From the Foundry: Carbon and X-rays

Posted on

Cast iron, like steel and wrought iron, is an alloy consisting primarily of iron and carbon but has a carbon content usually in the range of 2- 4%, which appears as flakes of graphite intermixed within the material. Commonly, when cast iron is submerged in a marine environment, the iron component corrodes away, leaving behind the graphite along with iron corrosion products. Iron in this state is often referred to as ‘graphitized’. Fortunately, even though the iron has corroded away, the shapes of cast iron objects recovered from marine sites often remain intact due to the surviving graphite holding the iron corrosion products in situ.  

To help illustrate the difference between non-corroded cast iron and graphitized cast iron, last week we x-rayed the damping piston valve cover next to one of its copies cast at the Buffalo State College Foundry.   Read more

From the Foundry: The Iron Pour

Posted on

Buffalo,  New York April 10, 2010

The day of the spring iron pour at Buffalo State College is finally here! After nearly a week of preparation, the iron furnace named ‘Betty’ was lit in the morning and Will and other experienced iron casters fed in measured charges of 7 lbs. of coke and 50 lbs. of iron.  Other parts of the team lined up sand molds, ready for pouring.    Read more

From the Foundry: Part III

Posted on

Buffalo, NY: April 9, 2010

An eventful day at the Buffalo State College foundry! Final preparations are underway for the iron pour tomorrow.  The newly constructed iron furnace has been lined with refractory clay and assembled.  Supplies of fuel, in the form of coke, a product of coal combustion, have arrived and Eric and Will joined others in breaking up cast iron radiators into small pieces which are easier to melt down.   Many skilled artists have prepared molds for the pour, but I think its safe to say we are the only team recreating parts of the USS Monitor!   Read more

From the Foundry: Part II

Posted on

Buffalo, New York: April 8, 2010

Work on the molds for casting replica Worthington pump parts in iron continues with the packing of sand molds around the plastic replicas of the steam chest cover and damping piston cylinder head made at The Mariners’ Museum before we left Newport News.  The sand molds were made by packing a mixture of fine casting sand and two part resin into wooden boxes in which the replica parts were mounted.  One half is packed and allowed to set overnight, then flipped and the process is repeated, resulting in a two part mold.    Read more