Investigation of rapid freeze prototyping and investment casting with ice patterns

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Liu, Qingbin
University of Missouri--Rolla
Mechanical Engineering
thesis / dissertation description
"Rapid Freeze Prototyping (RFP) can generate three-dimensional ice patterns from CAD models by depositing and solidifying water droplets layer by layer. The waiting time between two successive layers is a critical factor. Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is employed to predict the solidification time of a newly deposited water layer in order to develop a better understanding of heat transfer during the RFP process. The result is used to investigate the effects of various process parameters on the solidification time of an ice column and a vertical ice wall. Experiments are conducted and the measured results are shown to agree well with simulation results.Investment casting with ice patterns is similar to that with wax patterns but with significant process differences. An interface agent can be coated around the ice pattern to protect it from damage during the process. To compensate for the thickness of the interface agent, analytical models have been constructed to predict the thickness of the interface agent for a large ice cylinder and for a small ice part. The dimensional accuracy of the generated metal castings for small parts can be much improved by compensating the interface layer thickness.Due to the use of ice, canned models must be made at sub-freezing temperatures. Success of this process depends significantly on curing kinetics of the slurries and the fracture toughness of mold materials. The curing kinetics of the slurries and mold material fracture toughness from different compositions are examined and the effects of various processing parameters on the results are examined and discussed"--Abstract, page iv.