Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering


Industrial and Entrepreneurial Engineering and Engineering Management

First Advisor

Dr. Sam Ramrattan

Second Advisor

Dr. Mitchel Keil

Third Advisor

Dr. Diana Prieto


Sand testing, LOI, infrared heating, silica sand, foundry

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The focus of this study is a proof of concept that infrared heating can be used to produce a reliable and rapid method of performing the loss on ignition test. The loss on ignition test is a foundry industry standard test that requires all moisture and volatile organic compounds be vaporized from a sample of foundry sand. The standard test as recommended by the American Foundry Society uses a muffle oven and requires nearly four hours to perform. This new concept performs the same test in approximately ten minutes. The biggest issues with the loss on ignition test are time and sample size. The time element is due to the temperatures within a muffle furnace. The sample size as recommended by the American Foundry Society is fifty grams. Both of these concerns come from outdated technology. With greater precision of measuring devices readily available, it is not necessary to process fifty grams of sand to gain a reliable result. With a scale capable of reading accurately to the ten-thousandth of a gram, it can be statistically proven that the same reliability can be achieved with ten grams or less.

The infrared heater is capable of reaching temperatures that exceed 1472℉ (900℃). The temperature necessary to fully vaporize all organic materials within foundry sand is approximately 1400℉ (760℃). Therefore, this heater is more than capable of reaching the necessary temperature to produce the needed results. Coupling this heater with a scale capable of reading to the fourth decimal place reduces the necessary sample of sand. Experiments use sample sizes of five, seven, and ten grams of sand. Within these sample sizes, two different sources of foundry sand are studied. Green sand provided by a local foundry and three percent shell silica sand are the two sands used for these experiments. Loss on ignition is determined as a percent of lost material divided by the original mass of the sand. This is given as a percent with the first decimal place included. This study shows accuracy exceeding this industry standard.