This paper analyses the influence of the applied microwave power output on the intensification of drying in the context of process kinetics and product quality. The study involved testing samples of beech wood (Fagus sylvatica L.). Wood samples were dried in the microwave chamber at: 168 W, 210 W, 273 W, 336 W and 378 W power output level. For comparison, wood was dried convectively at 40 ◦C and 87% air relative humidity. The analysis of drying process kinetics involved nonlinear regression employing the Gompertz model. Dried samples were subjected to static bending tests in order to specify the influence of the applied microwave power on modulus of elasticity (MOE) and modulus of rapture (MOR). The obtained correlations of results were verified statistically. Analysis of drying kinetics, strength test results and Tukey’s test showed that the applied microwaves of a relatively low level significantly shortened the drying time, but did not cause a reduction in the final quality of dried wood, compared with conventional drying.
The paper presents results of preliminary examinations on possibility of determining binder content in traditional moulding sands with the microwave method. The presented measurements were carried-out using a special stand, the so-called slot line. Binder content in thesandmix was determined by measurements of absorption damping Ad and insertion losses IL of electromagnetic wave. One of main advantages of the suggested new method of binder content measurement is short measuring time.
The paper presents measurement results of standing wave ratio to be used as an efficiency indicator of microwave absorption by used moulding and core sands chosen for the microwave utilization process. The absorption measurements were made using a prototype stand of microwave slot line. Examined were five used moulding and core sands. It was demonstrated that the microwave absorption measurements can make grounds for actual microwave utilization of moulding and core sands.
Presented are results of a research on usability of an innovative reclamation process of microwave-hardened moulding sands containing water-glass, combined with activation of binder. After each subsequent stage of reclamation, quality of the reclaimed material was determined on the grounds of measurements of permeability and results of screen analysis. The reclaimed material was next used again to prepare new moulding sand. The sandmix based on high-silica sand prepared with water-glass grade 145, was subject to the following cyclical treatment operations: mixing components, consolidation, microwave hardening, cooling, heating the mould up to 800 °C, cooling to ambient temperature, mechanical reclamation dry and wet. It was found that the used-up and reclaimed sandmix containing water-glass is susceptible to the applied activation process of thermally reacted film of binder and, in addition, it maintains good quality and technological properties of high-silica base. Observations of surfaces of reclaimed high-silica grains with activated film of reacted inorganic binder were carried-out using a scanning microscope. Thanks to properly selected reclamation parameters, the high-silica base can be reused even five times, thus reducing demand for fresh aggregate and inorganic binder.
In the paper, an attempt was made to evaluate the effect of preliminary wetting of high-silica base during preparation of moulding sands containing a selected grade of sodium water-glass, designed for hardening by traditional drying or by electromagnetic microwaves at 2.45 GHz. In the research, some water was dosed during stirring the sandmix before adding 1.5 wt% of the binder that was unmodified sodium water-glass grade 137, characterised by high molar module within 3.2 to 3.4. Scope of the examinations included determining the effect of wetting the base on mechanical parameters like compression, bending and tensile strength, as well as on technological parameters like permeability, abrasion resistance and apparent density. The research revealed a significant positive effect of adding water to wet surfaces of high-silica base grains on mechanical properties and quality of moulding sands hardened by physical methods, in particular by microwave heating
In the paper, presented is a research on effectiveness of absorbing electromagnetic waves at frequency 2.45 GHz by unhardened moulding sands prepared of three kinds of high-silica base and a selected grade of sodium silicate. Measurements of power loss of microwave radiation (Pin) expressed by a total of absorbed power (Pabs), output power (Pout) and reflected power (Pref) were carried-out on a stand of semiautomatic microwave slot line. Values of microwave power loss in the rectangular waveguide filled with unhardened moulding sands served for determining effectiveness of microwave heating. Balance of microwave power loss is of technological and economical importance for manufacture of high-quality casting moulds and cores of various shapes and sizes. It was found that relative density influences parameters of power output and power reflected from samples of moulding sand placed in a waveguide. Absorption expressed by the parameter Pabs is not related to granularity of high-silica base: fine, medium and coarse. It was found that the semiautomatic microwave slot line supports evaluation of effectiveness of microwave absorption on the grounds of power loss measurements and enables statistic description of influence of relative density of the sandmix on penetration of electromagnetic waves in unhardened moulding sands.
Moulding sands containing sodium silicate (water-glass) belong to the group of porous mixture with low resistance to increased humidity. Thanks to hydrophilic properties of hardened or even overheated binder, possible is application of effective methods of hydrous reclamation consisting in its secondary hydration. For the same reason (hydrophilia of the binder), moulds and foundry cores made of high-silica moulding sands with sodium silicate are susceptible to the action of components of atmospheric air, including the contained steam. This paper presents results of a research on the effect of (relative) humidity on mechanical and technological properties of microwave-hardened moulding mixtures. Specimens of the moulding sand containing 1.5 wt% of sodium water-glass with module 2.5 were subjected, in a laboratory climatic chamber, to long-term action of steam contained in the chamber atmosphere. Concentration of water in atmospheric air was stabilized for 28 days (672 h) according to the relative humidity parameter that was ca. 40%, 60% and 80% at constant temperature 20 °C. In three cycles of the examinations, the specimens were taken out from the chamber every 7 days (168 h) and their mechanical and technological parameters were determined. It was found on the grounds of laboratory measurements that moulds and cores hardened with microwaves are susceptible to action of atmospheric air and presence of water (as steam) intensifies action of the air components on glassy film of sodium silicate. Microwave-hardened moulding sands containing sodium silicate may be stored on a longterm basis in strictly determined atmospheric conditions only, at reduced humidity. In spite of a negative effect of steam contained in the air, the examined moulding mixtures maintain a part of their mechanical and technological properties, so the moulds and foundry cores stored in specified, controlled conditions could be still used in manufacture.
In the paper presented are results of a research on influence of electrical and physico-chemical properties of materials being parts of multicomponent and multimaterial systems used in foundry practice on efficiency and effectiveness of microwave heating. Effectiveness of the process was evaluated on the grounds of analysis of interaction between selected parameters of permittivity and loss factor, as well as collective index of energy absorbed, reflected and transmitted by these materials. In the examinations used was a stand of waveguide resonance cavity for determining electrical properties and a stand of microwave slot line for determining balance of microwave power emitted into selected materials. The examinations have brought closer the possibility of forecasting the behaviour of multimaterial systems like e.g. model, moulding sand or moulding box in microwave field on the grounds of various electrical and physico-chemical properties. On the grounds of analysis of the results, possible was selecting a group of materials designed for building foundry instrumentation to be effectively used in electromagnetic field.
Within the research, selected multilayer technological systems created as combinations of water-glass containing moulding sand with foundry tooling, were characterised on the grounds of their electrical properties. By measuring resonance frequency and quality factor of a waveguide resonance cavity, real component of permittivity εr′ and loss tangent tgδ were determined for multilayer foundry systems with various qualitative and quantitative compositions. It was demonstrated that combination of a sandmix and foundry tooling with known dielectric properties results in a system with different physico-chemical properties, whose relation to the parameters of individual components of the system is undefined at this research stage. On the grounds of measurement results, theoretical value of microwave heating power, dissipated in unit volume of the selected multilayer foundry system, was determined. Knowledge of theoretical heating power and evaluation of physical, chemical and structural changes occurring in moulding sands exposed to microwaves in such a technological system makes a ground for empirical modelling of the process of microwave heating of foundry moulds and cores.
Presented are results of a preliminary research on determining a possibility to use microwave radiation for drying casting protective coatings applied on patterns used in the lost foam technology. Taken were measurements of permittivity εr and loss factor tgδ at 2.45 GHz, as well as attempts were made of microwave drying of a protective coating based on aluminium silicates, applied on shapes of foamed polystyrene and rigid polymeric foam. Time and results of microwave drying were compared with the results obtained by drying at 50 °C by the traditional method commonly used for removing water from protective coatings. Analysis of the obtained drying kinetics curves demonstrated that selection of proper operation parameters of microwave equipment permits the drying time to be significantly shortened. Depending on kind of the pattern material, drying process of a protective coating runs in a different way, resulting in obtaining different quality of the dried coating.
In the paper, an attempt is made to explain the previously observed increased effectiveness of utilising hydrated sodium water-glass grade 137 after hardening moulding sands with selected physical methods. In the modified process of preparing sandmixes, during stirring components, water as a wetting additive was introduced to the sand-binder system. Presented are examination results of influence of faster microwave heating and slower traditional drying of the so-prepared moulding sands on their tensile and bending strength, calculated per weight fraction of the binder. The measurement results were confronted with SEM observations of linking bridges and with chemical analyses of grain surfaces of high-silica base. On the grounds of comprehensive evaluation of hardened moulding sands, positive effects were found of the applied physical process of binder dehydration and presence of the wetting additive. It was observed that introduction of this additive during stirring, before adding the binder, improves flowing the binder to the places where durable linking bridges are created. It was also found that the applied methods of hardening by dehydration enable creation of very durable linking bridges, strongly connected with the sand base, which results in damages of high-silica grain surfaces, when the bridges are destroyed.
This paper presents the impact of microwave penetration depth on the process of heating the moulding sand with sodium silicate. For each material it is affected by: the wavelength in vacuum and the real and imaginary components of the relative complex electrical permittivity εrfor a selected measurement frequency. Since the components are not constant values and they change depending on the electrical parameters of materials and the frequency of the electromagnetic wave, it is indispensable to carry out laboratory measurements to determine them. Moreover, the electrical parameters of materials are also affected by: temperature, packing degree, humidity and conductivity. The measurements of the dielectric properties of moulding sand with sodium silicate was carried out using the perturbation method on a stand of waveguide resonance cavity. The real and imaginary components of the relative complex electrical permittivity was determined for moulding sand at various contents of sodium silicate and at various packing degrees of the samples. On the basis of the results the microwave penetration depth of moulding sand with sodium silicate was established. Relative literature contains no such data that would be essential to predicting an effective process of microwave heating of moulding sand with sodium silicate. Both the packing degree and the amount of sodium silicate in moulding sand turned out to affect the penetration depth, which directly translates into microwave power density distribution in the process of microwave heating of moulding sand with sodium silicate.
The paper presents the results of basic research on the influence of the properties of sand grains on electrical properties of water glass moulding sands. It shows electrical properties of the main component – sand grains, crucial to the kinetics of moulding sands heating, such as permittivity εr and loss factor tgδ. Measurements were carried out with the use of the perturbation method for silica, chromite and olivine sands of different mineral, chemical composition and particle size distribution, as well as for moulding sands with water glass grade 145. Analysis of the results of measurements of electrical properties shows that all moulding sands are characterized by a similar permittivity εr and loss factor tgδ. It was found that the electrical properties and the quantity and quality of other components may have a decisive influence on the effectiveness and efficiency of the microwave heating of moulding sands with sand grains. In determining the ability to efficiently absorb the microwave radiation for mixtures which moulding sands are, the impact of all components influencing their individual technological parameters should be taken into account.
Presented are results of a research on the possibility of using artificial neural networks for forecasting mechanical and technological parameters of moulding sands containing water-glass, hardened in the innovative microwave heating process. Trial predictions were confronted with experimental results of examining sandmixes prepared on the base of high-silica sand, containing various grades of sodium water-glass and additions of a wetting agent. It was found on the grounds of obtained values of tensile strength and permeability that, with use of artificial neural networks, it is possible complex forecasting mechanical and technological properties of these materials after microwave heating and the obtained data will be used in further research works on application of modern analytic methods for designing production technology of high-quality casting cores and moulds.