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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
hummer). of MME.8*Ncr Ncr may be determined from the expression: Ncr = (g/2D)1I2/n (revolutions per second) where: g . IfN>O. utilizing the energy of steel steel balls.substech. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.8*Ncr then the balls "stick" to the drum wall and no grinding ocurrs.6-0. NITK Surathkal .substech. Dept.drum diameter. involving breaking solid This method is generally applied for the preparation of powders of brittle materials. N = O. Maximum grinding effect is achieved at optimal rotation speed of the mill (N).acceleration due to gravity. The most widely used communition machine is ball mill.com Comminution Comminution is a mechanical method of powder preparation particles in mills (ball.Source: www. which move in a rotating drum and crush the metal pieces into fine particles. vibratory. D .com Water atomization Pump Powder www.
Size distribution (relative quantities of different size fractions). Compressibility. Particle size.substech. 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.degree to which the powder compacts as a function of the applied pressure. irregularly shaped (water atomization).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. The scheme of the die pressing method is presented in the picture: Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.6*Ncr then the balls roll without falling. • • 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. These methods are called chemical powder preparation methods. IfN = O. regularity of their shapes and variety of their sizes. Apparent density. of MME.6-0.Source: www.com If N<O. Flowability. Powder characteristics • • • • Particle shape.ability of the powder to flow through a calibrated orifice. dendrite like (electrolytic deposition). This method is used for fabrication of copper powders. Dept. porous (reduced oxides). The grinding effect in this case is low (only rubbing).Particle may be spherical (gas atomization). Die (uniaxial) pressing is effectively used for mass production of simple parts (alternative method is isostatic pressing). which was freely (without pressing or tapping) poured into the container.the mass of a unite volume of the powder. NITK Surathkal . Powder may be also prepared by electrolytic deposition of a metal at the cathode followed by mechanical crushing of the deposited material.
substech. Compaction.unsintered powder compact).000 psi (69 MPa to 830 MPa). At this stage a controlled amount of the powder is fed into the die cavity. of MME.Source: www. NITK Surathkal . "Green" compact part ejection and removal ("green" compact. Upper punch moves down and presses the powder with a predetermined pressure. • • Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.000 psi to 120. The pressure varies between 10. Dept.com Die fiU stage r Compactiom Upper punch t The pressing process consists of the following stages: • Die filling.
Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. which is conducted at room temperature is called cold pressing. Cold isostatic pressing (CIP) is conducted at room temperature. powder filling properties and the part size and geometry.substech. depending on the press type. Die pressing. higher green compact density and higher (than in cold pressing) strength of the part. 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. 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.Source: www. of MME. Dept. In the wet bag method the mold is removed and refilled after each pressure cycle. NITK Surathkal . Hydraulic and mechanical presses with load up to 750 tons are used for the powder die pressmg. This method is suitable for compaction of large and complicated parts. com There are two types of cold isostatic pressing: wet bag and dry bag. Hot pressing permits obtaining better compaction.com The pressing cycle repeats 400 to 5000 times/hour.ostadc pressing -- Pressurization source WVv'W. substech.
when the material of the separate particles diffuse to the neighboring powder particles. taking place in the green compact. resulting in densification of the part. super-alloys.com In the dry bag method the mold is an integral part of the vessel. and then it is sintered in order to close the interconnecting porosity. The method may be used without a mold. healing voids and pores. The sintered (but still porous) part is then pressed isostatically at high temperature without any can (mold). more complex forms (for example long thin-walled tubes) may be compacted. As a pressure medium a gas (Nitrogen or Argon) is used.000 psi to 44. or mild steel are used in the method. The part shrinks and densifies. The work pressures.Source: www.000 psi (100 MPa to 300 MPa). NITK Surathkal . improvement of its mechanical properties. During the diffusion process the pores. 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. Cans made of stainless steel.substech. In this case the part is first compacted by cold isostatic pressing method. causing consolidation of powder particles. of MME. high speed steels. The dry bag method is used for compaction of simpler and smaller parts. Hot isostatic method (HIP) combines pressing and sintering. Hot isostatic pressing (HIP) involves isostatic pressing conducted at increased temperature. which are applied in the hot isostatic pressing method. are commonly between 15. The cold isostatic pressing (CIP) method has the following advantages as compared to the die cold pressing method: • • better uniformity of compaction. Dept. diminish or even close up. produced by the hot isostatic method (HIP). forming sound high strength structure. Titanium alloys. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.
where the sintered parts cool down. caused by the sintering process. having the melting point lower. Continuous belt furnaces are commonly used for the sintering process. inert atmosphere. 2. www. 3.substech. sintering temperature and time. Dept. hot die pressing). Preheating zone for removing lubricant and other organic materials.corn particles Decrease of the porosity.com Siatering 'owder Pores. Sintering process may be conducted in different atmospheres: air. reducing atmosphere (containing Hydrogen or carbon monoxide) or in vacuum.Source: www.substech. This occurs when the powder contains a component. than the melting point of the base metal (for example in copper-lead-tin bearing alloys). where the diffusion occurs. All commercially used metals may be sintered. Sintering occurs simultaneously with pressing in the hot pressing processes (hot isostatic pressing. is determined by the level of the initial porosity of the green compact. Typical sintering furnace has three zones: 1. of MME. Sintering is enhanced if a liquid phase takes part in the process. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. Cooling zone. Sintering zone. NITK Surathkal . In this machine a mesh belt conveyor moves the parts through a long tube like furnace.
consolidating the ceramic part.com Extrusion The two possible schemes of extrusion are presented in the picture: . bars.a stable suspension. sinks.' JE XItTUSIOn Dir. heat exchanger tubes. consisting of ceramic powders. long plates. NITK Surathkal .substech. pipes) of regular cross-section.com Extrusion ram forces the ceramic paste through a die. resulting in a long product (rods. Dept. thermal insulation Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. which is capable to soak the liquid from the slurry.eet e:xtrllJJsion. Extrusion is used for manufacturing furnace tubes. The slurry is poured into a mold made of a micro-porous material (e. Ram Container www.g. of MME. Slip Casting Slip casting technique is used for shape forming ceramic slurry . Slip casting is used for manufacturing parts. thermocouple components. processing additives and 20-35% ofliquid (water or solvent). fine china. gypsum). which may be cut into pieces of required length.substech. sanitary ware.Source: www.
which may be stripped from the supporting surface. The process is economical and it is used for manufacturing large complex shapes parts such as turbine rotors. The slurry film thickness is controlled by a knife edge located above the moving carrier surface. The parts may be machined before firing. forming a gel that binds ceramic powder particles into a strong complex-shaped part. containing in the slurry.com Gel Casting Gel Casting is a process of shape forming slurry prepared from ceramic powder mixed with a solution of organic monomer. evaporates. Tape Casting is used for manufacturing insulators. of MME. Dept.substech. NITK Surathkal . The method is similar to the injection molding of polymers. When the slurry is poured into a mold. Tape Casting Tape Casting is a process of forming a thin film of ceramic slurry spread over a flat surface. resulting in formation of ceramic sheet. The solvent.Source: www. The principal scheme of the injection molding method is shown in the picture: Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. the monomer polymerizes. 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.
low melt polymer. Sintering the "green" compact at a temperature close (but below) to the melting point. Dept. b.removal of the binder.40% of a binder. This shrinkage is taken into account in the mold design. Thermal debinding. The method permits to produce part with close tolerance.substeeh.com (ajieetiofl molding Powder Nozzle www. due to the consistent shrinkage. Metal injection molding method (MIM) is widely used for manufacturing small parts having complex shapes. stainless steels. Debinding. Metal injection molding method (MIM) is involved in processing carbon steels. 5. of MME. 3.substech. Injection of the warm powder with molten binder into the mold by means of the screw.com The processing technology comprises the following stages: 1. The molding cycle in the injection molding method is about 10 sec. Mixing the metal powder with 30% . nickel alloys. 4.10-20 min. tungsten and molybdenum. NITK Surathkal .Source: www. Solvent debinding. which much less. Removal of the part from the mold after cooling down of the mixture. There are two debinding methods: a.the binder is heated above the volatilization temperature. 2.the binder is dissolved by a solvent or by water. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. than the molding time in the alternative methods.
The spark plasma sintering process proceeds through three stages: 1. of MME. NITK Surathkal .Source: www.substech.sma 'I1. .substech. The electrical discharge between powder particles results in localized and momentary heating of the particles surfaces up to several thousands °C. Plasma heating. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. Dept. The particles surfaces are purified and activated due to the high temperature causing vaporization of the impurities concentrated on the particle surface. The purified surface layers of the particles melt and fuse to each other forming "necks" between the particles. Since the micro-plasma discharges form uniformly throughout the sample volume the generated heat is also uniformly distributed.rge EI!eetrl.e~d ClijJr~ent . 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.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.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..tering -(SPS) mechanism Plasma h~atin~Jou~c heating r~a. However commercially the name SPS (spark plasma sintering) is more common. Spark Plasma Si. www.iscba.
Iltl-'h pIJJL(·~~ . The heated material becomes softer and it exerts plastic deformation under the uniaxial force... Dept.-.r Grap~.substech. The pulsed DC power supply is connected to the upper and lower punches/electrodes.11.Source: www. At this stage the pulsed DC electrical current flows from particle to particle through the necks connecting them. Localized character of heating and its uniform distribution allow rapid temperature rise and drop. I I I I I I I I 1 ='='='='1 I I I :rowde~' l _ . NITK Surathkal ..----1---. The mechanical scheme of the process is similar to the Uniaxial (Die) Pressing...bl!te •. Joule heating. Spark plasma sintering technique Spark plasma sintering (SPS) is performed in a Graphite die.=. Spark Plasma Sintterjjng (SPS) G.jtte dle www... 3. which diminish coarsening (growth) of the material grains. Plastic deformation.ra.I Vaeuam c!hamIM~.. The joule heat is generated by the electrical current. Plastic deformation combined with diffusion result in the densification of the powder compact to over 99% of its theoretical density. of MME. I I I I --.snbstech.====..com 2..com Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.. The load (commonly up to 15000 psillOO MPa) is transferred to the powder through the upper punch. The joule heat increases the diffusion of the atoms/molecules in the necks enhancing their growth.
Compaction and sintering stages are combined in one operation. Uniform sintering. Dept.com The pulsed DC electrical current parameters: • • • • Voltage: few volts.substech. the average (monitored) temperature of the compact is relatively low: few hundred A °C lower than in conventional sintering process. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.Source: www. Low grain growth (nano-grain materials may be prepared). Spark plasma sintering process is fast. of MME. DC pause time: few to tens of ms. Since only surface layers of the powder particles are heated in the spark plasma sintering process. Easy operation. DC pulse time: few to tens of ms. Ceramics. Current: several thousands amperes. Expensive pulsed DC generator is required. High energy efficiency. Its overall duration is commonly 5-20 minutes. Advantages of spark plasma sintering: • • • • • • • • • Fast sintering process. NITK Surathkal . Binders are not necessary. composites) may be processed. Disadvantages of spark plasma sintering: • • Only simple symmetrical shapes may be prepared. Different materials (Metals. Better purification and activation of the powder particles surfaces. The process is conducted under either low pressure (vacuum) or inert gas atmosphere.
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