The term "investment" refers to the ceramic materials that are used to build a hollow shell into which molten metal is poured to make the castings. This term is derived from the solid mold process where a plaster-type material is poured, or invested, into a container that holds a clustered tree of small plastic patterns that are identical to the casting being produced. After the plaster has set, the disposable patterns are burned out leaving a hollow cavity into which the metal is poured.
The same method is used in the investment casting process
(also known as the lost wax process). Wax is injected into an aluminum die to produce a pattern that is an exact replica of the part to be produced. The method is similar to diecasting, but with wax used instead of molten metal.