Virginia Tech Opens Up to Spread The Word About Metalcasting
Every semester, the students at Virginia Tech hold an open house. They find that’s one of the most effective ways to advertise the foundry to people in the community who don’t know about the Virginia Tech Foundry Institute for Research & Education (VT FIRE).
During these open houses, guests can make a design in a bonded sand scratch plate mold. The scratch plate consists of a square indent in a sand mold into which the guests scratch any design they desire. This design is reflected in the casting. During a recent open house, 68 scratch plate molds were poured and finished by the VT FIRE students.
One of the other outreach activities that the VA Tech students enjoy is the foundry-in-a-box demonstrations they do at local schools and events. There are two different levels of demonstrations: a simple demonstration and an interactive demonstration. The simple demonstration is used at clubs or career fairs. The VA Tech students melt a tin-bismuth alloy on an induction hot plate and pour it into a permanent mold. This allows for a tangible demonstration of what the foundry industry does.
The more interactive foundry-in-a-box demonstration is taken to high schools, where there is more time and space to allow the high school students to create their own castings. The kids get to make their own mold from a VT pattern and green sand, and pour that mold using the hot plate and tin-bismuth alloy.
During the 2017-18 school year, the Virginia Tech students visited three different high schools, two activity fairs, and one career fair. These types of demonstrations are a great way to reach out to the community and inspire young people to learn more about the foundry industry.
Click here to see this story as it appears in the November/December 2018 issue of MCDP.