A Georgia Tech research team has developed a novel technology that could change how industry designs and casts complex, costly metal parts. This new casting method makes possible faster prototype development times, as well as more efficient and cost-effective manufacturing procedures after a part moves to mass production. The all-digital approach allows a part to be made directly from its computer-aided design (CAD).

The approach being utilized by Suman Das, a professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, and his team focuses on a technique called investment casting, also known as lost-wax casting. In this process, molten metal is poured into an expendable ceramic mold to form a part.

The mold is made by creating a wax replica of the part to be cast, surrounding or “investing” the replica with a ceramic slurry, and then drying the slurry and hardening it to form the mold. The wax is then melted out to form a mold cavity into which metal can be poured and solidified to produce the casting.

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