Grant and Research Library

Riser Sleeve and Mold Ablation Technologies for Improving Energy Efficiency in Steel Casting


Program Area:




Public Abstract: It is proposed to improve the energy efficiency of steel casting by performing research in two separate areas: (1) development of thermophysical properties and guidelines for riser sleeves, and (2) demonstration of and guidelines for a novel mold ablation casting process. Both technologies will improve the casting yield and reduce the amount of steel that must be melted for each ton of casting shipped. Implementation of the results of the proposed research is estimated to result in energy savings of approximately 2.6 trillion BTU per year for U.S. steel foundries alone. Riser sleeves are commonly used to reduce the size of risers on steel castings. However, their properties are largely unknown (or proprietary), and the foundry engineer has to rely on experience or a trial-and-error process to select a sleeve. By measuring the thermophysical properties of riser sleeves, riser sizes can be optimized through casting computer simulation. In addition, guidelines for proper riser sleeve use will be developed. Mold ablation casting is a novel technology that has never been tried for cast steel before. It involves the translation of a water curtain across the casting during solidification in order to gradually ablate the sand mold. The impinging water results in locally very high cooling rates and temperature gradients, which in turn allows for directional solidification of the steel towards a single riser. In the proposed project, mold ablation casting will be demonstrated for the first time for steel, and guidelines will be developed for its future use in steel casting production. Close collaboration with the steel foundries will result in effective transfer of the project results to industry.

Award Amount:


Grant Active Dates:

Jul. 2012 — Jun. 2015


The University of Iowa, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering

Principal Investigator:

Christoph Beckermann, Ph.D




Iowa City, Iowa