Methodology for Fine Art formulation applied to investment casting moulds
Ibrahim, Ahmad Rashdi Yan
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This research concerns the development of a methodology for formulation in Fine Art, Design and Craft practice. The methodology is applied to the choosing of formulations for bronze and glass investments casting moulds in which a significant ingredient is cuttlefish bone powder, but it is claimed to have an applicability beyond this particular example. The methodology involves four steps; identifying key attributes (effects) which the required formulation must display, identifying the roles, shapes and sizes of the components of the formulation, finding a model which combines the component characteristics into a visualisation of the formulation, referred to as a "microstructure drawing", and using the microstructure drawing to describe the behaviour of the formulation. The research approach taken is to search for a suitable set of formulations using a traditional trial-and-error process. The key attributes required of the formulation are defined in terms of the handling characteristics, and the mechanical integrity of the hardened mould. The components are then characterised using micrographic images and a set of symbols developed to represent their size, shape and function. Then a visualisation of the formulation is developed by mixing symbols in proportion to the amount used in the formulation. These microstructure drawings are then used to describe the behaviour of the formulation. Conclusions are drawn as to the value of the microstructure drawing as an additional "sense" which the practitioner can use when searching for a suitable formulation. Comments are made on the generic aspects of the work, the feasibility of using cuttlefish bone powder for investment casting moulds, and on the communicability of the methodology.