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MDB 3073

MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY 2

POWDER METALLURGY

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Last Updated:13 October 2016

OVERVIEW OF POWDER METALLURGY


Definition
Powder Metallurgy (P/M) is a processing technology in which parts
are produced by compacting and sintering metallic and/or
nonmetallic powders.
P/M parts can produce net shape or near net shape
Can eliminate or reduce the need for subsequent machining.

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Last Updated:13 October 2016

Basic Processing Steps

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Some typical applications of P/M are:


production of net-shape or near-net shape parts made of
expensive materials.
parts with porosity such as filters can be made.
bearings especially so-called permanently lubricated
bearings
parts of certain metals that are difficult to fabricate by
other methods (carbide tool inserts, tungsten, ceramics,
etc.)

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Parts Made by Powder-Metallurgy

(b)

(c)
(a)

Figure (a) Examples of typical parts made by powder-metallurgy processes. (b) Upper
trip lever for a commercial sprinkler made by P/M. This part is made of an unleaded
brass alloy; it replaces a die-cast part with a 60% savings. (c) Main-bearing metalpowder caps for 3.8 and 3.1 liter General Motors automotive engines.

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Limitations
High tooling costs
Expensive raw materials (powders)
Variation in material density and mechanical properties across the
volume
Difficult to manufacture long products
Difficult storing and handling of powders (degradation with time and
fire hazard with particular metallic powders).

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Classification of powders
The procedure of separating the powders by
size is called classification of powders.
Powders are classified by passing them
through a series of screens of progressively
smaller mesh size.

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Process of powder classification

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Particle Shapes in Metal Powders

Figure Particle shapes in metal powders, and the processes by which they are
produced. Iron powders are produced by many of these processes.
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Powder Particles

(a)

(b)

Figure (a) Scanning-electron-microscopy photograph of iron-powder particles made by


atomization. (b) Nickel-based superalloy (Udimet 700) powder particles made by the
rotating electrode process;
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Particle size, distribution and shape

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Particle shape influences on processing


characteristics.
Shape is described in terms of aspect ratio or
shape index.
Aspect ratio is the ratio of the largest dimension
to the smallest dimension of the particle.
Shape index, or shape factor (SF), is a
measure of surface area to the volume of a
particle.

Production of metallic powders


Atomization

Atomization involves
conversation of molten metal
into a spray of droplets that
solidifies into powder.

Methods
of
metal-powder
production by atomization: (a)
gas
atomization;
(b)
water
atomization;
(c)
centrifugal
atomization with a spinning disk or
cup, and (d) atomization with a
rotating consumable electrode;

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Mechanical Process

Figure Methods of mechanical process to obtain fine particles: (a) roll


crushing, (b) ball mill, and (c) hammer milling.

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POWDER METALLURGY PROCESS

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The condition of powders during the three primary


P/M operations

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The conventional P/M process sequence: (1) blending, (2) compacting, and (3)
sintering; (a) shows the condition of powders, and (b) shows the schematics of
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Blending and mixing


Blending: mixing powder of the same chemical composition but different sizes
Mixing: combining powders of different chemistries.

some other ingredients are usually added:


Lubricants: to reduce the friction between particles- improve flow into dies & die life
Binders: to achieve enough strength before sintering
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Compaction
Blended powers are pressed in dies under high pressure to form them into the
required shape. The work part after compaction is called a green compact or simply
a green, the word green meaning not yet fully processed.

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(a)Compaction of metal powder to form a bushing.


(b)A typical tool and die set for compacting a spur gear

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Pressure and density distributions after compaction


As a result of compaction, the density of the part, called the green density is
much greater than the starting material density, but is not uniform in the green.
The density and therefore mechanical properties vary across the part volume and
depend on pressure in compaction:

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The density of a green


compact depends on
the pressure applied
Important factor in
density is the size
distribution of the
particles
If all particles are the
same size then there
will always be porosity
(ex. box filled tennis
balls will always have
space in between
them)

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The higher the


density, the higher
the strength and
elastic modulus
The higher the
density, the higher
the amount of solid
metal in the same
volume and then
the higher the
strength

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There are different ways to improve the density


distribution

Application of double acting press and two moving punches in


conventional compaction

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Sintering
Compressed metal powder is heated in a controlled-atmosphere furnace to a
temperature below its melting point, but high enough to allow bonding of the
particles:

(a) Typical heat treatment cycle in sintering; and (b) schematic cross-section of a
Last Updated:13
October 2016 sintering furnace
continuous
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The primary driving force for sintering is not the fusion of material, but formation
and growth of bonds between the particles, as illustrated in a series of sketches
showing on a microscopic scale the changes that occur during sintering of metallic
powders.

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Mechanisms for Sintering Metal Powders

Figure Schematic illustration of mechanism for sintering metal powders

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Sintering metal powders

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Sintering Time and Temperature for Metals

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Poor and Good


Designs of P/M
Parts

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Figure Examples of P/M parts


showing poor and good
designs. Note that sharp radii
and reentry corners should be
avoided and that threads and
transverse holes have to be
produced separately by
additional machining
operations.
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DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS IN POWDER


METALLURGY
The next design requirements are essential for P/M parts:

The shape of the parts must be as simple as possible.

PM parts should be made with the widest tolerances.

Part walls generally should not be less than 1.5 mm thick.

Hole and grooves must be parallel to the direction of ejection:

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Thank you

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