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Casting is the basic method for producing metal or any other products in manufacturing
engineering. Sand casting is one of the expendable-mould types casting process that we are using for
most of the casting applications. There the sand is used as the moulding material and the sand is mixed
with various other substances to achieve various types of properties preferred. In sand casting
processes, the finished quality of the casting are significantly depends on the properties of the sand that
are used. So it is very important that the foundry sands to be tested for its properties to achieve the
optimum quality of the casting.

The objective of this experiment is to learn the procedures employed in conducting some basic
physical tests of moulding sand. The experiment involves the determination of the moisture content,
clay content and the grading of moulding sand.

The following tests on the different types of foundry sand were carried out.

1. Sample preparation
Moulding sand preparation involves mixing of various ingredients manually or mechanically.
Mllers are often used for mixing. After mixing, the sand should be kept in a closed container. For this
practical we used prepared sand we sieved 1kg of that sand and mixed them with a 45ml of water to
get our samples for the practical.

2. Moisture content
50g of moulding sand was weighted carefully. The sand was dried at a temperature of 105-110
C (if a much higher temperature was used, some of the organic materials in the clay would have been
decomposed). Then the dried sand was again weighted. The loss in the weight gives the moisture that
was evaporated from the sand sample of 50g. As we know the amount of the water we added early, we
can calculate the moisture of the sand taken from the container.

3. AFS clay content

For testing purposes, the AFS clay content in moulding sand is defined as particles which fails
to settle one inch per minute when suspended in water. These particles are usually having a diameter
less than 20 microns. This definition includes all very fine materials, fine silica or slit, as well as the
clay minerals present, and the total percentage of these particles is called the AFS clay content of the

There we carried out following steps


Added 475ml of distilled water and 25ml of caustic soda solution (25g per liter)
to 50g sample of sand.


Agitated the mixer for 5 minutes with a shaker. And then diluted with water to
height of 6 inches (to the level of marker) and kept it away for 10 minutes.


Siphoned off 5 inched of water and dilute again to 6 inches and let it settle for
10 minutes.


Repeated III for 5 times

Removed the remaining sand grains from the bottle dried it in the oven and
The loss in weight of the original 50g sample multiplied by 2 gives the AFS clay
percentage in sand

4. AFS sieve analysis

A dried 50g of sand sample was placed on top of series of sieves and was shaken for 15
minutes. The sand remaining on each sieve and the bottom pan was weighted and determined as
percentage of the weight of the total sample. The mesh number (size of the net) of each sieve is as
1mm, 0.5mm, 0.355mm, 0.25mm and 0.15mm.

5. Preparation of standard test specimens using the AFS standard rammer

Since the strength of moulding sand depends greatly on its degree of ramming, the conditions
of moulding the standard sample must be carefully controlled. The specimen prepared by the following
method was used to perform the various experiments.
The AFS standard rammer is used for preparing a test specimen 2 in diameter and 2 in
height. By means of revolving cam a sliding weight of 14 lbs. was dropped on to the sand sample from
exactly 2 height for 3 times. After that if the specimen height is 21/32, then the specimen was

6. Permeability
Permeability is defined by the AFS as a physical property of moulding sand which allows gases
to pass through it. It is determined by the flow of air through the AFS standard rammed specimen
under a standard pressure. The rate in ml/min at which air will flow through the sand under a standard
condition of pressure is used as index of the permeability of sand.
In our practical a standard sample of sand was tested in a machine where air at constant
pressure is applied on the sample and the drop in pressure is measured on a pressure gauge, which is
calibrated directly in AFS permeability numbers

7. Shatter index
Ridsdale shatter index tester was used to find this parameter. The equipment is designed to
allow the free fall of standard AFS sample from a height of 6 ft. on to a steel anvil. By measuring the
degree of disintegration of the specimen, the shatter index can be calculated, which gives an idea about
the plasticity or toughness. The shatter index gives a useful guide to the mouldibility of sand.

8. Strength
The strength, mainly the compression strength of the prepared AFS standard sand sample was
measured by using a spring balance machine. There the compression strength of the sample was
measured by applying a progressively increasing spring force until cracks are generated in the sample.

Casting of any component is one of the fundamentals in the field of mechanical engineering. In
that the sand casting is one of the basics and conventional methods of casting. To make a desired
component using metal or from other material, sand casting is used in various industries as well. In any
casting process there should be a mould which is a negative of the desired component. In sand castings
as name implies, sand is the mould material that creates the negative of the component.
There the sand is not the only component that is used for sand moulds. Along with sand we use
so many other materials to be served as binders. But sand is the main ingredient so that it controls most
of the properties of the sand mould.
The moisture content of the moulding sand, affect greatly on the cohesiveness of the sand
particles. Less amount of water means the less ability to make proper bonds with each other and too
much of water means mould is not tough enough. So the correct amount of moisture is very much
important in the properties of the sand mould.
Amount of clay in the sand also affects on the cohesiveness of the sand. The less amount of
clay means the less ability to form a shape for the sand casting and the too much of clay will make a
problem in the reusing of sand. When too much of clay is in the sand, when molten metal is poured,
the closest layer of clay will burnt and makes a tough surface like pot. So it is difficult to re-use that
The sand sample consists of small sand particles like bubbles. So when they are compacted
there are void spaces in between them and it allows air to pass. Passing through of air (permeability) is
good for the casting. But the void spaces means the bonding ability of sand particles are reduced. So
there should be some other small particles to fill that void spaces to increase the bonding ability. But
the void space should not be completely filled as the permeability should also be kept in range. So that,
the amount of the particles from different sizes, is important to decide the properties of the sand
mould. To make a clear note on the amount of sand particles in different sizes, the sieve test has done
and the amount of sand from each size is measured by the weight of the sand remained in the sieve.