A few ideas for research paper

Anything involving the history of casting – what type of molds, furnaces and metal alloys were used during a specific time?  What were the advantages and disadvantages of this process/material?  How can some of this knowledge be applied to modern casting?  Wootz is one interesting topic in this venue as is the study of the development of steel (what is the Bessemer process and how did it change the world?).  Viking casting methods, Egyptian casting methods, Roman casting methods, Renaissance Casting  Benin casting methods etc.  The early documents published in India about casting could be very interesting to explore.

Research on other furnace types – we have gone over several but there are many that we have not touched on or won’t even be able to get into carbon arc furnaces, induction furnaces, blast furnaces etc.

Researching other mold forms that we have not yet been able to touch upon resin-bonded molds, die-cast molding, vacuum casting, centrifugal casting or conducting a deep level of research on one of the mold types that is in existence already.

Of course, especially for the 3D printing club – researching additive manufacturing applications for metal casting is a no brainer.   Even asking questions as to whether or not a foundry is going to be prevalent in the age of rapid manufacturing (I think it is, hopefully for obvious reasons – but I do not think any foundry is going to survive without adopting 3DP tech).

The American Foundry Society can be an amazing resource for ideas.  They even have an android app that you can download to read their magazines.

What are the major casting flaws and their causes?

What are the different properties of non-ferrous metals?  Why would you use one type of steel in a casting vs. another?

What are the environmental concerns with casting and what can be done to reduce the impact of metal casting on the environment?

Safe vs. unsafe foundry practice

Good designs for foundries – considering human factors engineering (if you have not guesses this is one of my many interests)


About skaad

Professor Laura West, head of Sculpture at Fresno City College, has been casting iron since her undergraduate studies at Southern Illinois University in the late 1980's/early 1990's. This is where her first iron furnace was built. Professor West continued her studies at Idaho State University and then became part of the teaching staff at the Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture before moving to Fresno, California. Although Professor West has run and built furnaces of a wide variety of sizes, types and situations, she specializes in smaller furnaces and beginner crews. Laura is known internationally for her iron casting skills. Her small tap out iron cupola which melts 100 lbs/7minutes and has been used in classrooms and workshops from coast to coast. This furnace alone has seen over 30,000 pounds of iron flow through it. Professor West was even a member of a small crew of people who poured iron north of the arctic circle in Alaska. Laura's work has been exhibited internationally and focuses on the placement of cast figurative elements within installation and environmental formats. In the past several years, her work has expanded to include the use of digital technology and rapid prototyping. This research focuses on the use of digitally produced molds and patterns for use with cast metal.
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