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7.

7 PLASMA ARC WELDING Plasma arc welding is an arc welding process where in coalescence is produced by the heat obtained from a plasma arc. Practically all welding arcs arc plasma, but the one used in plasma arc welding is a constrictive arc, which considerably reduces the profile o f t h e plasma column and thus, increases the forces acting along the axis of the arc. Plasma arc is two types i.e., transferred arc and nori-transferred arc. Transferred arc is produced between tungsten electrode and the work piece, where as non-transferred arc is produced between the electrode and the constrictive nozzle. Arrangement of plasma a r c welding process is shown in Fig. 7.11.

Plasma arc is the temporary state of a gas. The gas gets ionized after passage of electric current through it and becomes conductor of electricity. In ionized stale the gas atoms beak in to electrons and ions and system contains a mixture of ions, electrons and highly excited atoms. The energy of the plasma jet and thus the temperature is dependent on the electrical power em ployed to create plasma arc. The range of temperature in plasma arc welding is 20,000C25JBU0PC.

In this process, pressure is not employed and f i l l e r metal may or may not be used. The process employs two inert gases, one forms the plasma arc and second one shields the plasma arc. This process requires d.c. power source, high frequency generator and plasma torch. Voltage used in this process is 27V-31V, current range is 50A-350A and the flow rate of the gas is 2-40 Ib/lir. For welding stainless steel Thoariated or Zirconialed tungsten electrode and for aluminum copper electrode is used. Many of the base metals such as stainless steels, carbon steels, low alloy steels, copper alloys, aluminum alloys, titanium alloys, nickel and cobalt based alloys can be welded by this process. Applications 1. 2. 3. Circumferential pipe welding Used in welding cryogenic, aerospace and corrosion resistant alloys Used in welding rocket motor cases, nuclear submarine pipe systems.

Advantages 1. 2. 3. Plasma arc is stable and provides uniform penetration in to the work piece.\ Good weld quality is obtained with simple welding fixtures. High quality welds can be produced at high speed.

Limitations 1. 2. 3. 4. High noise is produced and special protections are required from infra-red and ultraviolet radiations. Skilled worker is required to operate plasma arc welding equipment. Inert gas consumption is more. Electrical hazards are more in t h i s process.

Explosive welding (EXW) Explosion welding (EXW) is a metal-working process that is sometimes also called explosivebonding or explosive cladding. Considered a solid state process, EXW allows two different types of metals to be forced together with a clean vacuum-tight weld. This is done without heating either type of metal to its melting point or jeopardizing the original properties of either. This is achieved when the velocity from controlled detonations is used to produce an

atomic bond that is often impossible if other welding processes were used. Historically, thisprocess has not been among the most widely used, but is often considered a specialty. EXW is a welding process that was introduced in the latter half of the 20th century. The idea of explosion welding is said to be inspired by events in World War I. The process is believed to have arisen from observations about the manner in which shrapnel managed to weld itself to soldiers armor. Explosion welding is considered a solid state process because two different metals can be joined without either reaching its melting point. One of the major benefits of EXW is that it can be used to weld almost any pair of metals and most alloys. This possibility is significant because many pairs of metals or alloys are considered incompatible if welding is attempted using other processes.

The weld from the EXW process is achieved by using the energy generated from controlled explosions. The force from those explosions causes the outer layers of each metal surface to take a plasma-like form that allows for coalescence. Although neither item reaches its melting point, the surfaces may appear molten, and some amount of heat is commonly generated. The heat is produced partly due to the impact from the collision of the two surfaces. There are several notable benefits to explosion welding. First, the metals do not lose their original individual properties. Second, the joint that results from this explosive process tends to be exceptionally clean and vacuum tight. Third, the process is carried out very quickly and can be used on large surfaces. In the decades following its introduction, explosion welding has generally been considered more of a specialized process. The use of this method is considered to be minimal when compared to its potential. This may be attributed in part to the fact that the process requires an extensive knowledge of explosives, which many metal workers do not have. Advantages and disadvantages Explosion welding can produce a bond between two metals that cannot necessarily be welded by conventional means. The process does not melt either metal, instead it plasticizes the surfaces of both metals, causing them to come into intimate contact sufficient to create a weld. This is a

similar principle to other non-fusion welding techniques, such as friction welding. Large areas can be bonded extremely quickly and the weld itself is very clean, due to the fact that the surface material of both metals is violently expelled during the reaction. A major disadvantage of this method is that an expansive knowledge of explosives is needed before the procedure may be attempted. Explosion welding is therefore far less commonly used than fusion welding alternatives.

Ultrasonic welding process: When bonding material through ultrasonic welding, the energy required comes in the form of mechanical vibrations. The welding tool (sonotrode) couples to the part to be welded and moves it in longitudinal direction. The part to be welded on remains static. Now the parts to be bonded are simultaneously pressed together. The simultaneous action of static and dynamic forces causes a fusion of the parts without having to use additional material. This procedure is used on an industrial scale for linking both plastics and metals (figure 1).

Ultrasonic welding of plastics When welding thermoplastics, the thermal rise in the bonding area is produced by the absorption of mechanical vibrations, the reflection of the vibrations in the connecting area, and the friction of the surfaces of the parts. The ultrasonic vibrations are introduced vertically and are usually subjected at a frequency of 20, 30 or 40kHz.In the contraction area, frictional heat is produced so that material plasticizes locally, forging an insoluble connection between both parts within a very short period of time. The prerequisite is that both working pieces have a near equivalent melting point. The joint quality is very uniform because the energy transfer and the released internal heat remains constant and is limited to the joining area. In order to obtain an optimum result, the joining areas are prepared to make them suitable for ultrasonic bonding. Besides plastics welding, ultrasonics can also be used to rivet working parts or embed metal parts into plastic. Equipment An ultrasonic welding machine consists of four main components: a power supply, a converter, an amplitude modifying device (commonly called a Booster) and an acoustic tool known as the

horn (or sonotrode). The power supply changes mains electricity at a frequency of 50-60Hz, into a high frequency electrical supply operating at 20, 30 or 40kHz. This electrical energy is supplied to the converter. Within the converter, discs of piezoelectric material are sandwiched between two metal sections. The converter changes the electrical energy into mechanical vibratory energy at ultrasonic frequencies. The vibratory energy is then transmitted through the booster, which increases the amplitude of the sound wave. The sound waves are then transmitted to the horn. The horn is an acoustic tool that transfers the vibratory energy directly to the parts being assembled, and it also applies a welding pressure. The vibrations are transmitted through the workpiece to the joint area. Here the vibratory energy is converted to heat through friction this then softens or melts the thermoplastic, and joins the parts together. Benefits of the process include: energy efficiency, high productivity with low costs and ease of automated assembly line production. The main limitation of the process is that the maximum component length that can be welded by a single horn is approximately 250 mm. This is due to limitations in the power output capability of a single transducer, the inability of the horns to transmit very high power, and amplitude control difficulties due to the fact that joints of this length are comparable to the wavelength of the ultrasound.

Typical applications: Ultrasonic assembly is the method of choice for many applications in the automotive, appliance, medical, textile, packaging, toy and electronics markets, among others. The basic advantages of ultrasonic assembly - fast, strong, clean and reliable welds - are common to all markets. However, each market has specialised needs that they rely on ultrasonic assembly to meet. Stud welding Stud welding is a form of spot welding where a bolt or specially formed nut is welded onto another metal part. The bolts may be automatically fed into the spot welder. Weld nuts generally have a flange with small nubs that melt to form the weld. Studs have a necked down, un-threaded area for the same purpose. Weld studs are used in stud welding systems.

Capacitor Discharge Stud Welding: The Process

Capacitor Discharge (CD) stud welding is an extremely efficient method of welding fasteners to a wide variety of metals like:

mild steel stainless steel aluminum brass copper titanium The process utilizes a powerful bank of capacitors to store energy at a specific voltage determined by stud size and material. When a weld is initiated, this energy is "discharged" through a special "ignition tip" at the base of the stud, creating an instantaneous arc which melts both the base of the stud and the adjoining surface on the work piece. At the same time, the welding gun forces the stud into the work piece, resulting in a permanent bond as the molten material solidifies........all in 0.004 seconds! Capacitor Discharge stud welding eliminates drilling, tapping, punching, riveting, gluing, and screwing; and is especially beneficial when working with thin gauge materials due to the absence of reverse-side marring or discoloration. This process is suitable for studs ranging in size from #4-40 (M3) thru 3/8-16 (M10). Drawn Arc Stud Welding: The Process Drawn-arc stud welding is an extremely efficient method of attaching fasteners primarily to mild steel and stainless steel by utilizing a constant-current DC power supply, typically a 3-phase transformer-rectifier, equipped with integral controls to operate a special drawn-arc stud welding gun. When a weld is initiated, current begins to flow through the stud while the weld gun simultaneously lifts the stud to "draw an arc", which melts the base of the stud and adjoining surface on the work piece. Upon completion of the weld time, the gun plunges the stud back to

the work piece, resulting in a permanent bond as the molten material solidifies...all in less than one second. In general, the drawn-arc process is capable of welding a broad range of stud diameters (up thru 1-" or 32 mm) and to almost any material thickness above 0.040" (1 mm). To accommodate such a broad range, the process is actually split into two categories: Standard Drawn-Arc and Short-Cycle.

Standard drawn-arc is used with studs " (6 mm) diameter and larger, and base material thicknesses at least 1/3 the stud diameter. This process requires the use of flux-loaded studs and ceramic ferrules, included with the studs, to contain the molten material during the weld and form a fillet around the stud base. Short-cycle is an abbreviated version of drawn-arc for studs 3/8" (10 mm) and smaller, especially when welding to base materials as thin as 1/5 the stud diameter. With this method, the weld current is usually much higher and weld time much shorter (short-cycle), resulting in lighter penetration and less molten material, thereby eliminating the need for ceramic ferrules and fluxloaded studs, though shielding gas is often recommended. Friction Welding Friction welding (FW) is a class of solid-state joining processes Generates heat through mechanical friction between a moving work piece and a stationary component, with the addition of a lateral force called "thrust load" to plastically displace and fuse the materials. When sufficient energy input has occurred (length loss), the rotation is stopped and thrust load increased, to forge the parts together and form a solid state bond. Friction welding is used with metals and thermoplastics in a wide variety of aviation and automotive applications Spin Welding Linear Welding Friction Surfacing Friction Stir Welding

Spin Welding Spin Welding uses rotational motion and high axial pressures (thrust load) to convert rotational energy into frictional heat at a circular interface. The heat produced by this rubbing action raises the inter-surface temperature of the two parts to the plastic state where the high thrust load extrudes metal from the weld region to form an upset. When sufficient energy input has occurred (length loss), the rotation is stopped and thrust load increased, to forge the parts together and form a solid state bond. Rotary friction welding is very energy efficient compared to most competitive welding processes

Linear Welding Linear friction welding (LFW) is similar to spin welding except that the moving chuck oscillates laterally instead of spinning. The speeds are much lower in general, which requires the pieces to be kept under pressure at all times. This also requires the parts to have a high shear strength. Linear friction welding requires more complex machinery than spin welding, but has the advantage that parts of any shape can be joined, as opposed to parts with a circular meeting point.

Friction Stir Welding A constantly rotated cylindrical-shouldered tool with a profiled nib is transversely fed at a constant rate into a butt joint between two clamped pieces of material.

The nib is slightly shorter than the weld depth required, with the tool shoulder riding atop the work surface. Frictional heat is generated between the wear-resistant welding components and the work pieces. This heat, along with that generated by the mechanical mixing process and the adiabatic heat within the material, cause the stirred materials to soften without melting. As the pin is moved forward, a special profile on its leading face forces plasticised material to the rear where clamping force assists in a forged consolidation of the weld.

Advantages The combination of fast joining times, and direct heat input at the weld interface, yields relatively small heat-affected zones. Friction welding techniques are generally melt-free, which avoids grain growth in engineered materials. Clean weld surface. Allows dissimilar materials to be joined. Friction welding can be used with thermoplastics. Friction welds often cost less UNDER WATER WELDING Underwater welding provides a means to assemble or repair underwater. This is a highly useful technology available that allows repairs of ships damaged during hurricanes or wars. There are a couple of alternatives available, which include clamped and grouted repairs and bolted flanges. However, these alternatives do not always provide satisfactory results and also introduces high loading at offshore structures. This is a highly specialized trade and most people are employed in the oil or shipping industry and the military. Underwater welding process can be classified into the following two categories: Wet Welding Dry Welding

In the case of Wet Welding, the welding is performed underwater, directly exposed to the wet environment. A special electrode is used and welding is carried out manually as in open air welding. As freedom of movement is permissible, wet welding is most effective, efficient and economical. The welding power and supply is located on the surface and is connected to the welder using cables or hoses. The advantages of wet welding are: The cost is very low especially when compared to dry welding. The speed with which the task can be carried out is very high. As the equipment required are very less, the welding can be carried out immediately with minimal planning.

The disadvantages of wet welding are: The weld is quenched rapidly in the water. Although, this is good in a way as quenching increases the tensile strength of the weld, it decreases the ductility and impact strength and also makes the weld very porous. The visibility of the welder is poor. The amount of voltage that can be used is very limited and a lot of precaution has to be taken to ensure that the welder does not receive electric shocks. Dry Welding In the case of Dry Welding, also known as Hyperbaric welding, it is carried out in a chamber sealed around the structure to be welded. The chamber is filled with a gas, normally helium containing 0.5 bar oxygen. The chamber is fitted on to the pipeline and filled with the breathable mixture of air described above and the pressure is maintained slightly above the pressure at which welding is to take place. The gas tungsten arc welding process is used. The advantages of dry welding are: Welding can be performed immune to ocean currents and marine animals. The welds are of a better quality when compared to the welds of wet welding as water does not quench the welds. Joint preparation and pipe alignment can be monitored visually from the surface. The disadvantages of dry welding are: Large support equipment is required at the surface to support the chamber which by itself is very complex. The cost involved in dry welding is high and the cost increases with increase in depth where the welding is to be carried out. The reusability of the chamber is very limited.

Risks and Precautions Both the welder and the structures being welded are at risk when underwater welding is used. The welder has to be very careful so as to avoid receiving an electric shock. For this, adequate precaution must be taken to insulate the welder and limiting the voltage of welding sets. Secondly, pockets of hydrogen and oxygen are built up by the arc and are potentially explosive. Lastly, the welder has to keep in mind that nitrogen is built up in the bloodstream when exposed to air at high pressure under the water and hence must take adequate precaution. For the structures that are being welded underwater, although inspection is very difficult when compared to surface welding, it is a must. The weld must be inspected very carefully to confirm that no defects remain.

Diffusion Bonding Diffusion welding (DFW) is a solid state welding process by which two metals (which may be dissimilar) can be bonded together. Diffusion involves the migration of atoms across the joint, due to concentration gradients. The two materials are pressed together at an elevated temperature usually between 50 and 70% of the melting point. The pressure is used to relieve the void that may occur due to the different surface topographies. Applications DFW is usually used on sheet metal structures. Typical materials that are welded include titanium, beryllium, and zirconium. It is usually used on low volume workpieces mainly for aerospace,nuclear, and electronics industries. In many military aircraft diffusion bonding will help to allow for the conservation of expensive strategic materials and the reduction of manufacturing costs. Some aircraft have over 100 diffusion-bonded parts, including; fuselages, outboard and inboard actuator fittings, landing gear trunnions, and nacelle frames.

Cold Welding (CW) Cold Welding is a Solid State Welding process, in which two work pieces are joined together at room temperature and under a pressure, causing a substantial deformation of the welded parts and providing an intimate contact between the welded surfaces. As a result of the deformation, the oxide film covering the welded parts breaks up, and clean

metal surfaces reveal. Intimate contact between these pure surfaces provide a strong and defectless bonding. It uses mechanical force or pressure to bring two metallic surfaces in intimate contact. Then interatomic forces are developed to complete the weld, while considerable plastic deformation is taking place. The need for metal distortion and flow to perform Cold welding, excludes that brittle materials could be joined by this process. However many combinations of ductile dissimilar metals can be joined by Cold-welding, even those that could never be joined by fusion welding. There is no fusion of either metal, so that welding performed cold is included in the class of solid state welding processes. To be successful cold welding must provide for the disruption of surface oxides if they are present. Only by reducing them to separate tiny particles, they do not interfere with the process. Shattering of the oxides during material flow is due to their brittle nature. Microscopic observations confirm that the interface becomes a phase boundaryand that oxides are not interfering with the soundness of the bond. Many variants of the basic Cold-welding process are known to have been implemented. Deformations can be made in lap or butt configuration and can involve press forming, drawing and extrusion. Roll Welding is a process variant, dealt with separately. (Click on the link to see the page). Lap Cold welding could be explained as a variant of resistance spot welding, where two overlapping sheets are joined at separate spots. Except that no current and no heating are involved, and there is no fusion. Instead considerable deformation is generated in the transversal direction to that of the applied pressure.

Aluminum alloys, Copper alloys, low carbon steels, Nickel alloys, and other ductile metals may be welded by Cold Welding.

Cold Welding is widely used for manufacturing bi-metal steel - aluminum alloy strips, for cladding of aluminum alloy strips by other aluminum alloys or pure aluminum (Corrosion protection coatings). Bi-metal strips are produced by Rolling technology. Presses are also used for ColdWelding.

Cold Welding may be easily automated. 3.6.2 Processes Based on Organic Binders Various types of organic binders have long been in use and have lately become very popular for the production of high quality castings of small to medium size. These processes were initially developed for making cores, but in spite of the high cost involved they have found use in mould making as well. This is because they produce castings of superior quality and can considerably shorten the production cycles. The processes using organic binders include: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) shell moulding: hot box moulding; cold box moulding; alkyd and phenolic no-bake processes; furan process; and gas-setting resin process.

(2) Hot Box Moulding This process is a refinement of shell moulding. A resin similar to that used in shell moulding is applied for coating the sand grains. Then the resin-sand mix is blown over the heated pattern or core box. which in this case is not turned over to allow shell formation, but instead the bulk of sand in the mould is heated and allowed to form a solid mass. The cores or moulds obtained are relatively free from distortion or shrinkage and the accuracy of dimensions is greater than in the case of shell moulding.

For small sizes, for which the method has been largely adopted, very high rates of production are achieved- The process has been applied particularly in core making. Today, there are special hot box machines where the sand mix is blown over the heated pattern, the blown sand cured, and then the mould or core stripped from the pattern or core box. Proprietary resins are available for hot box work for cast iron, steel, and non-ferrous metals. Those for cast iron

are usually the phenolic thermosetting type, modified with urea. For steel, S.G. iron, etc., zero nitrogen furan resin is excellent and for non-ferrous work, a straight furan type resin is found suitable. Hot box resins are covered by IS: 12424-1988. (3) Cold Box Moulding This method is the latest development in moulding using organic resin binders and is now tending to replace even the hot box process. Its overwhelming advantage is that no heating of patterns is required, the curing being obtained simply by passing a gaseous catalyst through the blown mass of sand in the core box. The process is excellent for mass production as its production rate is much faster than that of the shell or the hot box method. Besides saving heat energy and its high productivity, this process gives lower gas evolution, higher dimensional accuracy and better surface finish to the casting, good collapsibility, better resistance to erosion and lower scrap rate. The resins for the cold box process are proprietary and are available under different brand names. The difficulty with the process is that special equipment, which is expensive, is required for blowing the catalyst gas through the core box. Further, the gas is toxic and poisonous and is dangerous if inhaled and, therefore, it must not be allowed to leak into the atmosphere. Still, the process is extremely suitable for small-sized castings required in big quantities. The total time to prepare a core could be well within 20-30 seconds. The cold box process for core making involves mixing fine dry sand with a polyisocyanate binder and an alkyd phenolic resin, blowing the vapour (TEA liquid atomised in air) through the core box. After the excess gas passes through the core box, it is introduced into a scrubber solution where all of it is dissolved to prevent it from escaping into the air (Fig. 3.44). After gassing, air or C02 is passed through the system to remove unused gas and pump it out through the exhaust manifold. The cured core is then ready for ejection from the core box. The cores made by the cold box process do not require dressing, provided the base sand is of good quality. However, if dressing is absolutely necessary, a water-based type is desirable. It is applied after curing, and is torched thoroughly. The shell, hot box and cold box processes are essentially for mechanised production of small castings required in large quantities. In fact these processes are economical only when, they are used with an adequate degree of mechanisation. There remain a large range of castings which, though not ordered in bulk, are required to

achieve a high degree of accuracy and finish at short notice with low fettling and machining costs. For fulfilling the need of such castings, no-bake, cold curing processes using liquid catalysts have been developed. (4) Alkyd No-Bake Sands With normal drying oils resins, which are rigid and brittle materials, are added to strengthen and harden the drying oil film. Resins are derivatives of petrochemicals. The Alkyd Resins, used in core oils, are formed by the reaction of phthalic anhydride with glycerol). The hydroxyl groups in the glycerol react with the acid groups in the anhydride to produce, long chains. These chains act to bond the aggregate further and will produce three dimensional structures. These resins can be modified by substituting fatty acid for some of the phthalic anhydride to get more plasticity. Solvents like turpentine, kerosene or mineral spirits are added to resin oil mixtures to improve flowability. Some alkyd resins are accelerated by isocyanate to harden into a solid sand mass more quickly. Cold Box process uses this type. As in the case of Air-hardening process, Alkyd no-bake system consists of Binder, Hardener and Catalyst The binder is drying oil containing some oil modified alkyd resins, which is of proprietary nature. Manufacturers can formulate different grades suiting to the customer's need. The hardener is cobalt- or lead-napthanate which is the reacted product between cobalt/lead salts and napthanic acid. The catalyst is isocyanate. In this process, curing of the binder takes place in two stages. Initially the isocyanate reacts with the reduced moisture in the sand and with hydroxyl groups of the oil modified alkyd resin to

give a bond, which is relatively weak, but strong enough to allow the stripping of the core from the pattern. The second stage of the curing involves reaction of the unsaturated drying oils with oxygen in the air. resulting in polymerization as in the core oil system. Metallic napthanates will also catalyse the oxygen cross-linking in combination with isocyanate. A 3-part Alkyd system for a particular recipe can be described as "2.5:5:20". (i) Part-A: The first figure is the proportion of Binder (i.e. Part-A) in percentage. It is based on the weight of sand. (ii) Part-B: The middle figure is the proportion of Accelerator or Hardner (i.e. Part-B) in percentage. It is based on the weight of Binder (i.e. Part-A). (iii) Part-C: The last figure is the proportion of Catalyst or Cross Linking Agent (i.e. Part-C) in percentage. It is also based on the weight of Binder (i.e. Part-A). Such a recipe will work better and give best results when used in that proportion only. Any deviation from this will give poor results. In this regard the major role is played by part-C. Thus an alkyd designed for 20% part-C (No-Bake), when used as Semi-Bake (8%- part-C) will give slower setting. If proportion of partC is increased it will result in drastically reduced bench life and final strength will also be lower. Order of Addition of Ingredients While mixing Sand. Resin Binder Part-A and Accelerator Part-B should be premixed first and added to the sand, and then the addition of cross-linking Agent Part-C should be made. In this case, the initial strength development will be relatively slow and steady. The final strength development will be good. But. if Binder Part-A and Cross-linking Agent Part-C are pre-mixed and added to the sand, followed by Accelerator Part-B. initial strength development will be faster, sacrificing the final strength. The reason could be due to: 1. Alkyd is the binder for sand grains and cross-linking agent is the active hardener. When cross-linking agent is added first to the sand, the initial coating of the sand grains is done with the cross-linking agent. Bond strength of cross linking agent and sand is lower and so is final strength. 2. Initial faster rate of reaction can be explained by the fact that, in this system mulling time after addition of cross-linking agent is more than with conventional mixing, resulting in initial high strength. Hence it is advisable to pre-mix Part-A and Part-B and add to the sand, followed by Part-C. After adding Part-C, i.e. cross-linking agent excess mulling should be avoided as it will lead to

friability and low final strength development. Optimum mixing/mulling time should be determined and followed.

(5) Phenolic No-Bake Sands Phenolic no-bake binders were introduced around 1960. This 2-part system works well for both smaller and larger castings. Continuous mixers are used to get desired work/strip time and ihc production is faster. There is no need to bake the moulds or cores in the oven. The binder gives better hot strength. Phenolic no-bake are alkaline condensates of Phenol and formaldehyde. The phenolics are also completely nitrogen free and are well suited for the production of steel and iron castings, where pin-hole avoidance is necessary. With the introduction of strong acid catalysts based on sulfonic acids, some of the problems associated with curing and deep set properties were overcome.

(7) Graphite Mould Casting Graphite has been successfully used as a mould material for producing steel castings, particularly wheels for railway wagons and coaches. Graphite does not fuse with molten steel at high temperatures, has high resistance to burn-in allowing clean withdrawal of the casting from the mould, high resistance to thermal shock, low coefficient of expansion and ability to resist distortion. Thus, the mould once prepared from graphite blocks by machining can be used repetitively, though special measures, such as pressure pouring have to be adopted to prevent erosion of mould walls and to regulate the rate of entry of metal into the mould.

(5) Vacuum Moulding Vacuum molding was developed a few years ago in Japan. Its main advantage is that it does away with the use of binders and moisture as sand ingredients. The mould is prepared with dry sand and the required compaction and the shape of mould cavity are obtained by using vacuum. The procedure used to prepare the mould is shown schematically in Fig. 3.48. As neither binder nor water is required in the mould, a clean environment is possible, fettling problems are eliminated, and no sand conditioning is necessary. Mould production is quite fast and moulding machines can produce 90 to 100 moulds per hour.

(A) (B) (C) (D)

Pattern set on hollow carrier plate. Thin plastic sheet softened by heater. Softened-sheet dropped over pattern and vacuum created in carrier plate. Double-walled flask set on pattern, flask filled with dry sand and vibrated, sprue formed, mould levelled. Sprue opening and mould top covered with plastic sheet. Vacuum applied to flask. Sand gets compacted. (E) Vacuum in carrier plate released and mould stripped. (F) Cope and drag moulds assembled, having plastic-lined cavity. Vacuum in flasks main tained during pouring and later, till casting solidifies. On releasing vacuum, sand drops leaving clean casting.

The process however requires special pattern plates and double walled flasks for effecting vacuum, efficient venting system in the inner face of flasks to prevent the sand particles from being sucked by the vacuum pump, a device of stretching and heating plastic sheet and a powerful vacuum pump. Sand grains must be carefully selected for successful operation. For maximum compaction, a two-screen sand (70% of 70 mesh size and 30% of 270 mesh size) is employed. A vibratory frequency of 3000 cycles per minutes is used for a few seconds to cause compaction.

Modified V process makes use of an EPS pattern, duly applied with a refractory coating. Loose dry sand grains are poured around the pattern and compacted by vibration followed by application of vacuum to achieve full consolidation of sand. Thus, vacuum in the process needs to be applied only during pouring and for a short time thereafter. While plain V process is suitable for simpleshaped castings needing minimum coring, modified process can be applied for complex-shaped castings, as well. (3) Dicalcium Silicate or Fluid Sand Process Dicalcium silicate has been found to be a very effective hardening agent when used with sodium silicate as a binder. Unlike the Fe-Si process where hardening is due to exothermic reaction, the chemical reactions taking place in this process do not cause any evolution of heat. Synthetically produced dicalcium silicate can be used for the purpose. Slags from certain melting or reduction processes, such as basic-lined hot blast cupola, open-hearth furnace, and ferro-chrome production, contain an appreciable quantity of dicalcium silicate and are quite suitable. The rate of hardening depends on the grain fineness of the silicate and the temperature of the sand. The fineness of the silicate grains should not be less than 200 mesh. The higher the temperature, the quicker the reaction and the shorter the bench life. To prepare the mix, about 2-3% of dicalcium silicate and 5% sodium silicate arc mixed with sand, along with suitable foaming chemicals. The mix can flow easily in the mould, thus eliminating any need for ramming. Mixing time is from 3-5 minutes, and the bench life in temperate climate, as in this country, is not more than 25-30 minutes. The sodium silicate used in this process should have a high mass ratio (1:2.3 to 1:2.8) and specific gravity 1.48 to 1.50. The fluid sand process finds its main application in medium and heavy castings, both in grey iron and steel, such as ingot moulds, heavy machine tool castings, steel mill rolls, castings for cement and the mining industry, and pump castings. The main advantage of the process is the great saving in labour input and moulding equipment. No drying or baking facilities arc needed and high-quality defect-free castings are produced. The process has gained wide popularity in many European countries, the USSR, and Japan, and has been introduced in Indian foundries also.' In order to guide foundries to adopt the fluid sand process, test methods have been laid down in IS: 9674-1980. Tests are prescribed for flowability, bench life, bulk density, compressive strength, permeability, sagging tendency, collapsibility, hardener fineness, waterabsorption capacity, hardener activity, foamability, and residual water content. High Pressure Moulding High pressure moulding uses a compacting process for the production of green sand moulds. The force of compaction required is much higher (about 5-10 times) than that for conventional moulding machine work. The squeeze force is usually applied hydraulically as this enables high production rates and noiseless operation. Since the process has been found to offer technical and economic advantages for both the producer and the consumer, special machines have been developed to achieve the necessary high compaction pressures. It is worthy of note that once the machines and related equipment arc installed, production can be carried on uninterruptedly with

the same moulding materials as are used in ordinary moulding work, abiding by green sand practice. Figure 3.38 shows the construction of a high pressure moulding machine. The process is highly flexible and is suitable for all types of cast metals, both ferrous and nonferrous. Closer dimensional tolerances can be maintained and less machining allowances are required, causing casting to be lighter by 3-7%. But since the initial cost of the equipment is high and the sand control requirements precise, high pressure moulding is considered worthwhile only for mass production work using close cycle operation. Flaskless moulds are generally used with high pressure moulding (Fig. 3.39). The moulding boxes, in which the moulds arc made, are not fixed but of the hinged type so that moulds can be removed from the box after they are compacted. To protect these moulds from damage or distortion, a sheet metal jacket is placed around them. The boxes used are snap flask moulding boxes and their design and specifications are covered by IS: 10518-1983. The use of flaskless moulds helps in considerably reducing the inventory of regular moulding boxes, reduced weights to be transported over conveyers, easier shake-out, saving of foundry space and reduced transportation. The range of squeeze pressures used in conventional jolt squeeze moulding machines is from 1.5 kg/cm2 to 5 kg/cm2. In high pressure moulding, however, pressures vary from 7 kg/cm2 to 25 kg/cm2 and may be as high as 40 kg/cm2. Contrary to the common belief that mould hardness increases in proportion with the increase in squeeze pressure, in practice it is seen that hardness increases at a steep rate with pressure only up to about 4.6 kg/cm2. Any further exertion of squeeze pressure causes negligible rise in mould hardness. Properly controlled sand composition, which is a prerequisite, enables just adequate permeability for the gases to escape, coupled with sufficient strength, hardness, and other characteristics. The moisture content used in sand mix is usually not more than 2.5%. Comparatively higher clay content is used with suitable additives such-as dextrin so as to control the spring-back tendency of sand and prevent mould distortion. For uniform composition of sand all over the pattern, especially when the latter is of varying height, a contoured squeeze head is used. A self-contoured squeeze head, which can automatically adjust itself, is found ideal for overconvng the difficulty of preparing a squeeze head of a fixed contour for each pattern. The head consists of a large number of squeeze feet, each with its own piston and hydraulic cylinder. Each cylinder is hydraulically connected through one or more manifolds. During the squeeze operation, the pistons are fully extended and apply pressure on the sand. Each piston continues the squeeze action through its squeeze feet till a pre-set value of pressure is reached. At this instant, the cylinder is no longer capable of resisting any further pressure and a relief valve operates causing the pistons to yield and a contoured squeeze head is formed to suit the shape of the pattern. It is essential for patterns used in high pressure moulding to have fine finish and polish, high strength and rigidity, so as to enable easy stripping, good wear resistance and hardness, and accuracy. The patterns are made of cast iron, steel, or epoxy resin. Sometimes, aluminium patterns are also used; wooden patterns are not favoured. Large patterns are provided with suitable ribs and may also have supporting plates. Wear strips may also be inserted at places where greater wear is expected. In the case of cast iron patterns, chrome-plating ensures good finish.

Various processes used to achieve compac-tion in high pressure moulding are: 1.Blow Squeeze The most common practice followed in high pressure moulding is blow squeeze where the moulding sand is blown pneumatically over the pattern and then the squeezing of sand is carried out. The process is satisfactory, producing good quality rigid moulds and is quieter in operation than the jolt squeeze machine but the prccompaction obtained by blowing is limited and not uniform in large moulds. Improved methods have been lately incorporated in the new generation moulding machines which are more efficient and productive. 2. Impact Moulding This process uses cither air impulse or gas injection system in order to use impact force to achieve a high degree of compaction in a very short time, the latter being controlled by the fast build-up of pressure in a closed moulding chamber. Gas injection utilises combustion of a gas/air mixture {natural gas, methane or propane), as in case of I.C. engine. In an air-impulse system, the pressure build-up is caused by releasing compressed air at high pressure on the back of loosely filled sand. Both systems are effective and allow compaction in one operating cycle, have high operational reliability, less down time, reduced maintenance costs, reduced noise and dust emissions and controlled shock-free movements. However, the compaction at the edges in the fast may be low, due to which the pattern plate cannot be fully utilised. 3.Shoot Squeeze The sand in this system is ejected from a shorter head and is made to impinge on the pattern under heavy force. The shooting operation, thus causes pre-compaction of sand, which is then followed by a high pressure squeeze for full compaction. The process is efficient and productive, less noisy than blow squeeze machines and incurs lower operating costs. The machine can produce moulds weighing 500 kg in a cycle time of 45 to 60 seconds. Magnetic Moulding In Magnetic Moulding method the pattern is embedded in iron sand containing fine iron shots, iron oxide powder, or grinding swarf. The flask carrying the iron sand and pattern is surrounded by an electromagnet and a magnetic field of about 2000 gauss created (for a flask size of 600 mm x 600 mm x 200 mm). The magnetic field causes easy flow of moulding material into and around the pattern recesses and enables it to get fully consolidated. The mould is highly permeable as it is completely dry. The molten metal is then poured as in full mould casting. When the casting has solidified sufficiently, the magnetic field is broken by switching off the current to the electromagnet. The mould instantaneously disintegrates and the casting becomes available without requiring any cleaning or fettling. The same iron sand can be used over and over again after cooling. This process, called magnetic moulding, has been adopted in some foundries for the production of automobile components. Metal Injection Moulding Many of the manufacturing processes applied to plastics can be traced to metal processing techniques. However, metal injection moulding (MIM) is an example where the reverse holds. Figure 6.14 illustrates a typical MIM process flowchart. The essential difference from more

traditional P/M processing is that the metal powder is intimately mixed with organic thermoplastic binders to form a plastic jell that is injected into moulds, as opposed to the gravity filling of powder into dies. Early applications of MIM utilized moulding equipment developed for plastic injection moulding. After removing the moulded 'green' part from the moulding machine, the binder is removed by evaporation or a solvent extraction technique, possibly followed by curing to burn off any remaining binder. Depending on the part geometry, binder removal may take a few hours to a few days to complete. Finally, the parts are sintered and, if necessary, secondary forming operations applied.

For the powder to be readily injectable requires fine powder, typically from 0.5-20 micro m in diameter. Such fine powders, sometimes referred to as metallic dust, are relatively easily dispersed into the air, potentially causing a health hazard if inhaled or, as virgin metal dusts are pyrophoric, causing an explosion hazard. The explosive nature of metallic powders and dusts is associated with a high surface energy per unit mass and exothermic oxidation reactions. In some cases, metallic powders and dusts are slowly exposed to an oxidizing atmosphere to passivate the particle surfaces in a controlled manner. Metal powders and dusts are most suitably stored and shipped in containers pressurized with an inert gas. The primary advantage of the MIM process is that complex shapes with excellent dimensional accuracy and greater than 99% density can be produced. The process tends to be more expensive than traditional P/M processes. However, for the complex shapes produced, other manufacturing options such as machining may be equally or more expensive than MIM. Since the late 1980s

MIM has found increasing use for the manufacture of jewellery, computer hardware, and other relatively small but intricately shaped parts.

Compocasting. One unusual technique for producing paniculate-reinforced castings is based on the thixotropic behavior of partly liquid-partly solid melts. A liquid alloy is allowed to cool until about 40% solids have formed; during solidification the solid-liquid mixture is vigorously stirred to break up the dendritic structure (Figure 16-9). The resulting solid-liquid slurry has thixotropic behaviorthe slurry behaves as a solid when no stress is applied, but flows like a liquid when pressure is exerted. If a particulate material is introduced to the molten metal during cooling and stirring, a uniform dispersion is produced. The thixotropic slurry containing the paniculate is injected into a die under pressure; this process is termed compocast ing. A variety of materials, including Al2O3, SiC, TiC, and glass beads, have been incorporated into aluminum and magnesium alloys by this technique.

thixocasting

In thixocasting process semi solid metal is subjected to compressive force inside a die and the metal shaped as required.

Working Principle of Thixocasting Process

In Thixocasting, a known quantity of metal is heated in a furnace to its softening point then subjected to external force when kept inside a die cavity. Since the metal is subjected to squeezing action, when it is plastic state or semi solid state, it is referred as Thixocasting.

In thixocasting ingots produced by conventional routes are cut to size as required. These cut pieces are kept in a furnace maintained at a known temperature. When the metal reaches a pasty zone as indicated by an indicator semisolid metal is transferred into the cavity and forced between two dies. The dies used for t he purpose are capable of withstanding wear and tear and high temperature. The semisolid metal cools very fast and gets solidified. The component is withdrawn, the casting is ejected out.

The thixocasting setup details will exactly look similar to a pressure die casting or squeeze casting. RheoCasting

In rhcocasting, a slurry (a solid suspended in a liquid) is received from a melt furnace and is cooled, then magnetically stirred prior to injecting it into a mold or die. Rhcocasting has been successfully applied with aluminum and magnesium and has been used to produce engine blocks, crankcases (as for motorcycles or lawn-mowers), and various marine applications.