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Extramural Research

Diminishing Materials Use and Air Pollutants in Foundries via an Integrated Advanced Oxidation Process: Characterization of Materials and Pollutants at the Nano-Scale

EPA Grant Number: R829581
Title: Diminishing Materials Use and Air Pollutants in Foundries via an Integrated Advanced Oxidation Process: Characterization of Materials and Pollutants at the Nano-Scale
Investigators: Cannon, Fred S. , Komarneni, Sridhar , Voigt, Robert C.
Current Investigators: Cannon, Fred S. , Bhide, Harsh , Clobes, Jason , Firebaugh, Joel , Furness-Newburge, Jim , Goudzwaard, Jeff , Komarneni, Sridhar , Land, Josh , Milan-Segovia, Nohemi , Voigt, Robert C. , Wang, Yujue
Institution: Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus
EPA Project Officer: Richards, April
Project Period: January 1, 2002 through December 31, 2004
Project Amount: $325,000
RFA: Technology for a Sustainable Environment (2001)
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development

Description:

The metal casting industry represents a major manufacturing component in America, which employs two hundred thousand people. Roughly 14 million tons of metal castings are poured into molds each year in America's 3000 foundries, and these create thousands of products that are vital to the U.S. economy. Sixty percent of the total casting tonnage poured in America is produced in green sand molds. Green sand contains silica sand, bentonite clay, water, finely ground coal, and core binders. All of these ingredients are essential to successful casting. When the coal and adhesives experience high temperatures at the molten metal surface, they can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs). However, a novel advanced oxidation (AO) process has been installed in five full-scale foundries that has successfully decreased these emissions by 20-75%. Moreover, this process has also diminished by 15-40% the amount of clay, coal, and sand that is needed to produce a given amount of castings; and it has decreased casting defects by up to 35% while increasing mold strength. These features save money, prevent pollution, reduce waste to landfills, broaden foundries' opportunities, and create U.S. jobs.

The objectives of this research are to:

  1. Employ a consortium of protocols to characterize and better understand the nano-scale effects that this AO process has on green sand materials and air emissions.

  2. Experimentally identify and model AO effects as a function of distance from the molten metal interface.

  3. Apply this nano-scale data to yet further enhance the extent to which the AO process effectively preserves and activates the coal within the green sand, so that it yet further adsorbs and/or retains VOCs and thus prevents pollution before it happens.

  4. Apply this nano-scale data to enhance the extent to which the AO process preserves and activates clay that appears to be "dead" (i.e. unusable) in a manner that yet further diminishes the wasting of spent clay.

  5. Interface on the validation of these improvements at full-scale foundries, via on-site trials that are informally coordinated by the Penn State team in collaboration with ongoing foundry operations.

Approach:

The Penn State team will accomplish these objectives by employing bench scale foundry tests that will generate autopsied green sand samples under various AO conditions and at various distances from the mold surface. We will then employ a consortium of analytical tests to appraise how AO influenced these samples at the nano scale. These tests will include: thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), TGA- flame ionization detection (FID), pore volume distribution and surface area, surface charge titration, x-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Environmental SEM, differential thermal analysis, nuclear magnetic resonance, centrifugation, wet tensile strength, green compressive strength, compatibility, % moisture, compaction pressure vs. strain, and a host of other standard green sand performance tests. This research will build upon a well-developed infrastructure that includes: (a) several advanced oxidation (AO) systems that have been installed at full-scale foundries, (b) a pilot AO system and pilot foundry at Penn State, and (c) $2.0 million of analytical instruments at Penn State.

Expected Results:

From autopsies of the green sand mold material, we will acquire these fundamental nano-scale parameters via the above protocols. Also, we will establish a computerized data collection and acquisition system that will allow us to monitor an array of parameters in real time within the mold as a function of distance from the metal surface and time after pouring. These parameters will include temperature, pressure, gas composition, water moisture, ionization activity, etc. We will then build on an existing foundry mold model (SOLIDCAST) to develop a more comprehensive model that identifies and predicts how the green sand materials are altered at the nano-scale by the mold's AO-related environmental conditions. This information will be used to improve the effectiveness of this AO process at diminishing materials and air pollution while decreasing costs of foundry manufacturing.

Expected Results:

From autopsies of the green sand mold material, we will acquire these fundamental nano-scale parameters via the above protocols. Also, we will establish a computerized data collection and acquisition system that will allow us to monitor an array of parameters in real time within the mold as a function of distance from the metal surface and time after pouring. These parameters will include temperature, pressure, gas composition, water moisture, ionization activity, etc. We will then build on an existing foundry mold model (SOLIDCAST) to develop a more comprehensive model that identifies and predicts how the green sand materials are altered at the nano-scale by the mold's AO-related environmental conditions. This information will be used to improve the effectiveness of this AO process at diminishing materials and air pollution while decreasing costs of foundry manufacturing.

Estimated Improvement:

The potential impact of this high risk / high-gain research could be to advance this AO process to where it will diminish total U.S. air pollution by considerable amounts. The research program will also help strengthen a vital U.S. foundry industry and its human resource base. Further, this research will also advance the science, engineering and education of AO kinetics, green sand characterization, and adsorption science.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 10 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 8 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

environmentally conscious manufacturing, air pollution, waste minimization, sustainable development, ozone, oxidants, VOC, pollution prevention, industry, north east, Midwest, midatlantic, southwest., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Toxics, Geographic Area, Sustainable Industry/Business, Chemical Engineering, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Environmental Chemistry, Sustainable Environment, Chemistry, State, VOCs, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Civil/Environmental Engineering, New/Innovative technologies, Chemistry and Materials Science, Environmental Engineering, industrial design for environment, characterization of materials, materials reduction, air pollutants, cleaner production, sustainable development, waste minimization, waste reduction, environmentally conscious manufacturing, Pennsylvania, foundary industry, foundry industry, environmentally friendly technology, hazardous emissions, clean technology, VOC removal, advanced oxidation process, green sand mold material, emission controls, nano-scale, engineering, process modification, industry pollution prevention research, metal casting industry, industrial innovations, pollution prevention, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), air emissions, green technology, PA, foundry mold and core processing, air pollutants at foundries, characterization of pollutants

Progress and Final Reports:
2002 Progress Report
2003 Progress Report
Final Report

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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