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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
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).
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
vibratory. involving breaking solid This method is generally applied for the preparation of powders of brittle materials. The most widely used communition machine is ball mill. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.substech. IfN>O. Dept.Source: www. Maximum grinding effect is achieved at optimal rotation speed of the mill (N). which move in a rotating drum and crush the metal pieces into fine particles. of MME.8*Ncr then the balls "stick" to the drum wall and no grinding ocurrs.6-0.com Water atomization Pump Powder www.substech.com Comminution Comminution is a mechanical method of powder preparation particles in mills (ball. N = O. D . utilizing the energy of steel steel balls. hummer).8*Ncr Ncr may be determined from the expression: Ncr = (g/2D)1I2/n (revolutions per second) where: g .acceleration due to gravity. NITK Surathkal .drum diameter.
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).Source: www. which was freely (without pressing or tapping) poured into the container. IfN = O. Compressibility.com If N<O. dendrite like (electrolytic deposition).substech.Particle may be spherical (gas atomization).6-0. The grinding effect in this case is low (only rubbing). Apparent density is a function of porosity of the particles.degree to which the powder compacts as a function of the applied pressure. Die (uniaxial) pressing is effectively used for mass production of simple parts (alternative method is isostatic pressing). Particle size. 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.the mass of a unite volume of the powder. Flowability. of MME. Dept. irregularly shaped (water atomization). Powder characteristics • • • • Particle shape. • • 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. The scheme of the die pressing method is presented in the picture: Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. Powder may be also prepared by electrolytic deposition of a metal at the cathode followed by mechanical crushing of the deposited material. Apparent density. porous (reduced oxides). NITK Surathkal .6*Ncr then the balls roll without falling. This method is used for fabrication of copper powders.ability of the powder to flow through a calibrated orifice. These methods are called chemical powder preparation methods. Size distribution (relative quantities of different size fractions).
000 psi to 120. "Green" compact part ejection and removal ("green" compact. Upper punch moves down and presses the powder with a predetermined pressure. The pressure varies between 10. of MME.substech. NITK Surathkal .unsintered powder compact).com Die fiU stage r Compactiom Upper punch t The pressing process consists of the following stages: • Die filling. Dept. Compaction. • • Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. At this stage a controlled amount of the powder is fed into the die cavity.Source: www.000 psi (69 MPa to 830 MPa).
ostadc pressing -- Pressurization source WVv'W. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. Hydraulic and mechanical presses with load up to 750 tons are used for the powder die pressmg. which is conducted at room temperature is called cold pressing. NITK Surathkal . higher green compact density and higher (than in cold pressing) strength of the part. powder filling properties and the part size and geometry.Source: www. Die pressing. 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. com There are two types of cold isostatic pressing: wet bag and dry bag. depending on the press type.substech. This method is suitable for compaction of large and complicated parts. Cold isostatic pressing (CIP) is conducted at room temperature. In the wet bag method the mold is removed and refilled after each pressure cycle. of MME. If the pressing process is conducted at increased temperature it is called hot pressing.com The pressing cycle repeats 400 to 5000 times/hour. Dept. Hot pressing permits obtaining better compaction. 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.
As a pressure medium a gas (Nitrogen or Argon) is used. Hot isostatic method (HIP) combines pressing and sintering. healing voids and pores. The part shrinks and densifies. improvement of its mechanical properties. when the material of the separate particles diffuse to the neighboring powder particles. high speed steels. Dept. which are applied in the hot isostatic pressing method. diminish or even close up. The work pressures. Hot isostatic pressing (HIP) involves isostatic pressing conducted at increased temperature.com In the dry bag method the mold is an integral part of the vessel. of MME. 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. more complex forms (for example long thin-walled tubes) may be compacted. NITK Surathkal .000 psi (100 MPa to 300 MPa). Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. super-alloys. Titanium alloys. The sintered (but still porous) part is then pressed isostatically at high temperature without any can (mold). causing consolidation of powder particles.000 psi to 44. taking place in the green compact. or mild steel are used in the method. Cans made of stainless steel. resulting in densification of the part. During the diffusion process the pores. and then it is sintered in order to close the interconnecting porosity. In this case the part is first compacted by cold isostatic pressing method. forming sound high strength structure.substech. The dry bag method is used for compaction of simpler and smaller parts. The method may be used without a mold. are commonly between 15.Source: www. 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.
where the sintered parts cool down. Sintering process may be conducted in different atmospheres: air. sintering temperature and time. All commercially used metals may be sintered. www. This occurs when the powder contains a component. In this machine a mesh belt conveyor moves the parts through a long tube like furnace. reducing atmosphere (containing Hydrogen or carbon monoxide) or in vacuum.substech. where the diffusion occurs. 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. of MME. inert atmosphere. caused by the sintering process. Sintering is enhanced if a liquid phase takes part in the process. is determined by the level of the initial porosity of the green compact. NITK Surathkal . hot die pressing). Dept. Sintering occurs simultaneously with pressing in the hot pressing processes (hot isostatic pressing. 2. Sintering zone. having the melting point lower.corn particles Decrease of the porosity. Cooling zone.Source: www. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. 3. Continuous belt furnaces are commonly used for the sintering process.com Siatering 'owder Pores. Typical sintering furnace has three zones: 1.substech.
long plates.a stable suspension. consolidating the ceramic part. Ram Container www. sanitary ware. Dept. thermal insulation Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.g.Source: www. resulting in a long product (rods. consisting of ceramic powders. which is capable to soak the liquid from the slurry. The slurry is poured into a mold made of a micro-porous material (e. processing additives and 20-35% ofliquid (water or solvent). heat exchanger tubes.substech. Slip casting is used for manufacturing parts.com Extrusion ram forces the ceramic paste through a die. of MME. Slip Casting Slip casting technique is used for shape forming ceramic slurry . gypsum). Extrusion is used for manufacturing furnace tubes. bars. NITK Surathkal .substech. fine china. thermocouple components.com Extrusion The two possible schemes of extrusion are presented in the picture: .' JE XItTUSIOn Dir. which may be cut into pieces of required length. pipes) of regular cross-section.eet e:xtrllJJsion. sinks.
the monomer polymerizes. The slurry film thickness is controlled by a knife edge located above the moving carrier surface. The method is similar to the injection molding of polymers.com Gel Casting Gel Casting is a process of shape forming slurry prepared from ceramic powder mixed with a solution of organic monomer. The process is economical and it is used for manufacturing large complex shapes parts such as turbine rotors. The principal scheme of the injection molding method is shown in the picture: Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. evaporates. NITK Surathkal . of MME. Tape Casting is used for manufacturing insulators.substech. Tape Casting Tape Casting is a process of forming a thin film of ceramic slurry spread over a flat surface. resulting in formation of ceramic sheet. which may be stripped from the supporting surface. The parts may be machined before firing. Dept. 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. containing in the slurry. forming a gel that binds ceramic powder particles into a strong complex-shaped part. When the slurry is poured into a mold.Source: www. The solvent.
3.the binder is heated above the volatilization temperature. stainless steels. b. Thermal debinding.removal of the binder.com (ajieetiofl molding Powder Nozzle www.40% of a binder. 4. which much less. 2. This shrinkage is taken into account in the mold design. Removal of the part from the mold after cooling down of the mixture. of MME. nickel alloys. Mixing the metal powder with 30% . Injection of the warm powder with molten binder into the mold by means of the screw. NITK Surathkal .Source: www.the binder is dissolved by a solvent or by water.10-20 min. Solvent debinding.low melt polymer. Dept. Metal injection molding method (MIM) is widely used for manufacturing small parts having complex shapes. The method permits to produce part with close tolerance. tungsten and molybdenum. The molding cycle in the injection molding method is about 10 sec. 5.substech. Metal injection molding method (MIM) is involved in processing carbon steels. There are two debinding methods: a. Debinding. due to the consistent shrinkage.com The processing technology comprises the following stages: 1.substeeh. Sintering the "green" compact at a temperature close (but below) to the melting point. than the molding time in the alternative methods. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.
sma 'I1. .tering -(SPS) mechanism Plasma h~atin~Jou~c heating r~a. Dept.rge EI!eetrl. The particles surfaces are purified and activated due to the high temperature causing vaporization of the impurities concentrated on the particle surface.Source: www. However commercially the name SPS (spark plasma sintering) is more common.iscba. NITK Surathkal . The purified surface layers of the particles melt and fuse to each other forming "necks" between the particles. Spark Plasma Si. Plasma heating.. Since the micro-plasma discharges form uniformly throughout the sample volume the generated heat is also uniformly distributed.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. of MME.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. The spark plasma sintering process proceeds through three stages: 1. 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.e~d ClijJr~ent .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.substech.
jtte dle www. of MME..=..bl!te •..r Grap~.11. Spark Plasma Sintterjjng (SPS) G. Plastic deformation.. The joule heat is generated by the electrical current. 3. NITK Surathkal .com 2. The heated material becomes softer and it exerts plastic deformation under the uniaxial force... Iltl-'h pIJJL(·~~ . I I I I --..ra. Localized character of heating and its uniform distribution allow rapid temperature rise and drop.====. Spark plasma sintering technique Spark plasma sintering (SPS) is performed in a Graphite die. The joule heat increases the diffusion of the atoms/molecules in the necks enhancing their growth.. Dept.... Joule heating. At this stage the pulsed DC electrical current flows from particle to particle through the necks connecting them. The pulsed DC power supply is connected to the upper and lower punches/electrodes.substech.snbstech.com Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.----1---. The load (commonly up to 15000 psillOO MPa) is transferred to the powder through the upper punch. I I I I I I I I 1 ='='='='1 I I I :rowde~' l _ . which diminish coarsening (growth) of the material grains.-. 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.Source: www.I Vaeuam c!hamIM~.
The process is conducted under either low pressure (vacuum) or inert gas atmosphere.Source: www. composites) may be processed. Current: several thousands amperes. Advantages of spark plasma sintering: • • • • • • • • • Fast sintering process. NITK Surathkal . Low grain growth (nano-grain materials may be prepared). of MME. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.com The pulsed DC electrical current parameters: • • • • Voltage: few volts. High energy efficiency. Its overall duration is commonly 5-20 minutes. Since only surface layers of the powder particles are heated in the spark plasma sintering process. Different materials (Metals. Spark plasma sintering process is fast.substech. DC pulse time: few to tens of ms. Compaction and sintering stages are combined in one operation. DC pause time: few to tens of ms. Expensive pulsed DC generator is required. Dept. Binders are not necessary. Better purification and activation of the powder particles surfaces. Easy operation. Ceramics. Uniform sintering. Disadvantages of spark plasma sintering: • • Only simple symmetrical shapes may be prepared. the average (monitored) temperature of the compact is relatively low: few hundred A °C lower than in conventional sintering process.
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