Navigation Links
Sweet new approach discovered to help produce metal casting parts, reduce toxicity

CORVALLIS, Ore. Based on a new discovery by researchers at Oregon State University, the world's multi-billion dollar foundry industry may soon develop a sweet tooth.

This industry, that produces metal castings used in everything from water pumps and jet engines to railroad and automobile parts, dates back thousands of years to before Greek and Roman times. It was important in the advance of human civilization, but still continues to evolve.

Some modern technologies use various types of "binders" to essentially glue together sands and other materials to form sophisticated molds, into which molten metals are injected to create products with complex shapes. Existing approaches work, but some materials used today, such as furan resins and phenol formaldehyde resins, can emit toxic fumes during the process.

However, experts in adhesion science in the OSU College of Forestry have discovered and applied for a patent on a new use of a compound that appears to also work surprisingly well for this purpose. They say it should cost less than existing binders, is completely renewable and should be environmentally benign.

It's called sugar.

"We were surprised that simple sugar could bind sand together so strongly," said Kaichang Li, an OSU professor of wood science and engineering. "Sugar and other carbohydrates are abundant, inexpensive, food-grade materials.

"The binder systems we've developed should be much less expensive than existing sand binders and not have toxicity concerns," Li added.

Sugar is a highly water-soluble food ingredient, as anyone knows who has ever put a teaspoon of it in a cup of coffee. The OSU researchers discovered a novel way to make strong and moisture-resistant sand molds with sugar. An inaccurate reading of temperature in a baking oven helped lead to the important discovery, they said.

Li and an OSU faculty research assistant, Jian Huang, identified combinations of sugar, soy flour and hydrolyzed starch or even just sugar by itself that should work effectively as a binder in sand molds for making various types of metal parts.

This novel sand binder technology is ready for more applied research and testing, they said, and the university is seeking investors and industrial partners to commercialize it. Private sector financing of OSU research has increased 42 percent in the past two years, to $35 million, as part of its increasing emphasis on university/industry partnerships.

Sand-based moldings, which comprise about 70 percent of all metal castings, are used to make many metal products, often from aluminum or cast iron, but also from bronze, copper, tin and steel. They are a major part of the automobile industry, along with applications in plumbing materials, mining, railroad applications and many other areas.

Sugar and the other agricultural products used for this purpose should have no environmental drawbacks, since they largely decompose into just carbon dioxide and water. With the techniques developed at OSU, the use of sugar as a binder allows the creation of sand molds that gain strength rapidly and remain strong in high humidity environments, which is necessary for their effective use in industrial applications.

Li's laboratory at OSU has developed other related products in recent years, such as a natural resin made from soy flour that is already being used commercially to replace the use of formaldehyde-based adhesives in the manufacture of some wood products.

For that achievement, five years ago he was given the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award by the Environmental Protection Agency, which recognizes innovators who have helped reduce waste or toxins in manufacturing processes.


Contact: Kaichang Li
Oregon State University

Related biology news :

1. Synthetic biofilter wins through to the top Sweet 16 in Boston
2. Pink Lemonade, Razz, Sweetheart, and Caras Choice: superb blueberries from ARS
3. Sugar-sweetened drinks are not replacing milk in kids diets
4. How sweet it is: Tomato researchers discover link between ripening, color and taste
5. Traditional fisheries management approach jeopardizes marine ecosystems worldwide
6. Whitehead scientists identify major flaw in standard approach to global gene expression analysis
7. Columbia researchers report novel approach for single molecule electronic DNA sequencing
8. Maintaining Earths sustainability: Scientists, engineers, educators take coordinated approach
9. New approach of resistant tuberculosis
10. New line of approach for combination therapy against melanoma
11. Grassroots approach to conservation developed
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider ... MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , ... multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple complex ... any combination of fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. ... SDK and MegaMatcher Accelerator , which ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... , UAE, April 20, 2016 ... implemented as a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for ... biometric fingerprint reader or the door interface with integration ... modern access control systems. The minimal dimensions of the ... readers into the building installations offer considerable freedom of ...
(Date:3/31/2016)...   LegacyXChange, Inc. ... LegacyXChange is excited to release its first ... be launched online site for trading 100% guaranteed authentic ... also provide potential shareholders a sense of the value ... industry that is notorious for fraud. The video is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... WI (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... focused on quality, regulatory and technical consulting, provides a free webinar ... presented on July 13, 2016 at 12pm CT at no charge. , Incomplete ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) today ... life sciences incubator to accelerate the development of ... space at QB3@953 was created to help high-potential life ... many early stage organizations - access to laboratory infrastructure. ... launched two "Amgen Golden Ticket" awards, providing each winner ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... DIEGO , June 22, 2016 ... that will allow them to produce up to ... from one lot within one week. These high-quality, ... time laboriously preparing cells and spend more time ... possible through a proprietary, high-volume manufacturing process that ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... June 22, 2016  According to Kalorama Information, ... sequencing (NGS) market include significant efforts in automation ... More accessible and affordable sequencers, say the healthcare ... for consumables including sample prep materials.  The healthcare ... Sample Preparation for Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: