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Schiebel, Korbinian; Jordan, Guntram; Kaestner, Anders; Schillinger, Burkhard; Boehnke, Sandra; Schmahl, Wolfgang W. (2018): Neutron Radiographic Study of the Effect of Heat-Driven Water Transport on the Tensile Strength of Bentonite-Bonded Moulding Sand. In: Transport in Porous Media, Vol. 121: pp. 369-387


Wet tensile testing is a common method to assess the stability of bentonite bonded moulding sands. For wet tensile testing, a specimen is first heated from above in order to simulate heat-driven moisture transport induced by the casting process. Then, tensile stress is applied until rupture. In this study, neutron radiography imaging was applied to moulding sands in-situ during heating and wet tensile testing in order to investigate the effects of water kinematics on the tensile strength. Neutron radiography allowed the localization of the rupture plane and the quantitative determination of the local water content with sub-mm resolution. Quantification of the temperature at the rupture plane and of the heat kinematics within the specimen was accomplished by temperature measurements both in-situ and ex-situ. In this way, experimental data correlating the wet tensile strength with the specific conditions of moulding sands at the rupture plane were obtained for the first time. Series of experiments with different initial sand moisture contents were conducted. The results show that the weakest location within a sand profile can be pinpointed at the interface between evaporation and condensation zone (i.e., at the 100 °C isotherm), where water vaporisation starts and the water bridges connecting the sand grains collapse. This weakest location has maximum strength, if the local water content at the rupture plane is between 5 and 9 wt.%. Less water leads to a strong decrease of wet tensile strength. More water requires an initial water content above 5 wt.%, which leads to a decrease of the tensile strength of the unheated sand.