Recovery of expanded polystyrene from coated patterns rejected from lost foam casting

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Lost foam casting is a process in which a polymeric material is formed into the shape of the part to be cast. Parts that are more complex are fabricated by simply gluing several patterns together. The pattern is then coated with a refractory material consisting of a mineral mixture and binders. Finally, hot metal is poured into the pattern, evaporating the expanded polystyrene and taking the shape of the coating shell. Prior to casting, a significant number of the patterns are damaged and inevitably landfilled. In this study, a process was developed for the recovery of expanded polystyrene from the coating and glue contaminants. The process consists of shredding, impact comminution, size classification and pneumatic separation. It is successful in separating up to 97% of the contaminants, while recovering 95% of the polystyrene.

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Minerals and Metallurgical Processing