Evaporative-pattern casting

Evaporative-pattern casting is a type of casting process that uses a pattern made from a material that will evaporate when the molten metal is poured into the molding cavity. The most common evaporative-pattern material used is polystyrene foam.[1]

The two major evaporative-pattern casting processes are:[1]

The main difference is that lost-foam casting uses an unbonded sand and full-mold casting uses a bonded sand (or green sand). Because this difference is quite small there is much overlap in the terminology. Non-proprietary terms that have been used to describe these processes include: cavityless casting,[2] evaporative foam casting, foam vaporization casting, lost pattern casting, the castral process, and expanded polystyrene molding.[3][4] Proprietary terms included Styro-cast,[5] Foam Cast,[6] Replicast,[7] and Policast.[4]


The first patent for an evaporative-pattern casting process was filed in April 1956, by Harold F. Shroyer. He patented the use of foam patterns embedded in traditional green sand for metal casting. In his patent, a pattern was machined from a block of expanded polystyrene (EPS), and supported by bonded sand during pouring. This process is now known as the full mold process.[8][9]

In 1964, M.C. Flemmings used unbonded sand for the process. The first North American foundry to use evaporative-pattern casting was the Robinson Foundry at Alexander City, Alabama. General Motors' first product using these processes was the 4.3 L, V-6 diesel cylinder head, which were made in 1981 at Massena, New York.[10]

A study found in 1997 that evaporative-pattern casting processes accounted for approximately 140,000 tons of aluminium casting in the United States. The same survey forecast that evaporative-pattern casting processes would account for 29% of the aluminium, and 14% of the ferrous casting markets by 2010.[11][12]


  1. 1 2 Degarmo, Black & Kohser 2003, p. 321.
  2. U.S. Patent 4,068,704.
  3. American Society for Metals et al. 1991, p. 229.
  4. 1 2 Totten, Funatani & Xie 2004, p. 357.
  5. Styro-cast, retrieved 2009-03-29.
  6. American Foam Cast, retrieved 2009-03-29.
  7. Replicast Process (CS), retrieved 2009-03-29.
  8. Donahue, Raymond; Anderson, Kevin, Lost Foam Casting, ASM International, retrieved 2010-04-06.
  9. U.S. Patent 2,830,343
  10. Biswanath, Mondal (2004), Proceedings of the National Conference on Investment Casting: NCIC 2003, Allied Publishers, ISBN 978-81-7764-659-7
  11. Bodine, Jack R. (1999-05-01), "From a monument to the Vega: the journey of the aluminum casting industry", Modern Casting: 13.
  12. Success through partnership: lost foam (PDF), September 1998, retrieved 2009-03-30.


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