Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Mechanical Engineering (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Mingzhi Xu


In the field of metal casting, cast parts often require an internal cavity to be made to meet design requirements. Frequently, these interior surfaces are not manufacturable through standard machining processes, and even when possible, they would most likely involve expensive and time-consuming operations. In order to avoid these machining costs, expendable ceramic or sand cores are manufactured and placed into the mold to allow the direct casting of complex internal geometries. This research seeks to use relatively inexpensive plastic 3D printing technology and the lost PLA casting process for the production of low-cost and rapidly producible ceramic cores. A suspension of fused silica flour in a colloidal silica binder was to be slip cast in a plaster mold and fired to create a final ceramic piece. This process has promising implications in the future of rapid prototyping of cast parts with extremely complex internal features.

Thesis Summary

This research seeks to combine the lost PLA investment casting process with slip casting to produce complex ceramic cores for use in the casting industry.