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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Pyrolysis of Foundry Sand Resins: a Determination of Organic Products by Mass Spectrometry

Authors
item Dungan, Robert
item Reeves Iii, James

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Science and Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 27, 2004
Publication Date: June 1, 2005
Citation: Dungan, R.S., Reeves III, J.B. 2005. Pyrolysis of foundry sand resins: a determination of organic products by mass spectrometry. Journal of Environmental Science and Health. 40:1557-1567.

Interpretive Summary: Pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (Py-GC-MS) was used to identify the major organic products produced by heating three foundry sand resins to a temperature of 750oC. These resins are used in the metal casting industry as a 'sand binder' for making cores (used to produce cavities in molds) and molds for non-ferrous castings. During the casting process, the cores and molds are subjected to intense heat from the molten metal, which can reach temperatures as high as 1600oC. As a result, the organic resins undergo thermal decomposition and produce a number of complex organic compounds which condense in the molding sand. In this study, the organics were tentatively identified by MS after heating the resins. Compounds identified that are of potential environmental concern were benzene, toluene, phenol, o- and p-xylene, o- and m-cresol, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Because there is interest in beneficially using foundry molding sands in manufactured soils and other agricultural products, it is necessary that organic thermal decomposition products be identified to ensure environmental protection.

Technical Abstract: Pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (Py-GC-MS) was used to identify the major organic products produced by pyrolysis of three foundry sand resins: 1) Novolac and 2) phenolic urethane (PU) [both phenol-formaldehyde based resins], and 3) furan (furfuryl alcohol based resin). These resins are used in the metal casting industry as a 'sand binder' for making cores (used to produce cavities in molds) and molds for non-ferrous castings. During the casting process, the cores and molds are subjected to intense heat from the molten metal, which can reach temperatures as high as 1600oC. As a result, the organic resins undergo thermal decomposition and produce a number of complex organic compounds. In this study, the organics were tentatively identified by MS after pyrolysis of the resins at 750oC. The major thermal decomposition products from the Novolac, PU, and furan resins were derivatives of phenol, benzene, and furan, respectively. Compounds identified that are of potential environmental concern were benzene, toluene, phenol, o- and p-xylene, o- and m-cresol, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Pyrolysis of the Novolac resin resulted in the generation of the most compounds of environmental concern. Because there is interest in beneficially using foundry molding sands in manufactured soils and other agricultural products, it is necessary that organic thermal decomposition products be identified to ensure environmental protection.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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