This novel sand binder technology is ready for more applied research and testing, they said, and the university is seeking investors and industrial partners to commercialize it. Private sector financing of OSU research has increased 42 percent in the past two years, to $35 million, as part of its increasing emphasis on university/industry partnerships.
Sand-based moldings, which comprise about 70 percent of all metal castings, are used to make many metal products, often from aluminum or cast iron, but also from bronze, copper, tin and steel. They are a major part of the automobile industry, along with applications in plumbing materials, mining, railroad applications and many other areas.
Sugar and the other agricultural products used for this purpose should have no environmental drawbacks, since they largely decompose into just carbon dioxide and water. With the techniques developed at OSU, the use of sugar as a binder allows the creation of sand molds that gain strength rapidly and remain strong in high humidity environments, which is necessary for their effective use in industrial applications.
Li's laboratory at OSU has developed other related products in recent years, such as a natural resin made from soy flour that is already being used commercially to replace the use of formaldehyde-based adhesives in the manufacture of some wood products.
For that achievement, five years ago he was given the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award by the Environmental Protection Agency, which recognizes innovators who have helped reduce waste or toxins in manufacturing processes.
|Contact: Kaichang Li |
Oregon State University