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Unit-03 Powder Metallurgy

Subject: MEC 230-ManufacturingTechnology-I

Class: 4th Sem B.Tech-Mech c

Powder Metallurgy- Introduction

Powder metallurgy is the process of blending fine powdered

materials, pressing them into a desired shape or form (compacting),

and then heating the compressed material in a controlled atmosphere to
bond the material (Sintering).

Powder metallurgy- Introduction

Powder metallurgy are used when large amounts of small, intricate
parts with high precision are required Little material waste and
unusual mixtures can be utilized.
Used for parts in the
- Automotive industry
- Household appliances
- Aerospace industry
- Electronic industry etc.,

Why PM is important?

PM parts can be mass produced to net shape or near net shape, eliminating
or reducing the need for subsequent machining.

PM process wastes very little material - about 97% of the starting powders
are converted to product.

Certain metals that are difficult to fabricate by other methods can be

shaped by powder metallurgy.

Example: Tungsten filaments for incandescent lamp bulbs are

made by PM

Why PM is important?

Certain alloy combinations and cermets made by PM cannot be produced

in other ways.

PM compares favorably to most casting processes in dimensional control.

PM production methods can be automated for economical production.

When to use Powder metallurgy?

Too hard to machine (Cutting tools, cutting inserts made up of cemented
carbides, diamond, etc.,)
Used when melting point is too high

Very large quantity

Good dimensional accuracy and surface finish
Near net shaped component

Powder Metallurgy Products

Cutting tools (Hard metals, Diamond containing materials)

Powder Metallurgy Products

Abrasives (Grinding and Polishing wheels and Discs)
Electrical, Electronic and Computer parts (Permanent
magnets, Electrical contacts).

Powder Metallurgy Products

Automotive parts (Brake pads, Gear parts, Connecting rods,
Planetary carriers, Sintered Engine Bearings)

Automotive Components

Powdered Metal Transmission Gear

Connecting Rods:
Forged on left; P/M on

Powder Metallurgy Products

Aerospace (Light weight Aluminum base structural materials,
High temperature Composite materials)

Medical Applications

Surgical instruments Dental implants

Advantages of PM
Components can be produced with good surface finish and close tolerance.

High production rates.

Complex shapes can be produced.
Elimination or reduction of machining
Impossible parts (cutting tool bits) can be produced.
The greatest advantage of this process is the control of the composition of

the product
Wide variation in composition
Scrap is eliminated or reduced

Disadvantages of PM
The metal powders and the equipment used are very costly
Parts manufactured by this process have poor ductility
Sintering of low melting point powders like lead, zinc, tin etc. offer serious

Storing of powders offer great difficulties because of possibility of fire and
explosion hazards

Basic process of PM
Five basic steps
1. Powder manufacture
2. Mixing or blending
3. Compacting
4. Sintering
5. Finishing

Basic process of PM

Conventional powder metallurgy production sequence: (1) blending, (2) compacting, and
(3) sintering; (a) shows the condition of the particles while (b) shows the operation
and/or workpart during the sequence.

Characteristics of metal powder

Properties of powder metallurgy products are highly dependent on
the characteristics of starting powders
Some important properties and characteristics
Particle shape

Particle size
Particle size distribution

Flow rate

Particle Shape

Production of Metallic Powders

The principal methods by which metallic powders are
commercially produced

Atomization (by gas, water, also centrifugal one)

Electrolysis deposition

Crushing and milling


Production of metallic powder





conversion of molten metal into a

spray of droplets that solidify into
It is the most versatile and popular




powders today, applicable to almost

all metals, alloys as well as pure

Water Atomization method

Production of metallic powder

Gas Atomization method

Centrifugal Atomization method

Methods of producing metal powders

Powder Production: Machining and Grinding.

Machining has been used to produce coarse magnesium powder
Milling and grinding processes utilize various types of rotary mills,
stamping mills, crushers, and grinders, break down brittle metals
into powders of almost any fineness but of irregular shaped particles

Particle Size Reduction by Jar


Powder Production: Electrolysis

Powder Production: Electrolysis

Electrolytic deposition or electrolysis is a widely used method of

producing powders of iron, coppers, silver, and several other metals

For producing iron, for example, a tank containing a suitable electrolyte
is taken

In it steel plates are placed as anode and stainless steel plates are placed
as cathode
The two electrodes are connected to a powerful de source
In about 50 hours, a 2 mm thick deposit is obtained on the cathode

This deposit of electrolytic iron is stripped, washed, screened, and sized

Production of metallic powder

Reduction process
It includes a variety of chemical reactions by which metallic compounds
are reduced to elemental metal powders.
A common process involves liberation of metals from their oxides by use of

reducing agents such as hydrogen or carbon monoxide.

The reducing agent is made to combine with the oxygen in the compound
to free the metallic element.

This approach is used to produce powders of iron, tungsten, and copper.

Blending and mixing of powders

Blending refers to when powders of the same chemical composition but

possibly different particle sizes are intermingled. Different particle sizes are
often blended to reduce it to same size.
Mixing refers to powders of different chemistries being combined. An
advantage of PM technology is the opportunity to mix various metals into
alloys that would be difficult or impossible to produce by other means.

Bowl Geometries for Blending Powders

Blending is generally carried out in
Air or inert gases to avoid oxidation
Liquids for better mixing, elimination of dusts
and reduced explosion hazards

Some common equipment geometries used for

blending powders
(a) Cylindrical, (b) rotating cube, (c) double
cone, (d) twin shell Powder Metallurgy

A mixer suitable for blending metal



It is the process of converting loose powder into a green compact of

accurate shape and size. It is done in steel dies and punches.

The work part after pressing is called a green compact, the word green
meaning not yet fully processed.

The green strength of the part when pressed is adequate for handling
but far less than after sintering.

The dies and punches used should be highly polished and the clearance
between them should be kept at the minimum in order to maintain proper

The clearance should be sufficient to allow a free movement.

High carbon steel and tungsten carbide are the principal die material.

Heat treatment to bond the metallic particles, thereby
increasing strength and hardness.
Parts are heated to ~75-80% of melting temperature.

The heat treatment consists of three steps, accomplished in three chambers

in these continuous furnaces: (1) preheat, in which lubricants and binders
are burned off; (2) sinter; and (3) cool down.

Sintering Sequence
Parts are heated to 0.7~0.8 Tm.
Transforms compacted mechanical bonds to much stronger
metallic bonds.

Figure: Sintering on a microscopic scale: (1) particle bonding is initiated at

contact points; (2) contact points grow into "necks"; (3) the pores between
particles are reduced in size; and (4) grain boundaries develop between
particles in place of the necked regions.

Powder Metallurgy

Third stage:
Sintered product is cooled in a controlled atmosphere.
Prevents oxidation and thermal shock
Gases commonly used for sintering:
H2, N2, inert gases or vacuum



Main objectives of sintering


Achieving high strength.

Achieving good bonding of powder particles.
Producing a dense and compact structure.
Producing parts free of oxides.
Obtaining desired structure and improved mechanical properties.

Secondary or Finishing Operations

Most powder metallurgy products are ready to use after the sintering

Some products may use secondary operation to provide enhanced
precision, improved properties, or special characteristics

Distortion may occur during non uniform cool- down so the product may
be repressed, coined, or sized to improve dimensional precision

Secondary or Finishing operations

A number of secondary and finishing operations can be applied after sintering,
some of them are:

Sizing: cold pressing to improve dimensional accuracy

Coining: cold pressing to press details into surface and to give additional

Machining: To provide under cuts, holes, threads etc., on sintered parts,

Impregnation: It is filling of oil, grease or other lubricants in a sintered
component such as bearing.

Infiltration: Filling of pores of sintered product with a molten metal to

improve physical properties
Heat treating, plating, painting