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

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

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

NITK Surathkal . Compaction. "Green" compact part ejection and removal ("green" compact.unsintered powder compact).com Die fiU stage r Compactiom Upper punch t The pressing process consists of the following stages: • Die filling.Source: www.000 psi to 120.000 psi (69 MPa to 830 MPa).substech. • • Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. Dept. Upper punch moves down and presses the powder with a predetermined pressure. of MME. At this stage a controlled amount of the powder is fed into the die cavity. The pressure varies between 10.

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

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

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

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

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

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

substech. Dept. 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. However commercially the name SPS (spark plasma sintering) is more common. . Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. 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 particles surfaces are purified and activated due to the high temperature causing vaporization of the impurities concentrated on the particle surface.sma 'I1.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.rge EI!eetrl. of MME. Plasma heating.e~d ClijJr~ent ..iscba. The spark plasma sintering process proceeds through three stages: 1. NITK Surathkal . www.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.tering -(SPS) mechanism Plasma h~atin~Jou~c heating r~a. Since the micro-plasma discharges form uniformly throughout the sample volume the generated heat is also uniformly distributed.

.r Grap~. Joule heating.----1---.snbstech. Plastic deformation combined with diffusion result in the densification of the powder compact to over 99% of its theoretical 2. The mechanical scheme of the process is similar to the Uniaxial (Die) Pressing.Source: www. 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.jtte dle www.. Iltl-'h pIJJL(·~~ . The joule heat is generated by the electrical current. which diminish coarsening (growth) of the material grains. At this stage the pulsed DC electrical current flows from particle to particle through the necks connecting them..=..====..11.. NITK Surathkal . The pulsed DC power supply is connected to the upper and lower punches/electrodes. Spark Plasma Sintterjjng (SPS) G.I Vaeuam c!hamIM~.. Plastic deformation. 3. Dept.. I I I I!te •. The heated material becomes softer and it exerts plastic deformation under the uniaxial force. The joule heat increases the diffusion of the atoms/molecules in the necks enhancing their Compiled by Ankush N Nayak..substech. Localized character of heating and its uniform distribution allow rapid temperature rise and drop..ra. of MME..-. The load (commonly up to 15000 psillOO MPa) is transferred to the powder through the upper punch.

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