Improved Manufacturing Technology for Investment Casting Cores

Period of Performance: 04/21/2006 - 08/21/2007


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Mikro Systems, Inc.
1180 Seminole Trail Array
Charlottesville, VA 22901
Principal Investigator


This Phase I SBIR project will demonstrate the ability to produce investment cast ceramic cores at lower cost and in a shorter time than current manufacturing technology, while improving process yield. This will result in more rapid and less costly prototyping of advanced aircraft engine components and will enable production of turbine airfoils having advanced film cooling features that have not been possible using current technology. The enabling technology is Mikro Systems patent-pending Tomo-Lithographic- Molding (TLM ) process. Using micro-molding and casting techniques and application-specific materials, the TLM process has successfully produced fine-featured ceramic strainers and core specimens. Ceramic material compositions, binder systems, and firing schedules have been developed that are directly applicable to this effort. Phase I will apply the TLM process to the rapid, cost-effective production of prototype cores and associated manufacturing tools. Two iterations of sample core specimens will be produced and taken through several critical steps in the investment casting process, including wax lay-up, wax injection, shelling, and wax removal. A detailed process assessment will be performed comparing the TLM process with current technology and quantifying potential cost and time savings. Phase II will extend the work to include DS and SX casting.