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New recycling processes for the foundry sands - NRPFS

The project, funded by the Cariplo Foundation and coordinated by the IUSS PAVIA, University School for Advanced Studies, with the involvement of the University of Brescia and the National Interuniversity Consortium for Materials Science and Technology (INSTM) and the participation of Assofond, was created to encourage the recycling of foundry sands and adopt a true circular economy model to produce and manage waste in an efficient and green manner.

The adoption of a circular economy model aims to revise traditional models of sourcing, production, consumption, and waste management. Foundries are a typical example of a circular economy, in that the main raw material of castings is often scrap metal that is recycled, yet there is one input that is still used according to a
linear approach, which is sand for casting molds or cores. Foundries use the highest quality sands, with quartz percentages close to 99 percent and much more expensive than average. After being used in the foundry they still possess great qualities
techniques, and sending them to landfill or low-quality use such as road embankment subgrades implies a big waste of resources.

The project involves the analysis and development of the recycling of sand from foundries as a secondary raw material for other production processes, particularly in the ceramics, brick and glass sectors, in accordance with the industrial symbiosis model.

Objectives and expected scientific results

The goal is to create a circular economy process aimed at generating a new potential market for materials that are currently considered a waste, overcoming technical, regulatory, economic and informational barriers. The development of this recycling process would have two important benefits:
1. environmental, in that each ton of recycled sand that replaces virgin sand would allow for a decisive reduction in impacts: for example, the saving of 43 kg of CO2 per ton; if one considers that about 250,000 tons of sand are disposed of each year in Lombardy alone, if they were used as inputs, as much as 10,320 tons of CO2 equivalent could be saved plus the reduction of numerous other impacts.
2. An economic benefit for companies, both those of origin (the foundries) and those of destination, as there would be a substantial reduction in the cost of disposal on the one hand and of supplying sand as a secondary raw material on the other.

Project Team

Scuola Universitaria Superiore IUSS Pavia (capofila): , Giulia Casamento, Chiara De Bernardi, Mario Martina, Beatrice Monteleone

Marco Frey, Responsabile Scientifico

Nicola Fabbri, Responsabile operativo

Università di Brescia: Alessandro Abbà, Carlotta Alias, Flavio Cioli, Laura Borgese, Laura Eleonora Depero, Sabrina Sorlini

Consorzio Interuniversitario Nazionale per la Scienza e la Tecnologia dei Materiali: Andrea Caneschi



Video / Podcast
Ricicla tech - Sabbie di Fonderie: da rifiuto a risorsa