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PARTICULATE PROCESSING OF METALS AND CERAMICS

Presented By D.Manesi

Contributed By : 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. M. P. Groover, Fundamentals of Modern Manufacturing 4/e

THE SECTION Of POWDER METALLURGY


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. The Characterization of Engineering Powders Production of Metallic Powders Conventional Pressing and Sintering Alternative Pressing and Sintering Techniques Materials and Products for PM Design Considerations in Powder Metallurgy

POWDER METALLURGY (PM)


Metal processing technology in which parts are produced from metallic powders In the usual PM production sequence, the powders are compressed (pressed) into the desired shape and then heated (sintered) to bond the particles into a hard, rigid mass
1. Pressing is accomplished in a press-type machine using punch-and-die tooling designed specifically for the part to be manufactured 2. Sintering is performed at a temperature below themelting point of the metal

WHY POWDER METALLURGY 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 PM parts can be made with a specified level of porosity, to produce porous metal parts
Examples: filters, oil-impregnated bearings and gears

MORE REASONS WHY PM IS IMPORTANT


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

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 foreconomical production

LIMITATIONS AND DISADVANTAGES WITH PM PROCESSING


High tooling and equipment costs Metallic powders are expensive Problems in storing and handling metal powders
Examples: degradation over time, fire hazards with certain metals

Limitations on part geometry because metal powders do not readily flow laterally in the die during pressing Variations in density throughout part may be a problem, especially for complex geometries

PM WORK MATERIALS
Largest tonnage of metals are alloys of iron, steel, and aluminum Other PM metals include copper, nickel, and refractory metals such as molybdenum and tungsten Metallic carbides such as tungsten carbide are often included within the scope of powder metallurgy

Figure 16.1 - A collection of powder metallurgy parts (courtesy of Dorst America, Inc.)

ENGINEERING POWDERS
A powder can be defined as a finely divided particulate solid Engineering powders include metals and ceramics Geometric features of engineering powders:
Particle size and distribution Particle shape and internal structure Surface area

MEASURING PARTICLE SIZE


Most common method uses screens of different mesh sizes Mesh count - refers to the number of openings per linear inch of screen
A mesh count of 200 means there are 200 openings per linear inch Since the mesh is square, the count is the same in both directions, and the total number of openings per square inch is 2002 = 40,000 Higher mesh count means smaller particle size

Figure 16.2 - Screen mesh for sorting particle sizes

Figure 16.3 - Several of the possible (ideal) particle shapes inpowder metallurgy

INTERPARTICLE FRICTION AND FLOW CHARACTERISTICS


Friction between particles affects ability of a powder to flow readily and pack tightly A common test of interparticle friction is the angle of repose, which is the angle formed by a pile of powders as they are poured from a narrow funnel

Figure 16.4 - Interparticle friction as indicated by the angle of repose of a pile of powders poured from a narrow funnel. Larger angles indicate greater interparticle friction

OBSERVATIONS
Smaller particle sizes generally show greater friction and steeper angles Spherical shapes have the lowest interpartical friction As shape deviates from spherical, friction between particles tends to increase

PARTICLE DENSITY MEASURES


True density - density of the true volume of the material
The density of the material if the powders were melted into a solid mass

Bulk density - density of the powders in the loose state after pouring
Because of pores between particles, bulk density is less than true density

PACKING FACTOR = BULK DENSITY DIVIDED BY TRUE DENSITY


Typical values for loose powders range between 0.5 and 0.7 If powders of various sizes are present, smaller powders will fit into the interstices of larger ones that would otherwise be taken up by air, thus higher packing factor Packing can be increased by vibrating the powders, causing them to settle more tightly Pressure applied during compaction greatlyincreases packing of powders through rearrangement and deformation of particles

POROSITY
Ratio of the volume of the pores (empty spaces) in the powder to the bulk volume In principle, Porosity + Packing factor = 1.0 The issue is complicated by the possible existence of closed pores in some of the particles If internal pore volumes are included in above porosity, then equation is exact

CHEMISTRY AND SURFACE FILMS


Metallic powders are classified as either
Elemental - consisting of a pure metal Pre-alloyed - each particle is an alloy

Possible surface films include oxides, silica, adsorbed organic materials, and moisture
As a general rule, these films must be removed prior to shape processing

PRODUCTION OF METALLIC POWDERS


In general, producers of metallic powders are not the same companies as those that make PM parts Virtually any metal can be made into powder form Three principal methods by which metallic powdersare commercially produced 1. Atomization 2. Chemical 3. Electrolytic In addition, mechanical methods are occasionally used to reduce powder sizes

GAS ATOMIZATION METHOD


High velocity gas stream flows through an expansion nozzle, siphoning molten metal from below and spraying it into a container Droplets solidify into powder form

Figure 16.5 (a) gas atomization method

Figure 16.6 - Iron powders produced by decomposition of iron pentacarbonyl; particle sizes range from about 0.25 - 3.0 microns (10 to 125 -in) (photo courtesy of GAF Chemicals Corporation, Advanced Materials Division)

VIDEO GAS ATOMIZATION METHOD

CONVENTIONAL PRESS AND SINTER


After the metallic powders have been produced, the conventional PM sequence consists of three steps: 1. Blending and mixing of the powders 2. Compaction - pressing into desired part shape 3. Sintering - heating to a temperature below the melting point to cause solid-state bonding of particles and strengthening of part In addition, secondary operations are sometimes performed to improve dimensional accuracy, increase density, and for other reasons

Figure 16.7 - 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

BLENDING AND MIXING OF POWDERS


For successful results in compaction and sintering, the starting powders must be homogenized Blending - powders of the same chemistry but possibly different particle sizes are intermingled
Different particle sizes are often blended to reduce porosity

Mixing - powders of different chemistries are combined


PM technology allows mixing various metals into alloys that would be difficult or impossible to produce by other means

Video Blending

COMPACTION
Application of high pressure to the powders to form them into the required shape The conventional compaction method is pressing, in which opposing punches squeeze the powders contained in a die The workpart 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

Figure 16.9 - Pressing in PM: (1) filling die cavity with powder by automatic feeder; (2) initial and (3) final positions of upper and lower punches during pressing, and (4) ejection of part

Figure 16.11 - A 450 kN (50-ton) hydraulic press for compaction of powder metallurgy components. This press has the capability to actuate multiple levels to produce complex PM part geometries (photo courtesy Dorst America, Inc.).

SINTERING
Heat treatment to bond the metallic particles, thereby increasing strength and hardness Usually carried out at between 70% and 90% of the metal's melting point (absolute scale) Generally agreed among researchers that the primary driving force for sintering is reduction of surface energy Part shrinkage occurs during sintering due to pore size reduction

Figure 16.12 - 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

Figure 16.13 - (a) Typical heat treatment cycle in sintering; and (b) schematic cross-section of a continuous sintering furnace

DENSIFICATION AND SIZING


Secondary operations are performed to increasedensity, improve accuracy, or accomplish additional shaping of the sintered part Repressing - pressing the sintered part in a closed die to increase density and improve properties Sizing - pressing a sintered part to improve dimensional accuracy Coining - pressworking operation on a sintered part to press details into its surface Machining - creates geometric features that cannot be achieved by pressing, such as threads, side holes, and other details

IMPREGNATION AND INFILTRATION


Porosity is a unique and inherent characteristic of PM technology It can be exploited to create special products by filling the available pore space with oils, polymers, or metals Two categories: 1. Impregnation 2. Infiltration

IMPREGNATION
The term used when oil or other fluid is permeated into the pores of a sintered PM part Common products are oil-impregnated bearings, gears, and similar components An alternative application is when parts are impregnated with polymer resins that seep into the pore spaces in liquid form and then solidify to create a pressure tight part

INFILTRATION
An operation in which the pores of the PM part are filled with a molten metal The melting point of the filler metal must be below that of the PM part Involves heating the filler metal in contact with the sintered component so capillary action draws the filler into the pores The resulting structure is relatively nonporous, and the infiltrated part has a more uniform density, as well as improved toughness and strength

ALTERNATIVE PRESSING AND SINTERING TECHNIQUES


The conventional press and sinter sequence is the most widely used shaping technology in powder metallurgy Additional methods for processing PM parts include:
Isostatic pressing Hot pressing - combined pressing and sintering

MATERIALS AND PRODUCTS FOR PM


Raw materials for PM are more expensive than for other metalworking because of the additional energy required to reduce the metal to powder form Accordingly, PM is competitive only in a certain range of applications What are the materials and products that seem most suited to powder metallurgy?

PM MATERIALS ELEMENTAL POWDERS


A pure metal in particulate form Used in applications where high purity is important Common elemental powders:
Iron Aluminum Copper

Elemental powders are also mixed with other metal powders to produce special alloys that are difficult to formulate by conventional methods
Example: tool steels

PM MATERIALS PRE-ALLOYED POWDERS


Each particle is an alloy comprised of the desired chemical composition Used for alloys that cannot be formulated by mixing elemental powders Common pre-alloyed powders:
Stainless steels Certain copper alloys High speed steel

PM PRODUCTS
Gears, bearings, sprockets, fasteners, electrical contacts, cutting tools, and various machinery parts Advantage of PM: parts can be made to near net shape or net shape
They require little or no additional shaping after PM processing

When produced in large quantities, gears and bearings are ideal for PM because:
The geometry is defined in two dimensions There is a need for porosity in the part to serve as a reservoir for lubricant

PM PARTS CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM


The Metal Powder Industries Federation (MPIF) defines four classes of powder metallurgy part designs, by level of difficulty in conventional pressing Useful because it indicates some of the limitations on shape that can be achieved with conventional PM processing

Figure 16.16 - Four classes of PM parts (side view shown; cross-section is circular): (a) Class I - simple thin shapes, pressed from one direction; (b) Class II - simple but thicker shapes require pressing from two directions; (c) Class III two levels of thickness, pressed from two directions; and (d) Class IV - multiple levels of thickness, pressed from two directions, with separate controls for each level

DESIGN GUIDELINES FOR PM PARTS - I


Economics usually require large quantities to justify cost of equipment and special tooling
Minimum quantities of 10,000 units are suggested

PM is unique in its capability to fabricate parts with a controlled level of porosity


Porosities up to 50% are possible

PM can be used to make parts out of unusual metals and alloys - materials that would be difficult if not impossible to produce by other means

DESIGN GUIDELINES FOR PM PARTS - II


The part geometry must permit ejection from die after pressing
This generally means that part must have verticalor near-vertical sides, although steps are allowed Design features such as undercuts and holes on the part sides must be avoided Vertical undercuts and holes are permissible because they do not interfere with ejection Vertical holes can be of cross-sectional shapes other than round without significant difficulty

Figure 16.17 - Part features to be avoided in PM: side holes and (b) side undercuts since part ejection is impossible

DESIGN GUIDELINES FOR PM PARTS - III


Screw threads cannot be fabricated by PM; if required, they must be machined into the part Chamfers and corner radii are possible by PM pressing, but problems arise in punch rigidity when angles are too acute Wall thickness should be a minimum of 1.5 mm (0.060 in) between holes or a hole and outside wall Minimum recommended hole diameter is 1.5 mm (0.060 in)

Figure 16.19 - Chamfers and corner radii are accomplished but certain rules should be observed: (a) avoid acute angles; (b) larger angles preferred for punch rigidity; (c) inside radius is desirable; (d) avoid full outside corner radius because punch is fragile at edge; (e) problem solved by combining radius and chamfer

THE SECTION Of PROCESSING OF CERAMICS AND CERMETS


Processing of Traditional Ceramics Processing of New Ceramics Processing of Cermets Product Design Considerations

TYPES OF CERAMICS AND THEIR PROCESSING


Ceramic materials divide into three categories:
1. Traditional ceramics particulate processing 2. New ceramics particulate processing 3. Glasses solidification processing

The solidification processes for glass are covered in a different slide set The particulate processes for traditional and new ceramics as well as certain composite materials are covered in this slide set

OVERVIEW OF CERAMICS PARTICULATE PROCESSING


Traditional ceramics are made from minerals occurring in nature
Products include pottery, porcelain, bricks, and cement

New ceramics are made from synthetically produced raw materials


Products include cutting tools, artificial bones, nuclear fuels, and substrates for electronic circuits

The starting material for all of these items is powder

OVERVIEW OF CERAMICS PARTICULATE PROCESSING CONTINUED

For traditional ceramics, the powders are usually mixed with water to temporarily bind the particles together and achieve the proper consistency for shaping For new ceramics, substances other than water are used as binders during shaping After shaping, the green parts are fired (sintered), whose function is the same as in powder metallurgy:
To effect a solid state reaction which bonds the material into a hard solid mass

Figure 17.1 - Usual steps in traditional ceramics processing: (1) preparation of raw materials, (2) shaping, (3) drying, and (4) firing Part (a) shows the workpart during the sequence, while (b) shows the condition of the powders

PREPARATION OF THE RAW MATERIAL FOR TRADITIONAL CERAMICS

Shaping processes for traditional ceramics require the starting material to be a plastic paste
This paste is comprised of fine ceramic powders mixed with water

The raw ceramic material usually occurs in nature as rocky lumps, and reduction to powder is the purpose of the preparation step in ceramics processing

COMMINUTION
Reducing particle size in ceramics processing by use of mechanical energy in various forms such as impact, compression, and attrition Comminution techniques are most effective on brittle materials such as cement, metallic ores, and brittle metals Two general types of comminution operations:
1. Crushing 2. Grinding

CRUSHING
Reduction of large lumps from the mine to smaller sizes for subsequent further reduction Several stages may be required (e.g., primary crushing, secondary crushing), the reduction ratio in each stage being in the range 3 to 6 Crushing of minerals is accomplished by compression against rigid surfaces or by impact against surfaces in a rigid constrained motion

Jaw Crusher Large jaw toggles back and forth to crush lumps against a hard, rigid surface

Figure 17.2 Crushing operations: (a) jaw crusher

Roll Crusher Ceramic lumps are squeezed between rotating rolls

Figure 17.2 - Crushing operations: (c) roll crusher

GRINDING
In the context of comminution, grinding refers to the operation of reducing the small pieces after crushing to a fine powder Accomplished by abrasion, impact, and compaction by hard media such as balls or rolls Examples of grinding include:
Ball mill Roller mill Impact grinding

Ball Mill Hard spheres mixed with stock are rotated inside a large cylindrical container; the mixture is carried up the container wall as it rotates, and then pulled back down by gravity for grinding action

Figure 17.3 - Mechanical methods of producing ceramic powders: (a) ball mill

Roller Mill Stock is compressed against a flat horizontal grinding table by rollers riding over the table surface

Figure 17.3 Mechanical methods of producing ceramic powders: (b) roller mill

INGREDIENTS OF CERAMIC PASTE FOR SHAPING


1. Clay (hydrous aluminum silicates) - usually the main ingredient because of ideal forming characteristics when mixed with water 2. Water creates clay-water mixture with suitable plasticity for shaping 3. Non-plastic raw materials, such as alumina and silica - reduce shrinkage in drying and firing but also reduce plasticity of the mixture during forming 4. Other ingredients, such as fluxes that melt (vitrify) during firing and promote sintering, and wetting agents to improve mixing of ingredients

SHAPING PROCESSES
Slip casting
The clay-water mixture is a slurry

Plastic forming methods


The clay is plastic

Semi-dry pressing
The clay is moist but has low plasticity

Dry pressing
The clay is basically dry (less than 5% water) and has no plasticity

Figure 17.4 - Four categories of shaping processes used for traditional ceramics,
compared to water content and pressure required to form the clay

SLIP CASTING
A suspension of ceramic powders in water, called a slip, is poured into a porous plaster of paris mold so that water from the mix is absorbed into the plaster to form a firm layer of clay at the mold surface The slip composition is 25% to 40% water Two principal variations:
Drain casting - the mold is inverted to drain excess slip after a semi-solid layer has been formed, thus producing a hollow product Solid casting - to produce solid products, adequate time is allowed for entire body to become firm

Figure 17.5 - Sequence of steps in drain casting, a form of slip casting: (1) slip is poured into mold cavity, (2) water is absorbed into plaster mold to form a firm layer, (3) excess slip is poured out, and (4) part is removed from mold and trimmed

OVERVIEW OF PLASTIC FORMING


The starting mixture must have a plastic consistency, with 15% to 25% water Variety of manual and mechanized methods
Manual methods use clay with more water because it is more easily formed
More water means greater shrinkage in drying

Mechanized methods generally use a mixture with less water so starting clay is stiffer

PLASTIC FORMING METHODS


Hand modeling (manual method) Jiggering (mechanized method) Plastic pressing (mechanized method) Extrusion (mechanized method)

HAND MODELING
Creation of the ceramic product by manipulating the mass of plastic clay into the desired geometry Hand molding - similar only a mold or form is used to define portions of the part geometry Hand throwing on a potter's wheel is another refinement of handcraft methods

Potter's wheel = a round table that rotates on a vertical spindle, powered either by motor or foot-operated treadle Products of circular cross-section can be formed by throwing and shaping the clay, sometimes using a mold to provide the internal shape

Jiggering Similar to potter's wheel methods, but hand throwing is replaced by mechanized techniques

Figure 17.6 - Sequence in jiggering: (1) wet clay slug is placed on a convex mold; (2) batting; and (3) a jigger tool imparts the final product shape

PLASTIC PRESSING
Forming process in which a plastic clay slug is pressed between upper and lower molds contained in metal rings Molds are made of porous material such as gypsum, so when a vacuum is drawn on the backs of the mold halves, moisture is removed from the clay The mold sections are then opened, using positive air pressure to prevent sticking of the part in the mold Advantages: higher production rate than jiggering and not limited to radially symmetric parts

EXTRUSION
Compression of clay through a die orifice to produce long sections of uniform cross-section, which are then cut to required piece length Equipment utilizes a screw-type action to assist in mixing the clay and pushing it through die opening Products: hollow bricks, shaped tiles, drain pipes, tubes, and insulators Also used to make the starting clay slugs for other ceramics processing methods such as jiggering and plastic pressing

Semi-dry Pressing Uses high pressure to overcome the clays low plasticity and force it into a die cavity

Figure 17.7 - Semi-dry pressing: (1) depositing moist powder into die cavity, (2) pressing, and (3) opening the die sections and ejection

DRY PRESSING
Process sequence is similar to semi-dry pressing the main distinction is that the water content of the starting mix is typically below 5% Dies must be made of hardened tool steel or cemented carbide to reduce wear since dry clay is very abrasive No drying shrinkage occurs, so drying time is eliminated and good dimensional accuracy is achieved in the final product Typical products: bathroom tile, electrical insulators, refractory brick, and other simple geometries

CLAY VOLUME VS. WATER CONTENT


Water plays an important role in most of the traditional ceramics shaping processes Thereafter, it has no purpose and must be removed from the clay piece before firing Shrinkage is a problem during drying because water contributes volume to the piece, and the volume is reduced when it is removed

Figure 17.8 - Volume of clay as a function of water content Relationship shown here is typical; it varies for different clay compositions

DRYING
The drying process occurs in two stages: Stage 1 - drying rate is rapid and constant as water evaporates from the surface into the surrounding air and water from the interior migrates by capillary action to the surface to replace it
This is when shrinkage occurs, with the risk of warping and cracking

Stage 2 - the moisture content has been reduced to where the ceramic grains are in contact
Little or no further shrinkage occurs

Figure 17.9 - Typical drying rate curve and associated volume reduction (drying shrinkage) for a ceramic body in drying Drying rate in the second stage of drying is depicted here as a straight line; the function is sometimes concave or convex

FIRING OF TRADITIONAL CERAMICS


Heat treatment process that sinters the ceramic material Performed in a furnace called a kiln Bonds are developed between the ceramic grains, and this is accompanied by densification and reduction of porosity Therefore, additional shrinkage occurs in the polycrystalline material in addition to that which has already occurred in drying In the firing of traditional ceramics, a glassy phase forms among the crystals which acts as a binder

GLAZING
Application of a ceramic surface coating to make the piece more impervious to water and enhance its appearance The usual processing sequence with glazed ware is:
1. Fire the piece once before glazing to harden the body of the piece 2. Apply the glaze 3. Fire the piece a second time to harden the glaze

PROCESSING OF NEW CERAMICS


The manufacturing sequence for the new ceramics can be summarized in the following steps:
1. 2. 3. 4. Preparation of starting materials Shaping Sintering Finishing

While the sequence is nearly the same as for the traditional ceramics, the details are often quite different

PREPARATION OF STARTING MATERIALS


Strength requirements are usually much greater for new ceramics than for traditional ceramics Therefore, the starting powders must be smaller and more uniform in size and composition, since the strength of the resulting ceramic product is inversely related to grain size Greater control of the starting powders is required Powder preparation includes mechanical and chemical methods

SHAPING OF NEW CERAMICS


Many of the shaping processes for new ceramics are borrowed from powder metallurgy (PM) and traditional ceramics

And some of the traditional ceramics forming techniques are used to shape the new ceramics, such as: slip casting, extrusion, and dry pressing The processes described here are not normally associated with the forming of traditional ceramics, although several are associated with PM

PM press and sinter methods have been adapted to the new ceramic materials

HOT PRESSING
Similar to dry pressing except it is carried out at elevated temperatures so sintering of the product is accomplished simultaneously with pressing This eliminates the need for a separate firing step Higher densities and finer grain size are obtained, but die life is reduced by the hot abrasive particles against the die surfaces
2002 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. M P Groover, Fundamentals of Modern Manufacturing 2/e

ISOSTATIC PRESSING
Uses hydrostatic pressure to compact the ceramic powders from all directions Avoids the problem of nonuniform density in the final product that is often observed in conventional uniaxial pressing Same process used in powder metallurgy

POWDER INJECTION MOLDING (PIM)


Ceramic particles are mixed with a thermoplastic polymer, then heated and injected into a mold cavity The polymer acts as a carrier and provides flow characteristics for molding Upon cooling which hardens the polymer, the mold is opened and the part is removed Because temperatures needed to plasticize the carrier are much lower than those required for sintering the ceramic, the piece is green after molding The plastic binder is removed and the remaining ceramic part is sintered

SINTERING OF NEW CERAMICS


Since the plasticity needed to shape the new ceramics is not normally based on water, the drying step required for traditional green ceramics can be omitted for most new ceramic products The sintering step is still very much required Functions of sintering are the same as before:
1. Bond individual grains into a solid mass 2. Increase density 3. Reduce or eliminate porosity

FINISHING OPERATIONS FOR NEW CERAMICS


Parts made of new ceramics sometimes require finishing, which has one or more of the following purposes:
1. Increase dimensional accuracy 2. Improve surface finish 3. Make minor changes in part geometry

Finishing usually involves abrasive processes


Diamond abrasives must be used to cut the hardened ceramic materials

CEMENTED CARBIDES
A family of composite materials consisting of carbide ceramic particles imbedded in a metallic binder Classified as metal matrix composites because the metallic binder is the matrix which holds the bulk material together However, the carbide particles constitute the largest proportion of the composite material, normally between 80% and 95% by volume

A BINDER IS NEEDED FOR CEMENTED CARBIDES


The carbide powders must be sintered with a metal binder to provide a strong and pore-free part

Usual proportion of binder metal is 4% up to 20% Powders of carbide and binder metal are thoroughly mixed wet in a ball mill to form a homogeneous sludge The sludge is then dried in a vacuum or controlled atmosphere to prevent oxidation in preparation for compaction

Cobalt works best with WC, while nickel is better with TiC and Cr3C2

COMPACTION
Most common process is cold pressing, used for high production of cemented carbide parts such as cutting tool inserts
Dies must be oversized to account for shrinkage during sintering (shrinkage can be 20% or more) For high production, the dies are made with WC-Co liners to reduce wear For smaller quantities, large flat sections may be pressed and then cut into smaller pieces Other methods: isostatic pressing and hot pressing

SINTERING OF WC-CO
It is possible to sinter WC (and TiC) without a metal binder, but the resulting material is less than 100% of true density

Sintering of WC-Co involves liquid phase sintering

Using a binder yields a structure virtually free of porosity

The usual sintering temperatures for WC-Co are 1370-1425C (2500-2600F), which is below cobalt's melting point of 1495C (2716F) Thus, the pure binder metal does not melt at the sintering temperature

Figure 17.11 - WC-Co phase diagram

SINTERING OF WC-CO - CONTINUED


However, WC dissolves in Co in the solid state so WC is gradually dissolved during the heat treatment, and its melting point is reduced so melting occurs

These mechanisms cause a rearrangement of the remaining WC particles into a closer packing, which results in significant densification and shrinkage of the WC-Co mass

As the liquid phase forms, it flows and wets the WC particles, further dissolving the solid Presence of molten metal also serves to remove gases from the internal regions of the compact

SECONDARY OPERATIONS
Subsequent processing is usually required after sintering to achieve adequate dimensional control of the cemented carbide parts Grinding with a diamond or other very hard abrasive wheel is the most common secondary operation performed for this purpose Other secondary operations include
Electric discharge machining Ultrasonic machining

The End
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