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Powder Metallurgy

Powder Metallurgy

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Published by: KaranvirSingh on May 19, 2012
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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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