The Bureau of Mines developed a zircon sand molding process for static casting of small titanium or zirconium shapes. Castings with unfinished weights up to 3.5 Kg (7.7 Lb) were produced in an inductoslag furnace and castings up to 7 kg (15.4 Lb) were poured in a consumable electrode skull-casting furnace. Molds and cores were made by ram-molding, foundry-grade zircon sand (afs gfn 93 to 95) bonded by grade d waterglass and tempered with water. Molds and cores were cured either at 250 deg c (482 deg f) or 900 deg c (1,652 deg f). Castings from the higher temperature molds broke cleanly from the sand while the lower temperature molds produced castings that had to be cleaned by sand-blasting. However, low-temperature cured molds and cores have a number of advantages as follows: (1) a faster, less energy-consuming curing cycle is used; (2) expended cores are water soluble which greatly facilitates core removal; and (3) enough of the binder in crushed expended molds is reactivated by temper water so that the molding mix can be reused five times without any fresh binder additions and up to twenty times without exceeding a total cumulative binder addition of 52 ml/kg dry sand. Crushed used molds that had been cured at 900 deg c had no detectable binding strength when mixed only with temper water. A large number of oxide and silicate mold washes were studied for improved casting integrity. The most effective wash found for zirconium or titanium casting was monoclinic zirconia (325 mesh).
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