Measuring Odors and VOCs from Metal Casting in Foundries

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Casting is a part of metalworking. It is a process in which liquid metal is poured into a mold, which includes a hollow cavity of the required shape, and is subsequently allowed to cool and solidify. The solidified part is called cast, which is broken or ejected out of the mold to finish the process. These processes are performed in foundries.

However, due to the nature of work and environment, the metal casting industry often pollues the environment. Casting operations generate particulate matter, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and odor-causing compounds. An increasing number of problems and complaints are associated with the odors produced by foundries in populated areas.

Detrimental Effects of Casting

The following are the important environmental issues associated with the metal casting industry:

  • Hazardous Air pollutants (HAPS) contain gases, which are produced when molds containing carbon materials are exposed to high temperatures, which occurs when pouring cast metals
  • Foundry waste is prioritized within the global foundry industry from the economic standpoint as well as the environmental standpoint

Casting melting and production causes harmful emissions that are basically associated with the use of fuels/additives or raw material impurities. The use of oil or coke may result in the emission of the burning product. Likewise, the use of additives in the process produces a reaction. The presence of impurities in waste that mix together by melting may result in the formation of a product with incomplete combustion or a recombination and dust.

How to Reduce or Eliminate Harmful Emissions Using zNose?

In order to reduce or get rid of these complaints, foundries need novel technologies to provide on-site, real time monitoring and measurement.

Electronic Sensor Technology Inc.’s zNose®

Electronic Sensor Technology Inc.’s zNose® is a portable instrument, which is capable of separating and quantifying the concentration of individual chemicals within any chemical vapor or odor in just 10 seconds.

In a single-day, the performance of the zNose® was demonstrated at a commercial scale operating foundry.

The aim of this demonstration was to determine and measure the source of chemical odors generated on-site within the foundry and also to quantify the odor concentration within the surrounding community close to the foundry. In just one day of testing, more than 125 measurements were carried out onsite.

The zNose® is a promising tool designed for detection and analysis of foundry odors. In order to demonstrate ppt and lower sensitivity in near real time, a battery-powered remote sampler was used to collect and concentrate environmental samples in the surrounding community. Since the measurements are based on gas chromatography, findings can be validated by independent laboratory testing.

On-site measurements in real time enable foundry operators to react to variable emission levels and to objectively and quantitatively assess the effect of these odors within the surrounding community. This not only keeps a control on the harmful odors for the communities surrounding them but also creates a safer environment.


This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Electronic Sensor Technology.

For more information on this source, please visit Electronic Sensor Technology.

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