
Extremely intense development of civilization requires from foundry casting technologies very high quality and not expensive castings. In the foundries, there are many treatments that allow increasing of the final properties of produced castings such as refining, modification, heat treatment, etc. One of the methods of increasing the quality of the casting by removing inclusions from the liquid alloy is filtration. The use of ceramic-carbon foam filters in filtration process is still analysed phenomenon that allows improving the final properties of castings. A modern method of research, testing and synthesis of innovative chemical compositions allows improving the properties of such filters. In the paper the evaluation of application properties of developed ceramic-carbon bonded foam filters is presented. The quality of the foam filters is evaluated by Computer Tomography and foundry trials in pouring of liquid metal in test molds. Additionally computer simulations were made to visualize the flow characteristics in the foam filter. The analysed filters are the result of the research work of Foundry Research Institute and the Institute of Ceramics and Building Materials, Refractory Materials Department in Gliwice.
Preliminary tests aimed at obtaining a cellular SiC/iron alloy composite with a spatial structure of mutually intersecting skeletons, using a porous ceramic preform have been conducted. The possibility of obtaining such a composite joint using a SiC material with an oxynitride bonding and grey cast iron with flake graphite has been confirmed. Porous ceramic preforms were made by pouring the gelling ceramic suspension over a foamed polymer base which was next fired. The obtained samples of materials were subjected to macroscopic and microscopic observations as well as investigations into the chemical composition in microareas. It was found that the minimum width of a channel in the preform, which in the case of pressureless infiltration enables molten cast iron penetration, ranges from 0.10 to 0.17 mm. It was also found that the ceramic material applied was characterized by good metal wettability. The ceramics/metal contact area always has a transition zone (when the channel width is big enough), where mixing of the components of both composite elements takes place.
Trials of cast steel filtration using two types of newly-developed foam filters in which carbon was the phase binding ceramic particles have been conducted. In one of the filters the source of carbon was flake graphite and coal-tar pitch, while in the other one graphite was replaced by a cheaper carbon precursor. The newly-developed filters are fired at 1000o C, i.e. at a much lower temperature than the currently applied ZrO2-based filters. During filtration trials the filters were subjected to the attack of a flowing metal stream having a temperature of 1650°C for 30 seconds. Characteristic of the filters’ properties before and after the filtration trial were done. It was found, that the surface reaction of the filter walls with molten metal, which resulted in local changes of the microstructure and phase composition, did not affect on expected filter lifetime and filtration did not cause secondary contamination of cast steel.
In 2014 we finished research works involved in the development of a technology for manufacturing innovative ceramic-carbon foam filters for molten metal alloys filtration, which were financed by the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR) from INNOTECH programme resources. A batch of the filters produced in this technology was tested in practice in domestic cast steel and cast iron foundries. The trials were successful and foundries declared their intention to purchase the newly-developed filters for the current production of casts. This provided an incentive for “Ferro-Term” Sp. z o.o. to start design works on the prototype line for a serial production of these filters. At the same time, in co-operation with a scientific consortium, including the co-authors of the technology, i.e. the Institute of Ceramics and Building Materials, Refractory Materials Division in Gliwice, Institute for the Chemical Processing of Coal in Zabrze and Foundry Research Institute in Cracow, the company made a successful attempt to raise some funds for the necessary adaptation of the developed technology from the semi-technical to industrial scale from Intelligent Development Operational Programme. In the article we have presented information on the effects of works performed within the framework of the project entitled “Modernization and adaptation of the existing technological line for purposes related to technology verification and start-up of the production of innovative ceramic-carbon filters for molten metal alloy filtration”.