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. IfN>O. N = O. D . Maximum grinding effect is achieved at optimal rotation speed of the mill (N).6-0.substech. vibratory.Source: www.substech.8*Ncr then the balls "stick" to the drum wall and no grinding ocurrs.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. NITK Surathkal . which move in a rotating drum and crush the metal pieces into fine particles.drum diameter. The most widely used communition machine is ball mill. Dept. hummer).acceleration due to Comminution Comminution is a mechanical method of powder preparation particles in mills (ball. involving breaking solid This method is generally applied for the preparation of powders of brittle materials. of MME. utilizing the energy of steel steel balls.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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