Source: www.substech.


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

base structural

high temperature

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).

Powder preparation
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

substech. of MME.drum diameter.8*Ncr Ncr may be determined from the expression: Ncr = (g/2D)1I2/n (revolutions per second) where: g .6-0. Maximum grinding effect is achieved at optimal rotation speed of the mill (N). N = O. D .substech.Source: www. The most widely used communition machine is ball mill. involving breaking solid This method is generally applied for the preparation of powders of brittle materials.8*Ncr then the balls "stick" to the drum wall and no grinding ocurrs. Water atomization Pump Powder www.acceleration due to gravity. NITK Surathkal . Compiled by Ankush N Comminution Comminution is a mechanical method of powder preparation particles in mills (ball. which move in a rotating drum and crush the metal pieces into fine particles. utilizing the energy of steel steel balls. hummer). vibratory. IfN>O.

6-0. IfN = O. Size distribution (relative quantities of different size fractions). Apparent density is a function of porosity of the particles. regularity of their shapes and variety of their sizes. Dept. which was freely (without pressing or tapping) poured into the container.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. Powder may be also prepared by electrolytic deposition of a metal at the cathode followed by mechanical crushing of the deposited to which the powder compacts as a function of the applied pressure. 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.Source: www. The scheme of the die pressing method is presented in the picture: Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. of MME. Flowability. NITK Surathkal .Particle may be spherical (gas atomization). dendrite like (electrolytic deposition). Die (uniaxial) pressing is effectively used for mass production of simple parts (alternative method is isostatic pressing). • • 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.6*Ncr then the balls roll without If N<O.ability of the powder to flow through a calibrated orifice. Particle size. This method is used for fabrication of copper powders.the mass of a unite volume of the powder. These methods are called chemical powder preparation methods. porous (reduced oxides). Powder characteristics • • • • Particle shape. The grinding effect in this case is low (only rubbing).substech. irregularly shaped (water atomization). Compressibility.

Dept. The pressure varies between 10.unsintered powder compact). Compaction. NITK Surathkal .Source: www. "Green" compact part ejection and removal ("green" compact.000 psi to 120. • • Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. Upper punch moves down and presses the powder with a predetermined pressure. At this stage a controlled amount of the powder is fed into the die Die fiU stage r Compactiom Upper punch t The pressing process consists of the following stages: • Die filling.000 psi (69 MPa to 830 MPa).substech. of MME.

Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.ostadc pressing -- Pressurization source WVv'W. NITK Surathkal . powder filling properties and the part size and geometry. In the wet bag method the mold is removed and refilled after each pressure The pressing cycle repeats 400 to 5000 times/hour. depending on the press type. substech. Hydraulic and mechanical presses with load up to 750 tons are used for the powder die pressmg. com There are two types of cold isostatic pressing: wet bag and dry bag. Die pressing. This method is suitable for compaction of large and complicated parts.substech. If the pressing process is conducted at increased temperature it is called hot pressing. 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. Hot pressing permits obtaining better compaction.Source: www. Dept. of MME. higher green compact density and higher (than in cold pressing) strength of the part. which is conducted at room temperature is called cold pressing. Cold isostatic pressing (CIP) is conducted at room temperature. 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.

super-alloys. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. In this case the part is first compacted by cold isostatic pressing method. The method may be used without a mold. improvement of its mechanical properties. NITK Surathkal . more complex forms (for example long thin-walled tubes) may be compacted. healing voids and pores. resulting in densification of the part. Titanium alloys. causing consolidation of powder particles. The sintered (but still porous) part is then pressed isostatically at high temperature without any can (mold) In the dry bag method the mold is an integral part of the vessel. Hot isostatic pressing (HIP) involves isostatic pressing conducted at increased temperature. The work pressures. are commonly between 15.Source: www. Hot isostatic method (HIP) combines pressing and sintering. high speed steels. diminish or even close up. and then it is sintered in order to close the interconnecting porosity. produced by the hot isostatic method (HIP). Dept.000 psi to 44. which are applied in the hot isostatic pressing method. when the material of the separate particles diffuse to the neighboring powder particles. Cans made of stainless steel. 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. or mild steel are used in the method. forming sound high strength structure.000 psi (100 MPa to 300 MPa). During the diffusion process the pores. of MME. The part shrinks and densifies. The cold isostatic pressing (CIP) method has the following advantages as compared to the die cold pressing method: • • better uniformity of compaction. As a pressure medium a gas (Nitrogen or Argon) is used. taking place in the green compact. The dry bag method is used for compaction of simpler and smaller parts.

caused by the sintering process. Sintering is enhanced if a liquid phase takes part in the process.substech. of MME. hot die pressing). 2.substech. In this machine a mesh belt conveyor moves the parts through a long tube like furnace. Sintering zone. where the diffusion occurs. having the melting point lower. www. Continuous belt furnaces are commonly used for the sintering process. sintering temperature and time. Typical sintering furnace has three zones: 1.corn particles Decrease of the porosity. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. inert atmosphere. reducing atmosphere (containing Hydrogen or carbon monoxide) or in vacuum.Source: www. Siatering 'owder Pores. All commercially used metals may be sintered. Sintering process may be conducted in different atmospheres: air. Preheating zone for removing lubricant and other organic materials. Sintering occurs simultaneously with pressing in the hot pressing processes (hot isostatic pressing. Cooling zone. NITK Surathkal . where the sintered parts cool down. Dept. This occurs when the powder contains a component. is determined by the level of the initial porosity of the green compact. than the melting point of the base metal (for example in copper-lead-tin bearing alloys).

Dept. of MME. gypsum). resulting in a long product (rods. long plates. sinks. which is capable to soak the liquid from the slurry. Ram Container www. processing additives and 20-35% ofliquid (water or solvent). Slip casting is used for manufacturing parts.' JE XItTUSIOn Dir. NITK Surathkal .Source: www. consolidating the ceramic part. thermocouple components. Slip Casting Slip casting technique is used for shape forming ceramic slurry .a stable suspension. heat exchanger Extrusion ram forces the ceramic paste through a die. sanitary ware.g.substech. bars. pipes) of regular cross-section.eet e:xtrllJJsion. Extrusion is used for manufacturing furnace tubes. The slurry is poured into a mold made of a micro-porous material (e. fine china. thermal insulation Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. which may be cut into pieces of required length. consisting of ceramic Extrusion The two possible schemes of extrusion are presented in the picture: .

resulting in formation of ceramic sheet. the monomer polymerizes. The principal scheme of the injection molding method is shown in the picture: Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. containing in the slurry.Source: www. The process is economical and it is used for manufacturing large complex shapes parts such as turbine rotors. The parts may be machined before firing. Dept. which may be stripped from the supporting surface. evaporates. 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. Tape Casting is used for manufacturing insulators. The method is similar to the injection molding of polymers. When the slurry is poured into a mold. of MME.substech. Tape Casting Tape Casting is a process of forming a thin film of ceramic slurry spread over a flat surface. NITK Surathkal .com Gel Casting Gel Casting is a process of shape forming slurry prepared from ceramic powder mixed with a solution of organic monomer. forming a gel that binds ceramic powder particles into a strong complex-shaped part. The solvent. The slurry film thickness is controlled by a knife edge located above the moving carrier surface.

Dept.Source: www. Sintering the "green" compact at a temperature close (but below) to the melting point.substech. The molding cycle in the injection molding method is about 10 sec. 4.substeeh. This shrinkage is taken into account in the mold design. Metal injection molding method (MIM) is widely used for manufacturing small parts having complex shapes. 5.removal of the binder. tungsten and molybdenum. Removal of the part from the mold after cooling down of the mixture. Debinding. Metal injection molding method (MIM) is involved in processing carbon steels. nickel alloys. Solvent debinding. There are two debinding methods: a.40% of a (ajieetiofl molding Powder Nozzle www. stainless steels. Compiled by Ankush N The processing technology comprises the following stages: 1. due to the consistent shrinkage. which much less. of MME. 3. b. Thermal debinding.the binder is dissolved by a solvent or by water. NITK Surathkal .10-20 min.the binder is heated above the volatilization temperature. than the molding time in the alternative methods. Mixing the metal powder with 30% . Injection of the warm powder with molten binder into the mold by means of the screw. The method permits to produce part with close tolerance. 2.low melt polymer.

NITK Surathkal . of MME..sma ' 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. 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.substech.tering -(SPS) mechanism Plasma h~atin~Jou~c heating r~a. The purified surface layers of the particles melt and fuse to each other forming "necks" between the particles.rge EI!eetrl. The particles surfaces are purified and activated due to the high temperature causing vaporization of the impurities concentrated on the particle 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 spark plasma sintering process proceeds through three stages: 1. Dept. .substech. Plasma heating.e~d ClijJr~ent . Spark Plasma Si. The electrical discharge between powder particles results in localized and momentary heating of the particles surfaces up to several thousands °C. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. However commercially the name SPS (spark plasma sintering) is more common. Since the micro-plasma discharges form uniformly throughout the sample volume the generated heat is also uniformly distributed.iscba. www.Source: www.

Spark Plasma Sintterjjng (SPS) G. Localized character of heating and its uniform distribution allow rapid temperature rise and drop. The heated material becomes softer and it exerts plastic deformation under the uniaxial force. which diminish coarsening (growth) of the material grains. I I I I I I I I 1 ='='='='1 I I I :rowde~' l _ Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. 3. The pulsed DC power supply is connected to the upper and lower punches/electrodes.substech.r Grap~.. At this stage the pulsed DC electrical current flows from particle to particle through the necks connecting!te •...snbstech. The joule heat increases the diffusion of the atoms/molecules in the necks enhancing their growth. Plastic deformation combined with diffusion result in the densification of the powder compact to over 99% of its theoretical density. The mechanical scheme of the process is similar to the Uniaxial (Die) Pressing... Joule heating. of MME..-. The joule heat is generated by the electrical current. Iltl-'h pIJJL(·~~ . NITK Surathkal .====.Source: www. The load (commonly up to 15000 psillOO MPa) is transferred to the powder through the upper punch. Dept.ra.I Vaeuam c!hamIM~.jtte dle www. Plastic deformation.. I I I I 2.11.. Spark plasma sintering technique Spark plasma sintering (SPS) is performed in a Graphite die.=..

Since only surface layers of the powder particles are heated in the spark plasma sintering process. Binders are not necessary. Its overall duration is commonly 5-20 minutes. Advantages of spark plasma sintering: • • • • • • • • • Fast sintering process. the average (monitored) temperature of the compact is relatively low: few hundred A °C lower than in conventional sintering process. Uniform sintering. of MME. Easy operation. The process is conducted under either low pressure (vacuum) or inert gas atmosphere. Compaction and sintering stages are combined in one operation. Spark plasma sintering process is fast. DC pulse time: few to tens of ms. Disadvantages of spark plasma sintering: • • Only simple symmetrical shapes may be prepared. Low grain growth (nano-grain materials may be prepared). Different materials (Metals. Ceramics. NITK Surathkal . High energy efficiency. Dept. DC pause time: few to tens of ms. Current: several thousands amperes.substech. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.Source: www. Expensive pulsed DC generator is required. composites) may be processed. Better purification and activation of the powder particles The pulsed DC electrical current parameters: • • • • Voltage: few volts.

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