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Schiebel, Korbinian; Jordan, Guntram; Kaestner, Anders; Schillinger, Burkhard; Georgii, Robert; Hess, Kai-Uwe; Böhnke, Sandra; Schmahl, Wolfgang W. (December 2018): Effects of heat and cyclic reuse on the properties of bentonite-bonded sand. In: European Journal of Mineralogy, Vol. 30, No. 6: pp. 1115-1125


Bentonite-bonded quartz sand is the most common mould material used in foundry industry. During casting, however, the moulding sand undergoes alterations, which deteriorate its properties. Aim of this work, therefore, was to gain accurate insights into the relation between smectite alteration and property change. To this end, the wet tensile strengths of heat pre-treated and cyclically reused sands were related to the kinematics of water within the sand as measured by in-situ neutron radiography and neutron diffraction. Sands subjected to 22 cycles of drying (T = 120 °C) and remoistening (3 wt%) revealed modifications of the d values of the basal reflections of smectites. No significant change of tensile strength, however, was associated with these modifications. Contrarily, sands pre-treated with temperatures as low as 225 °C revealed a reduction of tensile strength, which was neither correlated to the loss of tightly bound water nor to dehydroxylation. For temperatures above 300 °C a correlation between the reduction of tensile strength and the loss of tightly bound water or early dehydroxylation was evident. With completing dehydroxylation of the smectites above 670 °C, total loss of wet tensile strength of the pre-heated sands was observed. The results showed that cyclic use of moulding sand had little impact on the sand quality as long as the temperature of the sand remained low. For the practice in foundry, the results imply that a rigorous separation of heat-exposed sand is advantageous.