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)