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Design of Risers and Feeding of

A simplified diagram by putting in
references to the equations (1, 2 & 4)
there is no Equation 3, diagram not changed

EQ(1) - Freeze Point Ratio (FPR)

X = (Casting Surface/Casting Volume) /
(Riser Surface/Riser Volume)

EQ(2) - Volume Ratio (VR) (Y Axis)

VR=Y=Riser Vol/Casting Vol*

Note: The riser volume is the actual poured


EQ(4) - (Freeze Point Ratio) Steel

X=0.12/y-0.05 + 1.0*
*The constants are from experiments and
are empirical
References - AFS Text Chapter 16; Chastain's Foundry manual Vol 2, Google

Volumes, Surface Areas, Castings and

There are relationships between all these
items and values that will help in designing
a complete mold that controls progressive
solidification, and influences directional
solidification to produce castings with
minimal porosity and shrinkage defects.
This is by ensuring that the riser(s) are the
last to solidify.

4 points about the Riser/Casting


1 - Risers are attached to the

heaviest sections of the casting

2 - Risers are the last to solidify

3 - A casting that has more than

one heavy section requires at
least one riser per heavy section

4 - Occasionally the thermal

gradient is modified at the moldmetal interface by the introduction
of a "Chill" that can better conduct
the heat away from the casting
and lower the solidification time
for that section.

Gating / Runner Design

Now a look at the flow characteristics of the

metal as it enters the mold and how it fills the

Of the flow characteristics

fluidity/viscosity plays a role. Also,
gravitational acceleration & vortex,
pressure zones,
molten alloy aspiration from the mold and
the momentum or kinetic energy of a fluid.

The demarcation point is

Re < 2000 is considered a Laminar Flow
Re > 2000 is considered a Turbulent Flow
Objective is to maintain Re below 2000.




Basic Components of a Gating System

The basic components of a gating system are:
Pouring Basin,
Runners and
Gates that feed the casting.
The metal flows through the system in this order.
Some simple diagrams to be familiar with are:

Pouring Basin - This is the "Crucible -Mold Interface", A pouring cup and
pouring basin are not equivalents, The pouring cup is simply a larger target
when pouring out of the crucible, a Pouring Basin has several components
that aid in creating a laminar flow of clean metal into the sprue.
The basin acts as a point for the liquid metal to enter the gating system in
a laminar fashion.
"Crucible-Mold Interface" is where the metal
from the crucible first contacts the mold
surface. This area is lower than where the
Mouth of the Sprue is located, by having a pool
of metal from the flow will be less chaotic than
pouring from the crucible down into the sprue.
"Dross-Dam" - to skim or hold back any dross
from the crucible or what accumulated through
the act of pouring.
As the lower portion fills and the metal is
skimmed, the clean(er) metal will rise up to
meet the opening of the sprue in a more
controlled fashion.

Sprue Placement and Parts

The sprue is the extension of the sprue
mouth into the mold

The choke or narrowest point in the

taper is the point that would sustain a
"Head" or pressure of molten metal.
To reduce turbulence and promote
Laminar Flow, from the Pouring Basin,
the flow begins a near vertical incline
that is acted upon by gravity and with
an accelerative gravity force
Fluids in free fall tend to distort from a
columnar shape at their start into an
intertwined series of flow lines that
have a rotational vector or vortex effect
(Clockwise in the northern hemisphere, and counter clockwise in the
southern hemi-sphere)...

Unpressurized - The key

distinction is that the
Runner must have a c/s
area greater than the
Choke, and it would
appear that the Gate(s)
would equal or be larger
than the Runner(s).

Pressurized - is a system
where the gate and runner
cross-sectional areas are
either equal or less than
the choke cross-sectional
A1= Choke = 1 unit
A2 = 1st Runner c/s
Area = 0.75 unit
A3 = 2nd Runner c/s
Area = 0.66 unit
A4 = 1st Gate = 0.33 unit
Common Ratio's noted are;
A5 = 2nd Gate = 0.33 unit
1 : 2 : 4;
1 : 4 : 4;

The rotational effect, though not a strong

force, is causing the cork-screwing effect
of the falling fluid. If allowed to act on the
fluid over a great enough duration or free
fall the centrifugal force will separate the
flow into droplets.
None of the above promotes Laminar flow,
plus it aids the formation of dross and gas
pick-up in the stream that is going to feed
the casting.

By creating a sprue with a taper, the fluid is constrained to

retain it's shape, reducing excessive surface area development
(dross-forming property) and gas pick-up.
The area below the sprue is the "Well". The well reduces the
velocity of the fluid flow and acts as a reservoir for the runners
and gates as they fill.

Some dimensioning ratio's from

Chastain's Foundry Manual (no.2)
1- Choke or sprue base area is 1/5th the area of the well.
2- The well depth is twice the runner depth.
3- the Runner is positioned above the midpoint of the
well's depth

The Runner System

The runner system is fed by the well

and is the path that the gates are fed
This path should be "Balanced" with the
model of heating or AC ductwork
serving as a good illustration. The
Runner path should promote smooth
laminar flow by a balanced volumetric
flow, and avoiding sharp or abrupt
changes in direction.
The "Runner Extension" is a "DeadEnd" that is placed after the last gate.
The R-Ext acts as a cushion to absorb
the forward momentum or kinetic
energy of the fluid flow. The R-Ext also
acts as a "Dross/Gas Trap" for any
materials generated and picked-up
along the flow of the runner.
An Ideal Runner is also proportioned
such that it maintains a constant
volumetric flow through virtually any
cross-sectional area. In the illustration,
notice that the runner becomes
proportionally shallower at the point
where an in-gate creates an alternate
path for the liquid flow.

The Gating System

The Gates (in this case)

accommodate a directional
change in the fluid flow and
deliver the metal to the
Casting cavity.
Again, the design objective
is to promote laminar flow,
the primary causes of
turbulence are sharp
corners, or un-proportioned
gate/runner sizes.
The 2 (two) dashed blue
areas when added together
form a relationship to the
dashed blue area of the
Runner, which forms a
relationship to the Choke or
base of the Sprue Area.

The issue of sharp corners (both inner

and outer) create turbulence, low & high
pressure zones that promote aspiration of
mold gases into the flow, and can draw
mold material (sand) into the flow. None of
this is good... By providing curved radius
changes in direction the above effects are
still at play but at a reduced level. Sharp
angles impact the solidification process
and may inhibit "Directional Solidification"
with cross-sectional freezing...
The image to the right is just too good a
representation to pass-up..
By proportioning the gating system, a
more uniform flow is promoted with near
equal volumes of metal entering the mold
from all points. In an un-proportioned
system the furthest gates would feed the
most metal, while the gates closest to the
sprue would feed the least.
(this is counter to what one initially thinks).


Formulae, Ratios and Design Equations

What is covered so far is comprehensive, and intuitive on a

conceptual level, but the math below hopefully offers some insight
into quick approximations for simple designs, and more in-depth
calculations for complex systems.
Computerized Flow Analysis programs are used extensively in large
Foundry operations.
From basic concepts, designing on a state of the art system shall be

Continuity Equation

This formula allows calculation of cross-sectional areas, relative to

flow Velocity and Volumetric flow over unit time. This is with the
assumption that the fluid flow is a liquid that does NOT
compress (that applies to all molten metals).

Here, a flow passes through A1

(1" by 1", 1 sq")

The passage narrows to a crosssectional area A2

Q= Rate of Flow
(Constant - uncompressible)
V=Velocity of flow
A=Area (Cross-section)

(.75" by .75", 0.5625 sq")

The passage expands to a crosssectional area A3

(1" by 1", 1 sq").
If A1 and A2 are considered, the Area A2 is almost half of
A1, thus the velocity at A2 has to be almost double of A1.

GATING RATIO isAreas of Choke : Runner : Gate(s)

The base of the Sprue and Choke are the
The ratios between the cross-sectional Area can
be grouped into either Pressurized or

Pressurized: A system where the gate

and runner cross-sectional areas are either

equal or less than the choke cross-sectional

Areas A2 & A3 do not get

added as they are
positioned in line with
each other and flow is
successive between the
points and not
While Areas A4 & A5 are
added together as flow
does pass through these
points simultaneously.
This example would
resolve to a pressurized
flow of 1 : 0.75 : 0.66

A1= Choke = 1 Sq Inch

A2 = 1st Runner c/s Area = 0.75 Sq Inch
A3 = 2nd Runner c/s Area = 0.66 Sq Inch
A4 = 1st Gate = 0.33 Sq inch
A5 = 2nd Gate = 0.33 Sq Inch

The key distinction is that the Runner must have
a cross sectional area greater than the Choke,
and it would appear that the Gate(s) would equal
or be larger than the Runner(s).
Common Ratio's noted in Chastian's Vol 2 are:

An exception is noted in Chastain with a 1 : 8 : 6

ratio to promote dross capture in the runner
system of Aero-Space castings.
The Continuity Equation is simplified with the
use of ratios as the velocity is inversely
proportional between any 2 adjacent ratio
values. ie H : L equates to an increase in
velocity while a L : H equates to a drop in
Laminar Flow is harder to control at a high
velocity than a relatively lower velocity.
Chastain's Vol 2 has much more mathematical
expressions and calculations.