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Permanent mold casting (gravity die casting) is a casting process involving pouring a molten metal by

gravity into a steel (or cast iron) mold.

The permanent mold casting is similar to the sand casting process . In distinction from sand molds,
which are broken after each casting a permanent mold may be used for pouring of at least one thousand
and up to 120,000 casting cycles with the rate 5-100 castings/hour.

Manufacturing metal mold is much more expensive than manufacturing molds for Sand casting or
investment casting process mold. Minimum number of castings for profitable use of a permanent mold
is dependent on the complexity of its shape.

Ferrous and no-ferrous metals and alloys are cast by the permanent mold casting process: Aluminum
alloys, Copper alloys, Magnesium alloys, zinc alloys, steels and Cast irons.

Permanent mold casting process

The interior surfaces of the two parts (cope and drag) of a permanent mold are coated with a thin
ceramic coating. The mold is preheated before coating to 300-500F (150-260C).

The cores are inserted and installed in the mold assembly.

The mold is closed.

The molten metal is poured into the mold.

After the casting has solidified and cooled down to the desired temperature the mold is opened and
the casting is withdrawn from it.

The gating system is cut away from the casting.

The finish operations are carried out.

Advantages and disadvantages of permanent mold casting

Advantages of permanent mold casting process are determined by relatively high cooling rate caused by
solidification in metallic mold:

Better mechanical properties.

Homogeneous grain structure and chemical composition.

Low shrinkage and gas porosity.

Good surface quality: 40-250 inch (1-6 m) Ra.

Low dimensional tolerances: typically about 0.04 (1 mm}.

Little scrap process.

Disadvantages of permanent mold casting:

High cost of the molds.

Limitations in casting of high melting point metals into metallic molds.

Intrinsic and complex shapes can not be cast.

Large parts can not be cast.

Permanent mold casting is a metal casting process that employs reusable molds ("permanent molds"),
usually made from metal. The most common process uses gravity to fill the mold, however gas pressure
or a vacuum are also used. A variation on the typical gravity casting process, called slush casting,
produces hollow castings. Common casting metals are aluminium, magnesium, and copper alloys. Other
materials include tin, zinc, and lead alloys and iron and steel are also cast in graphite molds.[1][2]

Typical products are components such as gears, splines, wheels, gear housings, pipe fittings, fuel
injection housings, and automotive engine pistons.

Expendable-pattern casting (lost foam process)

The pattern used in this process is made from polystyrene (this is the light, white packaging material which is used
to pack electronics inside the boxes). Polystyrene foam is 95% air bubbles, and the material itself evaporates when
the liquid metal is poured on it.
The pattern itself is made by molding the polystyrene beads and pentane are put inside an aluminum mold, and
heated; it expands to fill the mold, and takes the shape of the cavity. The pattern is removed, and used for the casting
process, as follows:
- The pattern is dipped in a slurry of water and clay (or other refractory grains); it is dried to get a hard shell around
the pattern.
- The shell-covered pattern is placed in a container with sand for support, and liquid metal is poured from a hole on
- The foam evaporates as the metal fills the shell; upon cooling and solidification, the part is removed by breaking
the shell.
The process is useful since it is very cheap, and yields good surface finish and complex geometry. There are no
runners, risers, gating or parting lines thus the design process is simplified. The process is used to manufacture
crank-shafts for engines, aluminum engine blocks, manifolds etc.

Investment casting (lost wax process)

This is an old process, and has been used since ancient times to make jewellery therefore it is of great importance
to HK. It is also used to make other small (few grams, though it can be used for parts up to a few kilograms). The
steps of this process are shown in the figure 10 below.
An advantage of this process is that the wax can carry very fine details so the process not only gives good
dimensional tolerances, but also excellent surface finish; in fact, almost any surface texture as well as logos etc.
can be reproduced with very high level of detail.