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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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