The organo-inorganic commercial binder Albertine F/1 (Hüttenes-Albertus) constituting the starch-aluminosilicate mixture was directed to structural studies. The paper presents a detailed structural analysis of the binder before and after exposure to physical curing agents (microwaves, high temperature) based on the results of infrared spectroscopy studies (FTIR). An analysis of structural changes taking place in the binder system with the quartz matrix was also carried out. Based on the course of the obtained IR spectra, it was found that during the exposure on physical agents there are structural changes within the hydroxyl groups in the polymeric starch chains and silanol groups derived from aluminosilicate as well as in the quartz matrix (SiO2). The curing of the molding sand takes place due to the evaporation of the solvent water and the formation of intramolecular and intermolecular cross-linking hydrogen bonds. Type and amount of hydrogen bonds presence in cured molding sand have an impact on selected properties of molding sand. Results indicates that for molding sand with Albertine F/1 during conventional heating a more extensive network of hydrogen bonds is created.
The paper presents results of initial research on the possibility of applying microwave radiation in an innovative process of making casting moulds from silica sand, where gypsum CaSO4∙2H2O was acting as a binding material. In the research were compared strengths and technological properties of moulding mixture subjected to: natural bonding process at ambient temperature or natural curing with additional microwave drying or heating with the use of microwaves immediately after samples were formed. Used in the research moulding sands, in which dry constituents i.e. sand matrix and gypsum were mixed in the ratio: 89/11. On the basis of the results of strength tests which were obtained by various curing methods, beneficial effect of using microwaves at 2.45 GHz for drying up was observed after 1, 2 and 5 hours since moisture sandmix was formed. Applying the microwaves for hardening just after forming the samples guarantees satisfactory results in the obtained mechanical parameters. In addition, it has been noted that, from a technological and economic point of view, drying the silica sand with gypsum binder in microwave field can be an alternative to traditional molding sand technologies.