Apparatus & Method for Monitoring Casting Process

  Laboratory/Agency: National Institute of Standards and Technology
Overview: Inexpensive, noninvasive view of solid/liquid phases in high-heat casting processes Details: This system monitors the melting process of single-crystal metal castings even when the metals are encased by thick ceramic molds. This noninvasive monitoring technique uses high energy x-rays in the 50-keV to 320-keV range to transmit x-ray diffractions from specimens without encountering interference from furnaces or molds. Laue diffraction images (when a stationary crystal is illuminated with x-rays from a continuous range of wavelengths) distinguish between the solid or liquid states of the metal casting and measure the fraction of remaining solid. Clear images display the solid and liquid phases of single crystal samples more than 6-mm thick. The invention uses a high-energy x-ray, neutron, or gamma source to monitor the interface between a molten and solidified crystalline phase while in a furnace in a casting process. The radiation can also be used to determine the quality and orientation of the crystals in the crystalline phase. The invention uses the distinctive diffraction patterns produced by crystalline and amorphous phases to locate the interface. Potential Applications: Foundries and metal processors—the technology minimizes the risk of imperfections in metals made during the casting process at foundries.
  • Cost-effective: This procedure saves money and minimizes energy use by determining exactly when a casting has reached the critical point in solidification
  • Quality control: Enhances the quality of castings
Opportunity: Available for licensing Contact: Jack Pevenstein, Technology Partnership Office  
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