Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Powder Metallurgy - Introduction, Process, Methods

The Process of producing components from metallic powder parts made by powder metallurgy may contain non-metallic constituents to improve the bonding qualities and properties.
Number and variety of products made by powder metallurgy are continuously increasing:
    1. Tungsten Filaments for Lamps
    2. Contact Point relays
    3. Self lubricating bearings
    4. Cemented carbides for cutting tools etc.

Characters of Metal Powders:
  • Shape:
It is influenced by the way it’s made. The shape may be spherical (atomization) (Electrolysis) flat or angular (Mechanical crushing). The particle shape influences the flow characteristics of powders.
  • Particle Size (Fineness) and size distribution:
Particle Size and Distribution are important factors which controls the porosity, Compressibility and amount of shrinkage. Proper particle size and size distribution are determined by passing the powder through a standard sieves ranging from 45 to 150 micrometer mesh.
  • Flowability:
The ability of the powders to flow readily and conform to the mould cavity. The flow rate helps to determine to possible production rate.
  • Compressibility:
It’s defines as the volume of initial powder (Powder loosely filled in cavity) to the volume of compact part. Depends on particle shape & size distribution.
  • Apparent Density:
The Apparent density depends on particle size is defined as the ratio of volume to weight of loosely filled mixture.
  • Green strength:
It refer to strength of a compact part prior to sintering. It depends on compressibility and helps to handle the parts during the mass production.
  • Purity:
Impurities affects sintering & Compacting Oxides & Gaseous impurities can be removed from the part during sintering by the use of a reducing atmosphere.
  • Sintering ability:
It is the ability which promotes bonding of particles by the application of heat.

Powder Metallurgy Process steps:

01-powder-metallurgy-process-step by step

01-powder metallurgy processes-mixing-finished product

02-finished product 
Manufacture of Metal Powders:
  • Mechanical pulverization:
Machining, Drilling or Grinding of metals is used to convert them to powders.
  • Machining:
It Produces coarse particles (Flack form) especially Magnesium powders.
  • Milling or Grinding:
It suitable for brittle materials.
  • Shorting:
The process of dropping molten metal through a Sieve or small orifice in to water. This produces Spherical particles or larger size. Commonly used for metals of low melting point.
03-mechanical pulverization-milling-powder 
  • Atomizing:
In this molten metal is forced through a nozzle, and a stream of compressed air, stream or Inert gas is directed on it break up into five particles. Powders obtained in irregular in shapes. Atomization commonly used for aluminium, Zinc, Tin, Cadmium and other metals of low melting point.
03-atomization-powder metallurgy

  • Electrolytic deposition:
It’s used mainly for producing iron and copper powders. These are dense structure with low apparent density. It consists of depositing metal on cathode plate by conventional electrolysis processes. The Cathode paltes are removed and the deposited powder is scraped off. The powder is wasted, dried, screened & oversized particles are milled or ground for fineness. The powder is further subjected to heat treatment to remove the work hardening effect.
  • Chemical reduction:
It’s used for producing iron, Copper, Tungsten, Molybdenum, Nickel & Cobalt powder process consists of reducing the metal oxides by means of carbon monoxide or Hydrogen. After reduction, the powder is usually ground & Sized.

Forming to shape:
    1. The process of mixing the powders is called Blending.
    2. The Loose powders are formed in to shape by compacting.

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