Patterns for Investment Casting

Technical Information

Featured Articles

Written by FOPAT Production Inc. for the March 2011 Issue of INCAST Magazine

New Foam Pattern Material Replaces Wax

Although wax, in one form or another, has been used for investment casting patterns for centuries, a new inovative foam material is proving itself as a viable replacement for as a pattern material for everyday production use- even in demanding military applications.

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Written by Tom Mueller of Express Pattern

New Options for Short Run Investment Casting

Over the last several years, the use of direct patterns (patterns created without the use of tooling or machining, usually by a rapid prototyping technique) has become increasingly accepted in the investment casting industry.

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Technical Information

Production Description

F101 is a water blown polyurethane foam made of confidential polymeric blends. All substances used to manufacture F101 are listed on the TSCA inventory. No halogen based flame retardants or blowing agents (CFC’s or HCFC’s) are used in the manufacture of this foam. (From MSDS)


Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Form: Cellular Solid
  • Flash Point (+600F,+316C); will burn in presence of sufficient heat and oxygen
  • Specific Gravity 0.10 to 0.60
  • Water Solubility: Not soluble
  • Density: 5-25 pcf (but can be tailored to meet customer application)
  • Compressive Strength: 250 psi
  • Tensile Strength: 300 psi

Stability and Reactivity

This is a stable material. Upon decomposition, this product emits carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and/or low molecular weight hydrocarbons. Tests conducted according to AITM 3.0005 show under the Flaming and Non-Flaming conditions gas levels well below the max accepted levels. The average concentration (in parts per million, ppm) of the following gas components of smoke did not exceed the limits listed in the ABD 00031:

  • Hydrogen Fluoride HF 100 ppm vol
  • Hydrogen Chloride HCl 150 ppm vol
  • Hydrogen Cyanide HCN 150 ppm vol
  • Sulfur Dioxide SO2/H2S 100 ppm vol
  • Nitrous Gases NO/NO 100 ppm vol
  • Carbon Monoxide CO 1000 ppm vol


Thermomechanical Analysis

Coefficient Of Thermal Expansion (CTE ):

  • (35 to 90C) = 73.5 microns/m/C
  • (150 to 200C) = 51.87 microns/m/C


Burnout Properties

  • Start Burn: 225C (437F)
  • Complete Burn: 1800F+; time and oxygen dependent
  • Ash Content after Burnout: 0.000% after 2 hrs @ 2000F