Shell Mould Strength of Rice Husk Ash (RHA) and Bentonite Clays in Investment Casting

Is Prima Nanda, Zahran Ali, Mohd. Hasbullah Idris, Andril Arafat, Adjar Pratoto


Investment casting process (IC) plays a major role in the modern manufacturing process in providing an economical means of mass production components with intricate shape and complex geometry as demand in various crucial applications including aerospace, automotive, military, biomedical and others. This casting technique, develop shell mould fabrication by coating the required pattern with a refractory mixture which offers the complex geometrical shape and sizes parts to be cast. However, the modern IC approach in shell mould production suffers from zircon’s cost and supply instability as it is the main material to be used. Zircon uses as refractory filler for slurry production, and also in the form of sand used as stucco particles, is favoured by the investment casting facilities and industries as it exhibits the most versatile properties such as low thermal expansion and low reactivity to the metal to be cast. During the period of zircon supply shortage, many facilities introduce several alternatives. Currently, the step taken to reduce the cost of primary slurry material is by using some alternate refractory material like, alumina, silica, to be used with zircon for shell mould production. In relation to that, several researches continue to search for alternatives approach for shell mould materials. This research introduces the alternative method in fabricating investment casting shell mould as recognized from investment casting industry located in Sungai Puar of Bukittingi Padang Indonesia. This industry employs several local resources to fabricate the shell mould. These materials consist of rice husk ash (RHA), and two types of bentonite clays. The bentonite clays were obtained nearly from Kota Payakumbuh in the western provinces. However, this industry suffers from weak shell mould strength and need to be investigated and consulted. In this paper, the investigation on shell mould strength made from rice husk ash (RHA), and bentonite clays were conducted. The strength was measured by its modulus of rupture (MOR) performed in 3 points flexural bending test. The green and fired shell mould strength was determined from five type of slurry composition. The results revealed that the highest green and fired strength obtained were 0.157 MPa and 0.361 MPa from shell mould sample C of RHA (46%) and bentonite (54%) of its composition.


rice husk ash (RHA); bentonite clay; modulus of rupture

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Published by INSIGHT - Indonesian Society for Knowledge and Human Development