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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
acceleration due to gravity. Dept.com Comminution Comminution is a mechanical method of powder preparation particles in mills (ball. vibratory.8*Ncr then the balls "stick" to the drum wall and no grinding ocurrs.Source: www. involving breaking solid This method is generally applied for the preparation of powders of brittle materials.6-0.substech. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.8*Ncr Ncr may be determined from the expression: Ncr = (g/2D)1I2/n (revolutions per second) where: g . utilizing the energy of steel steel balls. hummer). The most widely used communition machine is ball mill. N = O. IfN>O. Maximum grinding effect is achieved at optimal rotation speed of the mill (N).com Water atomization Pump Powder www.drum diameter. D .substech. which move in a rotating drum and crush the metal pieces into fine particles. NITK Surathkal . of MME.
Compressibility. The scheme of the die pressing method is presented in the picture: Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. Powder characteristics • • • • Particle shape. Size distribution (relative quantities of different size fractions). 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).ability of the powder to flow through a calibrated orifice. This method is used for fabrication of copper powders.6*Ncr then the balls roll without falling. which was freely (without pressing or tapping) poured into the container. Apparent density. of MME. IfN = O.Source: www. The grinding effect in this case is low (only rubbing).the mass of a unite volume of the powder. porous (reduced oxides). dendrite like (electrolytic deposition). Powder may be also prepared by electrolytic deposition of a metal at the cathode followed by mechanical crushing of the deposited material.com If N<O. Dept.Particle may be spherical (gas atomization). regularity of their shapes and variety of their sizes.degree to which the powder compacts as a function of the applied pressure.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. irregularly shaped (water atomization). Flowability.6-0. NITK Surathkal .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. Apparent density is a function of porosity of the particles. These methods are called chemical powder preparation methods. Particle size. Die (uniaxial) pressing is effectively used for mass production of simple parts (alternative method is isostatic pressing).
Upper punch moves down and presses the powder with a predetermined pressure.000 psi (69 MPa to 830 MPa). "Green" compact part ejection and removal ("green" compact.000 psi to 120.com Die fiU stage r Compactiom Upper punch t The pressing process consists of the following stages: • Die filling. of MME. At this stage a controlled amount of the powder is fed into the die cavity. Dept.substech. NITK Surathkal . • • Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.unsintered powder compact). The pressure varies between 10.Source: www. Compaction.
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. 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. which is conducted at room temperature is called cold pressing. higher green compact density and higher (than in cold pressing) strength of the part. This method is suitable for compaction of large and complicated parts. Hydraulic and mechanical presses with load up to 750 tons are used for the powder die pressmg. If the pressing process is conducted at increased temperature it is called hot pressing.Source: www. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.com The pressing cycle repeats 400 to 5000 times/hour.substech. Dept. of MME. In the wet bag method the mold is removed and refilled after each pressure cycle. com There are two types of cold isostatic pressing: wet bag and dry bag. NITK Surathkal . Die pressing. Hot pressing permits obtaining better compaction. powder filling properties and the part size and geometry. depending on the press type.ostadc pressing -- Pressurization source WVv'W.
Hot isostatic method (HIP) combines pressing and sintering.000 psi (100 MPa to 300 MPa). Titanium alloys. causing consolidation of powder particles. During the diffusion process the pores. forming sound high strength structure. taking place in the green compact. and then it is sintered in order to close the interconnecting porosity.substech. The part shrinks and densifies. In this case the part is first compacted by cold isostatic pressing method. Dept. Cans made of stainless steel. Hot isostatic pressing (HIP) involves isostatic pressing conducted at increased temperature. 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. As a pressure medium a gas (Nitrogen or Argon) is used. The cold isostatic pressing (CIP) method has the following advantages as compared to the die cold pressing method: • • better uniformity of compaction. 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. healing voids and pores. high speed steels. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. The work pressures. are commonly between 15. which are applied in the hot isostatic pressing method. The dry bag method is used for compaction of simpler and smaller parts.Source: www. or mild steel are used in the method. of MME. improvement of its mechanical properties. when the material of the separate particles diffuse to the neighboring powder particles. super-alloys.000 psi to 44. diminish or even close up. NITK Surathkal . produced by the hot isostatic method (HIP). more complex forms (for example long thin-walled tubes) may be compacted.com In the dry bag method the mold is an integral part of the vessel. resulting in densification of the part.
This occurs when the powder contains a component. inert atmosphere. Sintering zone. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. is determined by the level of the initial porosity of the green compact. sintering temperature and time. Sintering process may be conducted in different atmospheres: air. 3. than the melting point of the base metal (for example in copper-lead-tin bearing alloys). Dept. Sintering is enhanced if a liquid phase takes part in the process. All commercially used metals may be sintered.Source: www. Continuous belt furnaces are commonly used for the sintering process. reducing atmosphere (containing Hydrogen or carbon monoxide) or in vacuum. 2. having the melting point lower. of MME. 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. Preheating zone for removing lubricant and other organic materials.com Siatering 'owder Pores. where the diffusion occurs. www. caused by the sintering process. where the sintered parts cool down.substech. Cooling zone.substech. NITK Surathkal .corn particles Decrease of the porosity. Typical sintering furnace has three zones: 1. hot die pressing).
Dept. thermal insulation Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. Ram Container www. heat exchanger tubes.a stable suspension. Slip Casting Slip casting technique is used for shape forming ceramic slurry . pipes) of regular cross-section.g. Extrusion is used for manufacturing furnace tubes. gypsum). fine china.eet e:xtrllJJsion. NITK Surathkal . consolidating the ceramic part. resulting in a long product (rods.substech. sinks.Source: www. The slurry is poured into a mold made of a micro-porous material (e. long plates.com Extrusion The two possible schemes of extrusion are presented in the picture: . sanitary ware. Slip casting is used for manufacturing parts.substech. consisting of ceramic powders. of MME. bars.com Extrusion ram forces the ceramic paste through a die. thermocouple components. which is capable to soak the liquid from the slurry.' JE XItTUSIOn Dir. processing additives and 20-35% ofliquid (water or solvent). which may be cut into pieces of required length.
substech. The principal scheme of the injection molding method is shown in the picture: Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.com Gel Casting Gel Casting is a process of shape forming slurry prepared from ceramic powder mixed with a solution of organic monomer. containing in the slurry. The solvent. evaporates. NITK Surathkal . The method is similar to the injection molding of polymers. When the slurry is poured into a mold. resulting in formation of ceramic sheet.Source: www. which may be stripped from the supporting surface. 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. 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. 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. of MME. Dept. Tape Casting is used for manufacturing insulators. The slurry film thickness is controlled by a knife edge located above the moving carrier surface.
due to the consistent shrinkage.substech.com (ajieetiofl molding Powder Nozzle www.substeeh. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. NITK Surathkal . of MME. Dept. 3. Mixing the metal powder with 30% . The molding cycle in the injection molding method is about 10 sec. 5. This shrinkage is taken into account in the mold design.10-20 min.com The processing technology comprises the following stages: 1. tungsten and molybdenum.the binder is heated above the volatilization temperature. 4. The method permits to produce part with close tolerance.the binder is dissolved by a solvent or by water. Solvent debinding. Removal of the part from the mold after cooling down of the mixture.removal of the binder. Sintering the "green" compact at a temperature close (but below) to the melting point. Thermal debinding. There are two debinding methods: a.Source: www. stainless steels. b. 2. nickel alloys.40% of a binder. Metal injection molding method (MIM) is widely used for manufacturing small parts having complex shapes. which much less. than the molding time in the alternative methods.low melt polymer. Debinding. Injection of the warm powder with molten binder into the mold by means of the screw. Metal injection molding method (MIM) is involved in processing carbon steels.
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. 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. Since the micro-plasma discharges form uniformly throughout the sample volume the generated heat is also uniformly distributed. The particles surfaces are purified and activated due to the high temperature causing vaporization of the impurities concentrated on the particle surface.sma 'I1. However commercially the name SPS (spark plasma sintering) is more common. Spark Plasma Si.Source: www.substech. NITK Surathkal . of MME. The spark plasma sintering process proceeds through three stages: 1.. . Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. Plasma heating.tering -(SPS) mechanism Plasma h~atin~Jou~c heating r~a. The purified surface layers of the particles melt and fuse to each other forming "necks" between the particles.substech. Dept.e~d ClijJr~ent .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.rge EI!eetrl.iscba. www. The electrical discharge between powder particles results in localized and momentary heating of the particles surfaces up to several thousands °C.
Localized character of heating and its uniform distribution allow rapid temperature rise and drop.. Spark Plasma Sintterjjng (SPS) G.bl!te •.. At this stage the pulsed DC electrical current flows from particle to particle through the necks connecting them... of MME.snbstech. NITK Surathkal . I I I I --. Dept.----1---.jtte dle www.. Plastic deformation combined with diffusion result in the densification of the powder compact to over 99% of its theoretical density.====..=. I I I I I I I I 1 ='='='='1 I I I :rowde~' l _ .Source: www.substech. Spark plasma sintering technique Spark plasma sintering (SPS) is performed in a Graphite die. Joule heating. which diminish coarsening (growth) of the material grains.. The joule heat is generated by the electrical current..I Vaeuam c!hamIM~.com 2.ra. Iltl-'h pIJJL(·~~ .-. The mechanical scheme of the process is similar to the Uniaxial (Die) Pressing.11. The heated material becomes softer and it exerts plastic deformation under the uniaxial force. 3..com Compiled by Ankush N Nayak..r Grap~. The joule heat increases the diffusion of the atoms/molecules in the necks enhancing their growth. Plastic deformation. The pulsed DC power supply is connected to the upper and lower punches/electrodes.. The load (commonly up to 15000 psillOO MPa) is transferred to the powder through the upper punch.
Current: several thousands amperes.Source: www. NITK Surathkal . of MME. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. High energy efficiency. Binders are not necessary. Better purification and activation of the powder particles surfaces. Easy operation.com The pulsed DC electrical current parameters: • • • • Voltage: few volts. Compaction and sintering stages are combined in one operation. Its overall duration is commonly 5-20 minutes. Disadvantages of spark plasma sintering: • • Only simple symmetrical shapes may be prepared. The process is conducted under either low pressure (vacuum) or inert gas atmosphere. DC pulse time: few to tens of ms. Dept. Low grain growth (nano-grain materials may be prepared). Ceramics. composites) may be processed.substech. Spark plasma sintering process is fast. DC pause time: few to tens of ms. Uniform sintering. the average (monitored) temperature of the compact is relatively low: few hundred A °C lower than in conventional sintering process. Expensive pulsed DC generator is required. Since only surface layers of the powder particles are heated in the spark plasma sintering process. Different materials (Metals. Advantages of spark plasma sintering: • • • • • • • • • Fast sintering process.