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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
which move in a rotating drum and crush the metal pieces into fine particles. Dept. hummer).com Water atomization Pump Powder www. of MME.drum diameter. involving breaking solid This method is generally applied for the preparation of powders of brittle materials. N = O. The most widely used communition machine is ball mill.com Comminution Comminution is a mechanical method of powder preparation particles in mills (ball.substech. D .acceleration due to gravity.6-0. IfN>O.substech. utilizing the energy of steel steel balls. vibratory.Source: www.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 . Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. NITK Surathkal . Maximum grinding effect is achieved at optimal rotation speed of the mill (N).
regularity of their shapes and variety of their sizes.the mass of a unite volume of the powder.6-0. irregularly shaped (water atomization). • • 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. Flowability. This method is used for fabrication of copper powders. NITK Surathkal . porous (reduced oxides). 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).Particle may be spherical (gas atomization). Apparent density is a function of porosity of the particles. These methods are called chemical powder preparation methods.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. dendrite like (electrolytic deposition). Dept.degree to which the powder compacts as a function of the applied pressure.Source: www.6*Ncr then the balls roll without falling. The scheme of the die pressing method is presented in the picture: Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. Apparent density. Size distribution (relative quantities of different size fractions). The grinding effect in this case is low (only rubbing).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.com If N<O. Powder characteristics • • • • Particle shape. of MME. IfN = O.substech. Die (uniaxial) pressing is effectively used for mass production of simple parts (alternative method is isostatic pressing). Particle size. Compressibility.
Upper punch moves down and presses the powder with a predetermined pressure.substech. The pressure varies between 10. Compaction.000 psi (69 MPa to 830 MPa). Dept. At this stage a controlled amount of the powder is fed into the die cavity. • • Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.Source: www. NITK Surathkal . of MME.com Die fiU stage r Compactiom Upper punch t The pressing process consists of the following stages: • Die filling.unsintered powder compact). "Green" compact part ejection and removal ("green" compact.000 psi to 120.
Hot pressing permits obtaining better compaction. substech.Source: www. Hydraulic and mechanical presses with load up to 750 tons are used for the powder die pressmg. This method is suitable for compaction of large and complicated parts. powder filling properties and the part size and geometry. depending on the press type. Die pressing. com There are two types of cold isostatic pressing: wet bag and dry bag.com The pressing cycle repeats 400 to 5000 times/hour. 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. In the wet bag method the mold is removed and refilled after each pressure cycle. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.ostadc pressing -- Pressurization source WVv'W. 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. NITK Surathkal . Dept. Cold isostatic pressing (CIP) is conducted at room temperature.substech. higher green compact density and higher (than in cold pressing) strength of the part. of MME. which is conducted at room temperature is called cold pressing.
and then it is sintered in order to close the interconnecting porosity. of MME. NITK Surathkal . Titanium alloys. Cans made of stainless steel. or mild steel are used in the method. improvement of its mechanical properties. produced by the hot isostatic method (HIP). are commonly between 15. 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. Hot isostatic method (HIP) combines pressing and sintering. taking place in the green compact. The cold isostatic pressing (CIP) method has the following advantages as compared to the die cold pressing method: • • better uniformity of compaction.com In the dry bag method the mold is an integral part of the vessel. forming sound high strength structure. As a pressure medium a gas (Nitrogen or Argon) is used. The method may be used without a mold. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. The part shrinks and densifies. healing voids and pores. 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.Source: www. when the material of the separate particles diffuse to the neighboring powder particles.substech. The dry bag method is used for compaction of simpler and smaller parts.000 psi to 44. During the diffusion process the pores. Dept. The work pressures. diminish or even close up. resulting in densification of the part. high speed steels.000 psi (100 MPa to 300 MPa). 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. causing consolidation of powder particles. which are applied in the hot isostatic pressing method. super-alloys.
Sintering process may be conducted in different atmospheres: air.com Siatering 'owder Pores. inert atmosphere. Dept. NITK Surathkal . 2. is determined by the level of the initial porosity of the green compact. than the melting point of the base metal (for example in copper-lead-tin bearing alloys).Source: www. where the diffusion occurs.corn particles Decrease of the porosity. In this machine a mesh belt conveyor moves the parts through a long tube like furnace. Preheating zone for removing lubricant and other organic materials. reducing atmosphere (containing Hydrogen or carbon monoxide) or in vacuum. This occurs when the powder contains a component. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. sintering temperature and time. where the sintered parts cool down. Typical sintering furnace has three zones: 1. of MME. Sintering occurs simultaneously with pressing in the hot pressing processes (hot isostatic pressing. www. caused by the sintering process. hot die pressing).substech. All commercially used metals may be sintered. Sintering zone. Cooling zone. Continuous belt furnaces are commonly used for the sintering process. Sintering is enhanced if a liquid phase takes part in the process. having the melting point lower.substech. 3.
which is capable to soak the liquid from the slurry. NITK Surathkal .a stable suspension. consolidating the ceramic part. The slurry is poured into a mold made of a micro-porous material (e. which may be cut into pieces of required length. sinks.eet e:xtrllJJsion.substech. Slip Casting Slip casting technique is used for shape forming ceramic slurry . sanitary ware. pipes) of regular cross-section. Ram Container www.' JE XItTUSIOn Dir. bars.g. Dept. processing additives and 20-35% ofliquid (water or solvent). resulting in a long product (rods.substech. thermal insulation Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. thermocouple components. of MME. heat exchanger tubes. consisting of ceramic powders.Source: www. gypsum). long plates. fine china. Extrusion is used for manufacturing furnace tubes.com Extrusion The two possible schemes of extrusion are presented in the picture: . Slip casting is used for manufacturing parts.com Extrusion ram forces the ceramic paste through a die.
The parts may be machined before firing. NITK Surathkal . resulting in formation of ceramic sheet. Dept. forming a gel that binds ceramic powder particles into a strong complex-shaped part. The principal scheme of the injection molding method is shown in the picture: Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.Source: www. evaporates. Tape Casting is used for manufacturing insulators. containing in the slurry.com Gel Casting Gel Casting is a process of shape forming slurry prepared from ceramic powder mixed with a solution of organic monomer. 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. When the slurry is poured into a mold. which may be stripped from the supporting surface. The method is similar to the injection molding of polymers. The process is economical and it is used for manufacturing large complex shapes parts such as turbine rotors. the monomer polymerizes. of MME.substech. 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.
substech. Injection of the warm powder with molten binder into the mold by means of the screw.Source: www.low melt polymer. stainless steels. NITK Surathkal . Debinding.the binder is heated above the volatilization temperature. 5. Solvent debinding. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.the binder is dissolved by a solvent or by water. 2.10-20 min. There are two debinding methods: a. due to the consistent shrinkage. tungsten and molybdenum.substeeh. which much less.com (ajieetiofl molding Powder Nozzle www. This shrinkage is taken into account in the mold design. nickel alloys. Dept. The method permits to produce part with close tolerance. of MME. Metal injection molding method (MIM) is widely used for manufacturing small parts having complex shapes. Metal injection molding method (MIM) is involved in processing carbon steels.com The processing technology comprises the following stages: 1. Sintering the "green" compact at a temperature close (but below) to the melting point. Mixing the metal powder with 30% . 4. 3.removal of the binder. than the molding time in the alternative methods.40% of a binder. Thermal debinding. Removal of the part from the mold after cooling down of the mixture. b. The molding cycle in the injection molding method is about 10 sec.
The spark plasma sintering process proceeds through three stages: 1.sma 'I1. of MME. The electrical discharge between powder particles results in localized and momentary heating of the particles surfaces up to several thousands °C.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. www. Plasma heating. NITK Surathkal . 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. However commercially the name SPS (spark plasma sintering) is more common..Source: www.rge EI!eetrl.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.e~d ClijJr~ent . Spark Plasma Si. . Dept.iscba.substech. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak.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. Since the micro-plasma discharges form uniformly throughout the sample volume the generated heat is also uniformly distributed.
. 3. NITK Surathkal . The pulsed DC power supply is connected to the upper and lower punches/electrodes..ra.=.I Vaeuam c!hamIM~.. At this stage the pulsed DC electrical current flows from particle to particle through the necks connecting them.bl!te •.com 2..11. The joule heat increases the diffusion of the atoms/molecules in the necks enhancing their growth..====.substech. Plastic deformation.----1---. I I I I --. The heated material becomes softer and it exerts plastic deformation under the uniaxial force. Localized character of heating and its uniform distribution allow rapid temperature rise and drop.-. The load (commonly up to 15000 psillOO MPa) is transferred to the powder through the upper punch.. Spark Plasma Sintterjjng (SPS) G... Joule heating. I I I I I I I I 1 ='='='='1 I I I :rowde~' l _ . Iltl-'h pIJJL(·~~ .Source: www. Spark plasma sintering technique Spark plasma sintering (SPS) is performed in a Graphite die.. Plastic deformation combined with diffusion result in the densification of the powder compact to over 99% of its theoretical density. The joule heat is generated by the electrical current.jtte dle www.com Compiled by Ankush N Nayak... Dept.snbstech. of MME.r Grap~. which diminish coarsening (growth) of the material grains. The mechanical scheme of the process is similar to the Uniaxial (Die) Pressing.
Uniform sintering. Its overall duration is commonly 5-20 minutes. DC pause time: few to tens of ms. Advantages of spark plasma sintering: • • • • • • • • • Fast sintering process.substech. 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. DC pulse time: few to tens of ms. Different materials (Metals. Ceramics. Current: several thousands amperes. Expensive pulsed DC generator is required. Compaction and sintering stages are combined in one operation. of MME. composites) may be processed. NITK Surathkal . Better purification and activation of the powder particles surfaces. Low grain growth (nano-grain materials may be prepared).com The pulsed DC electrical current parameters: • • • • Voltage: few volts. High energy efficiency.Source: www. Compiled by Ankush N Nayak. Spark plasma sintering process is fast. Binders are not necessary. Dept. The process is conducted under either low pressure (vacuum) or inert gas atmosphere. Since only surface layers of the powder particles are heated in the spark plasma sintering process. Easy operation.
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