Foundry Sand: Case Studies & General Applications

Case studies

In addition to the AFS Beneficial Use Manual for Foundries, more case studies can be downloaded from a variety of sources, including the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the USEPA website, the Recycling Materials Resource Center (RRC), MRC or the AFS library

Conceptual Applications for Foundry Sand

Proven market applications for metalcasting sand generally break down into three groups:

  • Highway and Construction Uses – Many types of construction projects require granular materials to level construction sites, create berms or retain walls, build embankments, or backfill structures. Properly-prepared metalcasting sands have been shown to perform well in all these applications, as well as in bases and subbases under roadways, paved surfaces and structures.  In pavement surfaces, foundry sands are also used in hot mix asphalt, and in Portland cement or concrete products. Metalcasting sand also performs extremely well in controlled low-strength material (CLSM), commonly referred to as "flowable fill."
  • Aggregate Substitutes – In these applications, recycled foundry sands substitute for other fine aggregates in a product that is bound together in some manner. The highest volume uses in manufactured products are feedstock for Portland Cement kilns, fine aggregate in hot mix asphalt and fine aggregate in flowable fill.  Although there are fewer examples of full-scale commercial use, metalcasting sands have also been shown to be useful fine aggregates in products such as ready mix concrete, pre-cast concrete, bricks, blocks and pavers, grouts and mortars, ceramic tiles and other manufactured products where sand is a raw material. 
  • Manufactured Soils – Metalcasting sand is an ideal candidate for soil blending because of its composition, color and consistency. In urban areas, soil scientists in nursery and landscaping companies are manufacturing soils by blending a range of recycled materials with organic matter. It is especially important to check with your state regulatory agency before considering this use, as many states have different rules for soil-based applications versus construction applications.

Construction Uses:

  • Manufactured Soils
  • Asphalt
  • Bases and Subbases
  • Cement Manufacturing
  • Concrete
  • Embankments
  • Flowable Fill
  • Landfill Construction
  • Structural Fills

Because metalcasting sand behaves in most respects like other sands, there are numerous other products and applications where the sand can be substituted for virgin aggregates.  Prospective users are encouraged to search the Metalcasting Library and then to contact us to see if there is experience in the industry with an application not described on this website.