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Powder metallurgy - introduction
Powder metallurgy involves powders for manufacturing metal parts. Powder metallurgy comprises the following general stages: • • • Powder preparation; Pressing (compacting) to obtain the desired shape; Sintering the pressed parts.
Powder metallurgy allows reducing machining operation due to forming parts with minimum tolerances. Powder metallurgy permits manufacture of materials, which can not be produced any other technologies: refractory materials, hard materials, wear resistant materials, permanent magnets, porous metals, mixtures of dissimilar metals, possessing different melting points or insoluble in liquid state, various combinations of mixtures of metals with non-metals. Powder metallurgy is used in the following industries: • • • • • • automotive (brake pads, gear parts, connecting engine bearings); aerospace (light weight composite materials); aluminum rods, planetary earners, materials, sintered
cutting tools (hard metals, diamond containing materials); medicine (dental implants, surgical instruments); abrasives (grinding and polishing wheels and discs); electrical, electronic and computer parts (permanent magnets, electrical contacts).
The following powder preparation methods are used: Atomization Atomization is one of the most effective industrial powder preparation methods. This method involves disintegration (atomizing) of liquid metal by means of high speed medium (air, inert gas, water) striking the melt streaming through a nozzle. • • • • • • The molten alloy is prepared in a furnace and then it is transferred to the tundish. The melt is poured from the tundish through the nozzle into the chamber. The water (air, gas) jets break the melt stream into fine droplets. The droplets solidify when they fall in the chamber. The powder is collected at the bottom of the chamber. The powder is removed from the chamber and dried (if necessary).
Compiled by Ankush N Nayak, Dept. of MME, NITK Surathkal
NITK Surathkal . vibratory. which move in a rotating drum and crush the metal pieces into fine particles.substech.com Water atomization Pump Powder www.drum diameter. involving breaking solid This method is generally applied for the preparation of powders of brittle materials.substech.8*Ncr Ncr may be determined from the expression: Ncr = (g/2D)1I2/n (revolutions per second) where: g .com Comminution Comminution is a mechanical method of powder preparation particles in mills (ball. hummer). Dept. utilizing the energy of steel steel balls. IfN>O. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.6-0. N = O.8*Ncr then the balls "stick" to the drum wall and no grinding ocurrs. Maximum grinding effect is achieved at optimal rotation speed of the mill (N). The most widely used communition machine is ball mill. D . of MME.acceleration due to gravity.Source: www.
substech.8*Ncr then the balls go up together with the rotating drum and then fall down and roll providing grinding by combined action of strike and rubbing. Apparent density. Compressibility. • • Die pressing of metallic powders Die pressing (molding) is the powder compaction method involving uniaxial pressure applied to the powder placed in a die between two rigid punches. NITK Surathkal .Source: www. The grinding effect in this case is low (only rubbing). which was freely (without pressing or tapping) poured into the container.degree to which the powder compacts as a function of the applied pressure.Particle may be spherical (gas atomization).6*Ncr then the balls roll without falling.com If N<O. This method is used for fabrication of copper powders. Dept. IfN = O. dendrite like (electrolytic deposition). of MME. Particle size. The scheme of the die pressing method is presented in the picture: Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. Size distribution (relative quantities of different size fractions). Chemical methods Metal powders may be prepared by reduction of the metal oxides (carbides) followed by mechanical crushing or precipitation of metals from solution (hydrometallurgical method). Apparent density is a function of porosity of the particles.ability of the powder to flow through a calibrated orifice. Powder characteristics • • • • Particle shape. Powder may be also prepared by electrolytic deposition of a metal at the cathode followed by mechanical crushing of the deposited material.the mass of a unite volume of the powder. Flowability. porous (reduced oxides).6-0. Die (uniaxial) pressing is effectively used for mass production of simple parts (alternative method is isostatic pressing). These methods are called chemical powder preparation methods. regularity of their shapes and variety of their sizes. irregularly shaped (water atomization).
• • Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. At this stage a controlled amount of the powder is fed into the die cavity. Upper punch moves down and presses the powder with a predetermined pressure.Source: www.com Die fiU stage r Compactiom Upper punch t The pressing process consists of the following stages: • Die filling. "Green" compact part ejection and removal ("green" compact. of MME. Dept.unsintered powder compact).substech.000 psi (69 MPa to 830 MPa).000 psi to 120. Compaction. The pressure varies between 10. NITK Surathkal .
Dept. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.com The pressing cycle repeats 400 to 5000 times/hour. In the wet bag method the mold is removed and refilled after each pressure cycle.substech. Isostatic pressing of metallic powders Isostatic pressing is the powder compaction method involving applying pressure from multiple directions through a liquid or gaseous medium surrounding the compacted part. powder filling properties and the part size and geometry. which is conducted at room temperature is called cold pressing. depending on the press type. Die pressing. Cold isostatic pressing (CIP) is conducted at room temperature. If the pressing process is conducted at increased temperature it is called hot pressing. higher green compact density and higher (than in cold pressing) strength of the part. com There are two types of cold isostatic pressing: wet bag and dry bag.ostadc pressing -- Pressurization source WVv'W. This method is suitable for compaction of large and complicated parts. Hot pressing permits obtaining better compaction. NITK Surathkal .Source: www. of MME. Hydraulic and mechanical presses with load up to 750 tons are used for the powder die pressmg. substech. A flexible (commonly polyurethane) mold immersed in a pressurized liquid medium (commonly water) is used in the cold isostatic pressing method (see the scheme below): Cold h.
The dry bag method is used for compaction of simpler and smaller parts.com In the dry bag method the mold is an integral part of the vessel. Cans made of stainless steel. and then it is sintered in order to close the interconnecting porosity. The sintered (but still porous) part is then pressed isostatically at high temperature without any can (mold). when the material of the separate particles diffuse to the neighboring powder particles.Source: www. high speed steels. Hot isostatic pressing (HIP) involves isostatic pressing conducted at increased temperature. As a pressure medium a gas (Nitrogen or Argon) is used. causing consolidation of powder particles. diminish or even close up. The work pressures. resulting in densification of the part. Titanium alloys. of MME. NITK Surathkal . hard alloys and vanous ceramics are Sintering of metals Sintering is a method involving consolidation of powder grains by heating the green compact part to a high temperature below the melting point.000 psi to 44. In this case the part is first compacted by cold isostatic pressing method. taking place in the green compact. produced by the hot isostatic method (HIP). Hot isostatic method (HIP) combines pressing and sintering. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. During the diffusion process the pores. or mild steel are used in the method.substech. healing voids and pores. The cold isostatic pressing (CIP) method has the following advantages as compared to the die cold pressing method: • • better uniformity of compaction. super-alloys.000 psi (100 MPa to 300 MPa). The part shrinks and densifies. improvement of its mechanical properties. more complex forms (for example long thin-walled tubes) may be compacted. which are applied in the hot isostatic pressing method. are commonly between 15. forming sound high strength structure. The method may be used without a mold. Dept.
hot die pressing). Preheating zone for removing lubricant and other organic materials.corn particles Decrease of the porosity. NITK Surathkal . Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. Dept. is determined by the level of the initial porosity of the green compact. Cooling zone. www. of MME. having the melting point lower. Sintering process may be conducted in different atmospheres: air. than the melting point of the base metal (for example in copper-lead-tin bearing alloys). where the sintered parts cool down.substech. inert atmosphere. Sintering is enhanced if a liquid phase takes part in the process. All commercially used metals may be sintered. caused by the sintering process.com Siatering 'owder Pores.Source: www. Sintering zone. sintering temperature and time. Continuous belt furnaces are commonly used for the sintering process. In this machine a mesh belt conveyor moves the parts through a long tube like furnace. 3.substech. Typical sintering furnace has three zones: 1. where the diffusion occurs. This occurs when the powder contains a component. 2. reducing atmosphere (containing Hydrogen or carbon monoxide) or in vacuum. Sintering occurs simultaneously with pressing in the hot pressing processes (hot isostatic pressing.
' JE XItTUSIOn Dir. Dept.substech.substech.Source: www. The slurry is poured into a mold made of a micro-porous material (e. NITK Surathkal .g. consolidating the ceramic part. Ram Container www. Slip casting is used for manufacturing parts.com Extrusion The two possible schemes of extrusion are presented in the picture: . bars. fine china. thermocouple components. sanitary ware. gypsum). of MME. sinks.eet e:xtrllJJsion.a stable suspension. long plates. consisting of ceramic powders.com Extrusion ram forces the ceramic paste through a die. Slip Casting Slip casting technique is used for shape forming ceramic slurry . heat exchanger tubes. which may be cut into pieces of required length. Extrusion is used for manufacturing furnace tubes. resulting in a long product (rods. thermal insulation Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. which is capable to soak the liquid from the slurry. processing additives and 20-35% ofliquid (water or solvent). pipes) of regular cross-section.
substech. of MME. The process is economical and it is used for manufacturing large complex shapes parts such as turbine rotors. Tape Casting is used for manufacturing insulators.com Gel Casting Gel Casting is a process of shape forming slurry prepared from ceramic powder mixed with a solution of organic monomer. multilayer ceramics for capacitors and dielectric Metal injection molding Metal injection molding (MIM) is a method of compaction of a metal powder fed and injected into a mold cavity by means of a screw rotating in cylinder. which may be stripped from the supporting surface. The principal scheme of the injection molding method is shown in the picture: Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. evaporates. Tape Casting Tape Casting is a process of forming a thin film of ceramic slurry spread over a flat surface. The method is similar to the injection molding of polymers. the monomer polymerizes. forming a gel that binds ceramic powder particles into a strong complex-shaped part. NITK Surathkal . containing in the slurry. The slurry film thickness is controlled by a knife edge located above the moving carrier surface. The solvent. resulting in formation of ceramic sheet. When the slurry is poured into a mold. The parts may be machined before firing. Dept.Source: www.
Thermal debinding. of MME. Injection of the warm powder with molten binder into the mold by means of the screw.low melt polymer. 2. than the molding time in the alternative methods.com The processing technology comprises the following stages: 1. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.substeeh. nickel alloys. The method permits to produce part with close tolerance. Mixing the metal powder with 30% . tungsten and molybdenum. Debinding. Dept.substech. There are two debinding methods: a.10-20 min. Removal of the part from the mold after cooling down of the mixture. NITK Surathkal . Metal injection molding method (MIM) is widely used for manufacturing small parts having complex shapes.the binder is heated above the volatilization temperature. Solvent debinding. Metal injection molding method (MIM) is involved in processing carbon steels. 5. stainless steels. This shrinkage is taken into account in the mold design.com (ajieetiofl molding Powder Nozzle www.removal of the binder. due to the consistent shrinkage.the binder is dissolved by a solvent or by water.40% of a binder.Source: www. b. Sintering the "green" compact at a temperature close (but below) to the melting point. 3. The molding cycle in the injection molding method is about 10 sec. which much less. 4.
com The most accepted mechanism of the pulsed electric current sintering (PECS)is based on the micro-spark discharge in the gap between neighboring powder particles. The purified surface layers of the particles melt and fuse to each other forming "necks" between the particles.rge EI!eetrl.tering -(SPS) mechanism Plasma h~atin~Jou~c heating r~a.. The electrical discharge between powder particles results in localized and momentary heating of the particles surfaces up to several thousands °C. Spark Plasma Si. The spark plasma sintering process proceeds through three stages: 1.substech.substech. . Spark plasma sintering mechanism The mechanism of the spark plasma sintering is still unclear therefore the process name pulsed electric current sintering (PECS) should be considered as more correct. Dept. www. However commercially the name SPS (spark plasma sintering) is more common. NITK Surathkal . Plasma heating.sma 'I1.iscba.e~d ClijJr~ent . of MME. Since the micro-plasma discharges form uniformly throughout the sample volume the generated heat is also uniformly distributed. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. The particles surfaces are purified and activated due to the high temperature causing vaporization of the impurities concentrated on the particle surface.com Spark plasma sintering Spark plasma sintering (SPS) or pulsed electric current sintering (PECS) is a sintering technique utilizing uniaxial force and a pulsed (on-off) direct electrical current (DC) under low atmospheric pressure to perform high speed consolidation of the powder.Source: www.
-.bl!te •.. The joule heat is generated by the electrical current. The heated material becomes softer and it exerts plastic deformation under the uniaxial force.=. Spark plasma sintering technique Spark plasma sintering (SPS) is performed in a Graphite die. Spark Plasma Sintterjjng (SPS) G..====.jtte dle www. The mechanical scheme of the process is similar to the Uniaxial (Die) Pressing.. The load (commonly up to 15000 psillOO MPa) is transferred to the powder through the upper punch..Source: www.----1---.substech. I I I I --.snbstech...I Vaeuam c!hamIM~..r Grap~.11.com Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.. Joule heating. Plastic deformation combined with diffusion result in the densification of the powder compact to over 99% of its theoretical density. NITK Surathkal .ra. The joule heat increases the diffusion of the atoms/molecules in the necks enhancing their growth. of MME. I I I I I I I I 1 ='='='='1 I I I :rowde~' l _ . At this stage the pulsed DC electrical current flows from particle to particle through the necks connecting them. The pulsed DC power supply is connected to the upper and lower punches/electrodes. Dept. Localized character of heating and its uniform distribution allow rapid temperature rise and drop. which diminish coarsening (growth) of the material grains.... Plastic deformation. 3. Iltl-'h pIJJL(·~~ .com 2.
Binders are not necessary. Since only surface layers of the powder particles are heated in the spark plasma sintering process. Dept. Easy operation.substech. The process is conducted under either low pressure (vacuum) or inert gas atmosphere. NITK Surathkal . Better purification and activation of the powder particles surfaces. Spark plasma sintering process is fast. Expensive pulsed DC generator is required. Uniform sintering. Current: several thousands amperes. Advantages of spark plasma sintering: • • • • • • • • • Fast sintering process. Different materials (Metals. composites) may be processed. Low grain growth (nano-grain materials may be prepared).Source: www. Ceramics. DC pause time: few to tens of ms. DC pulse time: few to tens of ms. Compaction and sintering stages are combined in one operation. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. of MME. Its overall duration is commonly 5-20 minutes.com The pulsed DC electrical current parameters: • • • • Voltage: few volts. High energy efficiency. the average (monitored) temperature of the compact is relatively low: few hundred A °C lower than in conventional sintering process. Disadvantages of spark plasma sintering: • • Only simple symmetrical shapes may be prepared.
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