5 Facts about Powder Metallurgy and Its Processes

March 23, 2023

Industries can usually choose from a wide range of materials in manufacturing parts and products they would need for their operations. Some of these materials are metals, plastics, timbres, and synthetic elements.

But one distinct material that more and more industries maximise today is metal powder. Metal powders come from solid metal materials that have been broken down into a fine, grainy powder. Some solid metals that are converted into metal powders are stainless steel, copper, iron, bronze, and brass. These metals are then integrated with other alloys so that metal powders can boast the characteristics and properties needed for specific applications.

When maximising metal powders in manufacturing, industries have to rely on powder metallurgy. This term covers various processes in which metal powders are prepared, mixed, blended, compacted, and sintered. Here are some notable facts about it and its processes.

1. Compaction is needed to generate a compact.

One of the processes involved in powder metallurgy is compaction. Compaction entails the application of pressure to metal powders and alloys so they can retain the shape of the mould. Once done, a compact is generated. The quality of the compact may be influenced by many factors. These factors include powder type, particle size, composition, size distribution, and shape. The compact should likewise undergo sintering to fuse its particles effectively.

2. Sintering does not melt the compact and its particles.

Sintering is a process that generates a solid mass of material through metal powders. It involves pressure or heat. The heat provided to the metal powders does not necessarily melt them. Instead, it only increases their temperature just below their melting point, making sure that the metal powders can keep their intended properties as their particles fuse.

3. Density can affect the properties of the products.

One influential property of metal powders that should be considered throughout the powder metallurgy process is their density. Components that tend to be denser than others often have better properties. Density, after all, is directly connected to tensile strength, yield strength, and overall durability of metal powders. The porosity of metal powders can often indicate the density of components. To ensure that sintered components can perform optimally, their particles should not possess too much friction between them.

4. Necking is essential to minimise porosity.

Necking is a type of deformation wherein large amounts of strain can be found in a specific spot on powder materials. The decrease in the local cross-sectional area of the powder materials becomes the neck. As necking between metal particles grows, their spaces decrease significantly. And as porosity decreases, their density increases. Most manufacturers of sintered metals keep their metal particles in the necking state to effectively minimise porosity.

5. Powder metallurgy is environmentally friendly.

One more fact about powder metallurgy in general is it is environmentally friendly. It is a green manufacturing technique that can benefit not only the environment but also the manufacturers. One reason why it is eco-friendly is that almost all metals that undergo the powder metallurgy processes are converted into final products. Only 3% of the metal materials may be discarded in the end, minimising the number of waste generated by powder metallurgy.

Powder metallurgy is a service that PM Distributors can carry out for your needs. Contact us now if you want to obtain high-quality sintered products.

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