Project Details


This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).

The research objective of this Grant Opportunity for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) award is to devise a low volatile organic carbon (VOC) core binder that is comprised of a collagen-alkali silicate hybrid. The use of these binders can save energy and money in foundry processes, while diminishing their petroleum dependence. We aim to replace conventional petroleum-based binders, which cause significant volatile organic carbon pollution. Collagen is the triple-helical protein structure that comprises animal tendons and hides; and collagen has the tensile strength of steel. Collagen releases 15-25% as much VOC pollution as do phenolic urethanes in a foundry setting; and silicates release negligible amounts of VOCs. Together, collagen-alkali silicate hybrids favorably offer the promise of good thermal integrity, high tensile strength, good casting quality, and good shake-out, as discerned from preliminary results. To accomplish the research objectives, we will prepare collagen-alkali silicate bindered cores with an array of collagen-to-silicate proportions, mixing protocols, and curing processes. Per foundry criteria, we will appraise these relative to their resistance against molten iron erosion; and their tensile strength, hardness, shakeout propensity, and thermal integrity. Also, per fundamentals, we will characterize bonding by infrared analysis, nuclear magnetic resonance, and electron microscopy. These fundamental characterizations will steer the collagen-alkali silicate chemistry and processing protocol, so as to select the most favorable binder system.

The expected benefits of this research will be to initiate a transformative rewriting of adhesives chemistry based on new metrics. The new metrics are to pursue US petrochemical independence with environmentally benign manufacturing, while devising sustainable products from bio-resources. This research will also expand fundamentals of adhesives and nitrogen chemistry; thermal effects on collagen and alkali silicates; curing kinetics; waterproofing; and environmental and industrial engineering. In addition to these important impacts this GOALI project team will conduct full-scale demonstrations of these collagen-alkali silicate binders at the HMAC-Lawrenceville, PA foundry, providing tremendous industrial value for the community.

Effective start/end date8/15/097/31/12


  • National Science Foundation: $337,673.00


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