Characterization of hydrocarbon emissions from green sand foundry core binders by analytical pyrolysis

Yujue Wang, Fred S. Cannon, Magda Salama, Jeff Goudzwaard, James C. Furness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Analytical pyrolysis was conducted to study a relative comparison of the hydrocarbon and greenhouse gas emissions of three foundry sand binders as follows: (a) conventional phenolic urethane resin, (b) biodiesel phenolic urethane resin, and (c) collagen-based binder. These binders are used in the metal casting industry for making cores that are used to create internal cavities within castings. In this study, the core samples were flash pyrolyzed in a Curie-point pyrolyzer at 920°C with a heating rate of about 3000°C/sec. This simulated some key features of the fast heating conditions that the core binders would experience at the metal-core interface when molten metal is poured into green sand molds. The core samples were also pyrolyzed in a thermogravimetric analyzer (TGA) from ambient temperature to 1000°C with a heating rate of 30°C/min, and this simulated key features of the slow heating conditions that the core binders would experience at distances that are further away from the metal-core interface during casting cooling. Hydrocarbon emissions from flash pyrolysis were analyzed with a gas chromatography-flame ionization detector, while hydrocarbon and greenhouse gas (CO and CO 2) emissions from TGA pyrolysis were monitored with mass spectrometry. The prominent hazardous air pollutant emissions during pyrolysis of the three binders were phenol, cresols, benzene, and toluene for the conventional phenolic urethane resin and biodiesel resin, and they were benzene and toluene for the collagen-based binder. It was also found that volatile organic compound and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon emissions considerably decreased in orderfrom conventional phenolic urethane resin to biodiesel resin to collagen-based binder. These results have shown some similarity with those for stack emission testing conducted at demonstration scale and/or full-scale foundries, and the similar trends in the two sets of results offered promise that bench-scale analytical pyrolysis techniques could be a useful screening tool for the foundries to compare the relative emissions of alternative core binders and to choose proper materials in order to comply with air-emission regulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7922-7927
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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