Shape-casting Titanium in Olivine, Garnet, Chromite, and Zircon Rammed and Shell Molds.
In seeking substitutes for such critical metals as chromium, cobalt, and nickel, the Bureau of Mines investigated techniques for shape- casting titanium in rammed sand molds. Castings were made in olivine, garnet, chromite, and, for comparison, zircon. It was found that commercial-grade castings up to 31 lb (maximum capacity of furnace) could be made in zircon or olivine molds if a zirconia mold wash was used. Castings up to 4 lb could be made in chromite molds, but heavier castings suffered from some mold-metal reaction. Garnet molds were found to be unsatisfactory for castings of all sizes because of gas blows and rough surfaces. In other tests shell castings of acceptable quality were produced in water-glass-bonded zircon and olivine molds up to weights of 8 lb, but chromite molds were unsatisfactory because rough casting surfaces were caused by mold-metal reaction. Unlike the currently used commercial processes, neither the rammed-sand nor the shell-molding processes developed by the Bureau of Mines generate noxious fumes at any step.