Foundry sand is high quality silica sand with uniform physical characteristics. It is a byproduct of ferrous and nonferrous metal casting industries, where sand has been used for centuries as a molding material because of its thermal conductivity. It is a byproduct from the production of both ferrous and nonferrous metal castings. The physical and chemical characteristics of foundry sand will depend in great part on the type of casting process and the industry sector from which it originates. In modern foundry practice, sand is typically recycled and reused through many production cycles. Industry estimates that approximately 100 million tons of sand is used in production annually of that 6 - 10 million tons are discarded annually and are available to be recycled into other products and in industry. The automotive industries and its parts are the major generators of foundry sand. Foundries purchase high quality size-specific silica sands for use in their molding and casting operations. The raw sand is normally of a higher quality than the typical bank run or natural sands used in fill construction sites. The sands form the outer shape of the mold cavity. These sands normally rely upon a small amount of bentonite clay to act as the binder material. Chemical binders are also used to create sand “cores”. Depending upon the geometry of the casting, sands cores are inserted into the mold cavity to form internal passages for the molten metal. Once the metal has solidified, the casting is separated from the molding and core sands in the shakeout process.
Figure 1.1 Metal casting in a foundry
In the casting process, molding sands are recycled and reused multiple times. Eventually, however, the recycled sand degrades to the point that it can no longer be reused in the casting process. At that point, the old sand is displaced from the cycle as byproduct, new sand is introduced, and the cycle begins again. A schematic of the flow of sands through a typical foundry is shown in Fig.1.6.Although there are other casting methods used, including die casting and permanent mold casting, sand casting is by far most prevalent mold casting technique. Sand is used in two different ways in metal castings as a molding material, which focuses the external shape of the cast part and as cores that form internal void spaces in products such as engine blocks. Since sand grains do not naturally adhere to each other so binders must be introduced to cause the sand to stick together and holds its shape during the introduction of molten metal into mold and cooling of casting. 1.2 Types of Foundry Sands
Two general types of binder systems are used in metal casting depending upon which the foundry sands are classified as: clay bonded systems (Green sand) and chemically bonded systems. Both types of sands are suitable for beneficial use but they have different physical and environmental characteristics. * Green sand molds are used to produce about 90% of casting volume in the U.S.Green sand is composed of naturally occurring materials which are blended together; high quality silica sand (85-95%), bentonite clay (4-10%) as a binder, a carbonaceous additive (2-10%) to improve the casting surface finish and water (2-10%) to improve the casting surface finish and water (2-5%). Green sand is the most commonly used recycled foundry sand for beneficial reuse. It is black in color, due to carbon content, has a clay content that results in percentage of material that passes a 200 sieve and adheres together due to clay and water. * Chemically bonded sands are used both in core making where high strengths are necessary to withstand the heat of molten metal, and in mold making. Most chemical binder systems consist of an organic binder that is activated by a catalyst although some systems use inorganic binders....