Vacuum casting
Vacuum casting is a casting
In metalworking, casting involves pouring liquid metal into a mold, which contains a hollow cavity of the desired shape, and then allowing it to cool and solidify. The solidified part is also known as a casting, which is ejected or broken out of the mold to complete the process...

 process for elastomer
An elastomer is a polymer with the property of viscoelasticity , generally having notably low Young's modulus and high yield strain compared with other materials. The term, which is derived from elastic polymer, is often used interchangeably with the term rubber, although the latter is preferred...

s using a vacuum
In everyday usage, vacuum is a volume of space that is essentially empty of matter, such that its gaseous pressure is much less than atmospheric pressure. The word comes from the Latin term for "empty". A perfect vacuum would be one with no particles in it at all, which is impossible to achieve in...

 to draw the liquid material into the mold. This process is used when air entrapment is a problem, there are intricate details or undercuts
Undercut (manufacturing)
In manufacturing, an undercut is a special type of recessed surface. In turning it refers to a recess in a diameter. In machining it refers to a recess in a corner. In molding it refers to a feature that cannot be molded using only a single pull mold...

, or if the material is fiber
Fiber is a class of materials that are continuous filaments or are in discrete elongated pieces, similar to lengths of thread.They are very important in the biology of both plants and animals, for holding tissues together....

 or wire
A wire is a single, usually cylindrical, flexible strand or rod of metal. Wires are used to bear mechanical loads and to carry electricity and telecommunications signals. Wire is commonly formed by drawing the metal through a hole in a die or draw plate. Standard sizes are determined by various...


The main disadvantage to this process is the high price for the equipment.


The process starts by placing a two piece silicone
Silicones are inert, synthetic compounds with a variety of forms and uses. Typically heat-resistant and rubber-like, they are used in sealants, adhesives, lubricants, medical applications , cookware, and insulation....

 mold in a vacuum chamber
Vacuum chamber
A vacuum chamber is a rigid enclosure from which air and other gases are removed by a vacuum pump. The resulting low pressure, commonly referred to as a vacuum, allows researchers to conduct physical experiments or to test mechanical devices which must operate in outer space...

. The raw material is mixed and degassed
Degasification is the removal of dissolved gases from liquids, especially water or aqueous solutions, in the fields of science and engineering. There are numerous possible methods for such removal of gases from solids....

 and then poured into the mold. The vacuum is then released and the mold removed from the chamber. Finally, the casting is cured
Curing (chemistry)
Curing is a term in polymer chemistry and process engineering that refers to the toughening or hardening of a polymer material by cross-linking of polymer chains, brought about by chemical additives, ultraviolet radiation, electron beam or heat...

in an oven and the mold removed to release the completed casting. The silicone mold can be reused.

In some machines the chamber where the material is mixed a pressure can be applied to increase the pressure differential between the mold cavity and the mixing chamber.
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