The aesthetic value of metal artworks has been greatly valued since the Early Bronze Age. In prehistoric times, metal works have mainly functional purpose as well. Today, while we still appreciate metal works made for purely decorative items, we also marvel at the fact that metal works are essential components of many of the everyday things we use.
Form and function
Sculptures, filigree works and jewelry require resilient yet malleable building materials. Metals are the perfect choice to create unforgettable and valuable pieces. Metals such as copper, iron, tin, brass, silver, and gold are some of the most commonly used materials for ornamental pieces and decorative items.
Metal casting has allowed workers to maximize the innate properties of metals and create wonderful works of art. Casting is also an essential step in creating functional items used from smartphones to automobiles.
By melting metal into fluid and pouring it into a mold, it is possible to create an endless array of shapes and forms. Casting has been around since ancient times. It is possibly one of the earliest known forms of handling metals.
Upon cooling, the metal is extracted from the mold in its desired form. Because it is a reliable and economical process, casting is widely applied in many types of metal works—both for decorative and functional purposes.
Cast metal products are used in piping systems because they are resistant to corrosion and can accommodate high water pressure. Cast products are useful in motors and engines where parts must be able to tolerate contraction and expansion while still retaining their basic form and function.
Applications requiring precise, lightweight yet durable parts make use of cast products as well. Various casting methods are now available to increase efficiency and produce designs specific to the requirements of manufacturers.
A closer look at cast iron
People who buy or procure steel and other types of metals are familiar with the properties and merits of cast iron. Cast iron describes a category of affordable, dense alloys characterized as having a higher than 2% carbon content.
These irons are widely used in casting because they fill a mold with great efficiency and require lower temperature than other metals to flow. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a type of metal for decorative purpose, cast iron is not the ideal choice given that it is brittle and cannot be bent. Its best qualities are wear resistance and resistant to oxidation.
Wear resistance have made it an engineering material used in a broad spectrum of applications including pipes, structural, and machine and automotive industry parts. It is also resistant to destruction and weakening by oxidation.
Among the numerous alloying elements are: carbon, silicon, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, titanium, vanadium, nickel and copper.
Today, foundries are reliant on recycled metals as raw materials. Casting makes good use of collected and processed metals so that they do not end up with other types of waste in overwhelmed landfills.
In production modern technology allows for the use of detailed molds so that shapes can be finer and more intricate. Nowadays, the metal parts created using the casting process can be so precise and detailed due to computerized automated design programs.