Lost Foam Casting: Improved Relations
Lost foam casting continues to grow in popularity among casting companies because it enables them to produce near-net-shaped components of high complexity with thin walls and other fine-scale features, parts that require fewer gaskets to assemble. And, since there is little need to use binders in the sand, the sand used for their molds can be re-used, saving more money.
Flow Science continues to work with research organizations and other groups of interested companies to maintain its lead in this important modeling area. One such group is the Lost Foam Consortium, a loose association of automobile, casting, supply, engineering, university and researchers. Flow Science is an active participant in the Consortium, providing modeling input and accepting challenges to develop methods to enable engineers to model more aspects of the lost foam casting process.
Flow Science has also been working with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) under its cooperative agreement with the US Department of Energy to advance the technology of the lost foam process. Under this project, Flow Science has run numerous simulations to make comparisons between predictions of filling and probable defect locations with real-world parts from casting companies. Also, further extensions have been made to FLOW-3D's lost foam model, such as adding the ability to model variable foam pattern densities, the generation of gas from degrading foam patterns and the escape of gases through the coating and into the sand.
The relationship between the modeling firepower provided by FLOW-3D and the state-of-the-art experimental facilities of UAB's Lost Foam Technology Center is improving industry's knowledge and understanding of the process control measures required to produce high quality, high precision castings.