Ablation casting is a technological process in which the increased cooling rate causes microstructure refinement, resulting in improved mechanical properties of the final product. This technology is particularly suitable for the manufacture of castings with intricate shapes and thin walls. Currently, the ablation casting process is not used in the Polish industry. This article presents the results of strength tests carried out on moulding sands based on hydrated sodium silicate hardened in the Floster S technology, intended for ablation casting of the AlSi7Mg (AK7) aluminium alloy. When testing the bending and tensile strengths of sands, parameters such as binder and hardener content were taken into account. The sand mixtures were tested after 24h hardening at room temperature. The next stage of the study describes the course of the ablation casting process, starting with the manufacture of foundry mould from the selected moulding mixture and ending in tests carried out on the ready casting to check the surface quality, structure and mechanical properties. The results were compared with the parallel results obtained on a casting gravity poured into the sand mould and solidifying in a traditional way at ambient temperature.
In sand moulds, at a distance of 3 mm from the metal- mould interface, the sensors of temperature, and of oxygen and hydrogen content were installed. Temperature and the evolution of partial gas pressure have been analysed in moulds bonded with bentonite with or without the addition of seacoal, water glass or furan resin. Moulds were poured with ductile iron. For comparison, also tests with the grey iron have been executed. It was found that the gas atmosphere near the interface depends mainly on the content of a carbonaceous substance in the mould. In the green sand moulds with 5% of seacoal or bonded with furan resin, after the mould filling, a sudden increase in the hydrogen content and the drop of oxygen is observed. This gas evolution results from the oxidation of carbon and reduction of water vapour in the mould material, and also from the reduction of water vapour and alloy reoxidation. In carbon-free sand, the evolution in the gas composition is slower because water vapour is reduced only at the interface. Changes of oxygen and hydrogen content in the controlled zone are determined by the transport phenomena.