The paper focuses on investigation of properties of two most widely used self-set sand binder systems APNB and FNB across the Globe, for making molds and cores in foundries to produce castings of different sizes involving wide range of metals and alloys, ferrous and nonferrous. This includes study of compression strength values of samples made out of molding sand at different binder addition level using new, mechanically reclaimed (MR) and thermally reclaimed (TR) sand. Strength values studied include dry strength (at room temperature) at specified intervals simulating different stages of mold handling, namely stripping and pre heating, followed by degraded strength after application of thinner based zircon wash by brush, subsequent lighting of, then checking strength both in warm (degraded strength) & cold (recovered strength) conditions. Throughout the cycle of mold movement from stripping to knock out, strength requirements can be divided into two broad classifications, one from stripping to closing (dry strength) and another from pouring to knock out (hot & retained strength). Although the process for checking of dry strength are well documented, no method using simple equipments for checking hot & retained strength are documented in literature. Attempts have been made in this paper to use some simple methods to standardize process for checking high strength properties using ordinary laboratory equipments. Temperature of 450°C has been chosen by trial & error method to study high temperature properties to get consistent & amplified values. Volume of gases generated for both binders in laboratory at 850°C have also been measured. Nature of gases including harmful BTEX and PAH generated on pyrolysis of FNB and APNB bonded sands are already documented in a publication . This exercise has once again been repeated in same laboratory, AGH University, Poland with latest binder formulations in use in two foundries in India.
The results of investigations of three commercial binders applied in the Alphaset technology marked as: Sample E , Sample T and Sample S are presented in the hereby paper. These samples were subjected to the pyrolysis process at a temperature of 900°C (inert atmosphere, He 99.9999). The gas chromatograph coupled with the mass spectrometer and pyrolizer (Py-GC/MS) were used in the study. The identification of gases emitted during the thermal decomposition was performed on the basis of the mass spectral library. The obtained results indicate a certain diversification of emitted gases. Among the pyrolysis products the following harmful substances were identified: furfuryl alcohol, formaldehyde, phenol and also substances from the BTEX (benzene, toluene and ethylobezneze and xylenes) PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) and VOC groups (Volatile Organic Compounds). Therefore, from the environment protection point of view performing systematic investigations concerning the harmfulness of binders applied in the moulding and core sands technology, is essential.
Recently, some major changes have occurred in the structure of the European foundry industry, such as a rapid development in the production of castings from compacted graphite iron and light alloys at the expense of limiting the production of steel castings. This created a significant gap in the production of heavy steel castings (exceeding the weight of 30 Mg) for the metallurgical, cement and energy industries. The problem is proper moulding technology for such heavy castings, whose solidification and cooling time may take even several days, exposing the moulding material to a long-term thermal and mechanical load. Owing to their technological properties, sands with organic binders (synthetic resins) are the compositions used most often in industrial practice. Their main advantages include high strength, good collapsibility and knocking out properties, as well as easy mechanical reclamation. The main disadvantage of these sands is their harmful effect on the environment, manifesting itself at various stages of the casting process, especially during mould pouring. This is why new solutions are sought for sands based on organic binders to ensure their high technological properties but at the same time less harmfulness for the environment. This paper discusses the possibility of reducing the harmful effect of sands with furfuryl binders owing to the use of resins with reduced content of free furfuryl alcohol and hardeners with reduced sulphur content. The use of alkyd binder as an alternative to furfuryl binder has also been proposed and possible application of phenol-formaldehyde resins was considered.