QUANTITATIVE IN SITU STUDY OF THE DEHYDRATION OF BENTONITE-BONDED MOLDING SANDS
Clays and Clay Minerals 61(1-2): 133-140
Bentonite-bonded molding sand is one of the most common mold materials used in metal casting. The high casting temperatures cause dehydration and alteration of the molding sand, thereby degrading its reusability. Neutron radiography and neutron diffraction were applied to study these processes by using pure bentonite-quartz-water mixtures in simulation casting experiments. The aim of the experiments was to compare the dehydration behavior of raw and recycled mold material in order to assess possible causes of the limited reusability of molding sands in industrial application. Neutron radiography provided quantitative data for the local water concentrations within the mold material as a function of time and temperature. Dehydration zones, condensation zones, and areas of pristine hydrated molding sand could be established clearly. The kinematics of the zones was quantified. Within four cycles of de- and rehydration, no significant differences in water kinematics were detected. The data, therefore, suggest that the industrial handling (molding-sand additives and the presence of metal melt) may have greater effects on molding-sand reusability than the intrinsic properties of the pure bentonite-quartz-water system.