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Heat Tears (Intergranular cracks)
Brittle Alloy

Caused by overheating alloys during casting. Adjust fuel mixture so that the dark blue inner cone is approximately 1/2 inch long. Lower noble, high palladium or platinum containing alloys are particularly susceptible to oxidation. Extra care should be taken in their melting and casting. Overheated alloys can result in large grain size castings and may contain excessive quantities of impure elements absorbed from the torch flame.

Not Adding New Alloy

The melting, casting or recasting of buttons can cause the vaporization of certain components of the alloy and thus slightly change its composition. Each time the alloy is melted, a quantity of the interstitial elements (carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen) are absorbed from the torch flame. These elements tend to migrate and concentrate in the grain boundaries. Excessive amounts of interstitial elements result in brittle grain boundaries. Compensation by adding new alloy will assure that the metal retains its composition and reduce the probability of heat tears.

Overheated Investment

Overheated investments can lead to the growth of metal grains and the subsequent formation of hot tears. Use the recommended temperatures and times specified in the technical sheets for each alloy.

Quenching Alloy

Do not quench ceramic alloys; instead wait 25 minutes or more before removing the alloy from the investment.

Incomplete Castings
Gases Forming During Casting

Oxidation of alloy especially the higher platinum and palladium containing alloys. Please see section on brittle alloys above.
Incomplete burnout of the investment resulting in gas formation when in contact with the molten metal.
Sprue gauge sizes too small resulting in the entrapment of gases during casting. Patterns should be placed above the heat zone center of the ring. Spues should be a minimum of 8 gauge and use reservoirs when casting larger restorations and especially with larger pontics.
Dirty or contaminated crucibles that allow the entrapment of impurities that cause out gassing in the metal or when in contact with the investment.
Too high a burnout temperature or excessive overheating of metal can cause a reaction at the metal/investment interface with the possible evolution of gaseous products. Use the recommended burnout temperatures specified in the alloy technique sheets.

Inadequate Spruing Techniques and Waxing too Thin

Sprues and runner bars must be of sufficient gauge to assure that the molten alloy will flow freely during casting. Too narrow a sprue gauge, too long a sprue, or pattern walls too thin may cause insufficient flow to all parts of the casting resulting in voids and potential porosity. Sprues should be placed at the thickest portion of the wax-up and the reservoirs 1.5-2mm (1/4 inch) from the wax-up.

Insufficient Burnout of the Investment

Be sure to follow the instructions for the investment allowing sufficient time at temperature to assure all the investment is at equilibrium with the furnace temperature.

Insufficient Casting Force

Check spring of the casting machine and apply extra windings for lower density alloys. Check the balance of the arms periodically to assure smooth flow of the alloy during casting. The suggested number of windings depends on the condition of the spring and type of alloy used. High gold, dense alloys can typically be cast with as little as 2 windings in the casting machine. High palladium content alloys that have lower densities require 3 or more windings.

Insufficient Heating of the Metal

The metal must be sufficiently fluid to effectively cast. If the temperature is too low, the metal may partially solidify before completely filling the cavity. Typically, molten alloys should be white hot for proper casting; however avoid overheating the alloy at all costs (see Porosity in Casting).

Porosity or Pitting
Contamination

Contamination can come from a variety of sources including slag from old crucibles, grindings, inclusion of impurities from torch flame, improperly burnt wax in the investment, and other sources. Assure that all work areas are clean, that proper precautions are used to prevent contamination of the metal.

Insufficient Sprue Size

Small sprue gauges and long runner bars can cause the entrapment of air and decomposition products resulting in porosity. Too narrow a sprue gauge, too long a sprue run, or pattern walls too thin may cause insufficient flow to all parts of the casting resulting in voids and potential porosity. Sprues should be placed at the thickest portion of the wax-up and the reservoirs 1.5-2mm (1/4 inch) from the wax-up.

Overheated Alloys

Overheating can cause the volatile elements in an alloy (e.g., silver, zinc, indium, gallium, etc.) to vaporize resulting in the areas of pores or voids in the casting. If extensive colored fumes are seen on melting, it is likely that the alloy is being over heated.

Overheated Mold

Overheated molds can interfere with proper cooling of the alloy affecting casting density. Overheating furthermore may increase hydrogen or oxygen absorption by platinum group metals and in palladium-silver alloys. Calibrate burn-out ovens periodically to confirm temperatures. Use the suggested burnout temperature(s) listed in the alloy technique sheet. When using multiple rings, add an additional 10 minutes or more for each ring in the oven.

Too much old alloy used

Most alloys require that fresh alloy be added to the button when casting. This will reduce the affect of overheated alloy or contamination that might arise from reused alloy.

Under Heated Mold

Underheating the mold might result residual wax or plastic pattern not being completely burned out. This residual material can react with the molten alloy causing porosity. Periodically calibrate burn-out ovens to confirm temperatures. Use the suggested burnout temperature(s) listed in the alloy technique sheet. When using multiple rings, add an additional 10 minutes or more for each ring in the oven.

Suck Back
Improper Quantity of Alloy Used

There is a minimum and maximum alloy ratio. The minimum amount should be equal amount of alloy in the button as in the casting. The maximum is three times the alloy in the button as in the casting. If the button is too large, the alloy will stay molten too long causing suck back.

Improper Spruing

Sprues and runner bars must be of sufficient gauge to assure that the molten alloy will flow freely during casting. Too narrow a sprue gauge, too long a sprue, or pattern walls too thin may cause insufficient flow to all parts of the casting resulting in voids and potential porosity. Sprues should be placed at the thickest portion of the wax-up and the reservoirs 1.5-2mm (1/4 inch) from the wax-up.

Overheated Alloy

Overheated alloy remains fluid for too long a period of time, causing excess gases to form between the investment and the alloy, resulting in a suck back.

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