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

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

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

Dept. NITK Surathkal . Upper punch moves down and presses the powder with a predetermined pressure.unsintered powder compact).com 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). "Green" compact part ejection and removal ("green" compact. • • Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. The pressure varies between 10.000 psi to 120.Source: www. At this stage a controlled amount of the powder is fed into the die cavity. Compaction.substech. of MME.

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

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

of MME. than the melting point of the base metal (for example in copper-lead-tin bearing alloys). Preheating zone for removing lubricant and other organic materials. 3. reducing atmosphere (containing Hydrogen or carbon monoxide) or in vacuum.Source: www. sintering temperature and time. NITK Surathkal .substech. hot die pressing). Sintering zone. All commercially used metals may be sintered. Sintering process may be conducted in different atmospheres: air. having the melting point lower. www.corn particles Decrease of the porosity. is determined by the level of the initial porosity of the green compact. Continuous belt furnaces are commonly used for the sintering process. 2. inert atmosphere. Cooling zone. Dept. where the sintered parts cool down. Sintering occurs simultaneously with pressing in the hot pressing processes (hot isostatic Siatering 'owder Pores. This occurs when the powder contains a component. caused by the sintering process. Sintering is enhanced if a liquid phase takes part in the process. where the diffusion occurs. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.substech. In this machine a mesh belt conveyor moves the parts through a long tube like furnace. Typical sintering furnace has three zones: 1.

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

When the slurry is poured into a mold. resulting in formation of ceramic sheet. 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. which may be stripped from the supporting surface. 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. evaporates. Dept. containing in the slurry. The method is similar to the injection molding of polymers. forming a gel that binds ceramic powder particles into a strong complex-shaped Gel Casting Gel Casting is a process of shape forming slurry prepared from ceramic powder mixed with a solution of organic monomer.substech. The principal scheme of the injection molding method is shown in the picture: Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. Tape Casting Tape Casting is a process of forming a thin film of ceramic slurry spread over a flat surface.Source: www. of MME. NITK Surathkal . The parts may be machined before firing. the monomer polymerizes. The solvent.

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

tering -(SPS) mechanism Plasma h~atin~Jou~c heating r~a.sma 'I1. 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. www. The electrical discharge between powder particles results in localized and momentary heating of the particles surfaces up to several thousands °C. . Plasma heating. However commercially the name SPS (spark plasma sintering) is more common.Source: 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. The particles surfaces are purified and activated due to the high temperature causing vaporization of the impurities concentrated on the particle surface.substech. Dept. Since the micro-plasma discharges form uniformly throughout the sample volume the generated heat is also uniformly distributed. The spark plasma sintering process proceeds through three stages: 1.substech. Spark Plasma Si. The purified surface layers of the particles melt and fuse to each other forming "necks" between the 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..e~d ClijJr~ent . Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.iscba.rge EI!eetrl. NITK Surathkal . of MME.

11.-. The heated material becomes softer and it exerts plastic deformation under the uniaxial force. I I I I I I I I 1 ='='='='1 I I I :rowde~' l _ .. Spark plasma sintering technique Spark plasma sintering (SPS) is performed in a Graphite die. I I I I --.snbstech. 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. At this stage the pulsed DC electrical current flows from particle to particle through the necks connecting them. NITK Surathkal . Iltl-'h pIJJL(·~~ .. which diminish coarsening (growth) of the material grains.. Localized character of heating and its uniform distribution allow rapid temperature rise and drop. Plastic deformation. The pulsed DC power supply is connected to the upper and lower punches/electrodes.=. Plastic deformation combined with diffusion result in the densification of the powder compact to over 99% of its theoretical density.====.ra.r Grap~..jtte dle www..----1---. 3. of MME.I Vaeuam c!hamIM~.... Joule heating..Source: Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.substech. Dept.. The joule heat is generated by the electrical!te •.com 2. Spark Plasma Sintterjjng (SPS) G. 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. Low grain growth (nano-grain materials may be prepared). Expensive pulsed DC generator is required. composites) may be processed. of MME. Disadvantages of spark plasma sintering: • • Only simple symmetrical shapes may be prepared. DC pause time: few to tens of ms. Its overall duration is commonly 5-20 minutes. Uniform sintering. Current: several thousands amperes. High energy efficiency. the average (monitored) temperature of the compact is relatively low: few hundred A °C lower than in conventional sintering process. Dept. Advantages of spark plasma sintering: • • • • • • • • • Fast sintering process. Better purification and activation of the powder particles surfaces. Different materials (Metals.substech. Binders are not necessary. Easy operation. Compiled by Ankush N The pulsed DC electrical current parameters: • • • • Voltage: few volts. The process is conducted under either low pressure (vacuum) or inert gas atmosphere. Spark plasma sintering process is fast. Ceramics. Since only surface layers of the powder particles are heated in the spark plasma sintering process. DC pulse time: few to tens of ms.Source: www. NITK Surathkal .

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