In contrast to casting to conventional non-reusable “sand” moulds, for which calculating technique for an optimum design of the gating system is comparatively well-developed, a trial-and-error method is applied mostly for casting to ceramic shell moulds made by the investment casting technology. A technologist selects from gating systems of several types (that are standardized by the foundry mostly) on the basis of experience. However, this approach is not sustainable with ever growing demands on quality of castings and also the economy of their fabrication as well as with new types of complex sizeable castings introduced to the production gradually (by new customers from the aircraft industry above all) any more. The simulation software may be used as a possible tool for making the process of optimising gating systems more effective.
The herein paper contains the results of investigations on a new type of cellulose blend used for the manufacture of profiles applied in the process of making gating systems in the foundry industry. A standard cellulose profile was subjected to an experiment. During the experiment the profile was filled with a liquid cast iron and at the same time the temperatures of the liquid metal crystallizing inside the profile were measured as well as the temperature of the outer layer of the profile was controlled. Further, the microstructure of the cast iron, which crystallized out inside the cellulose profile, was analysed and the cellulose, thermally degraded after the experiment, was verified with the use of the chemical analysis method. Moreover, a quality analysis of the original as well as the degraded cellulose profile was run with the use of the FTIR infrared spectroscopy. The presented results revealed that the cellulose blend is aluminium silicate enriched and contains organic binder additives. The cast iron, which crystallized out, tended to have an equilibrium pearlitic structure with the release of graphite and carbides. The generation of disequilibrium ausferrite phases was also observed in the structure.