Characteristics of Low Density Powder Metallurgy Parts

July 26, 2018

When powder metallurgy tech produces low-density parts, the components are leaving the process as lightweight and porous constructs. Structurally attenuated, the parts consume less alloy powder, so process costs drop. Beyond such utilitarian deliberations, however, the lighter than usual parts gain self-lubricating improvements, so a lower frictional coefficient is instantly gained. Expanding on those observations, this is an opportunity to examine the characteristics of a sparsely structured and sintered part.

Mathematically Controlled Part’s Characteristics 

Expressed in grams per cubic cm, the density values produced here hover around the 75% mark. Porosity is the natural upshot of a low-density production run, as is an increase in the part’s permeability characteristics. The powder metallurgy process is essentially creating a more diffuse material structure, so there are more pores and a more sponge-like arrangement within the metal construct. One reason to take this approach is to make lighter parts, and those parts cost less to manufacture because less powder is required in the compaction stage. Before settling on such mundane gains, though, the mathematics dominating the operation reveal another important gain. It’s simply this, the notion that the increased negative space can be filled with more additives. Now, when one or more of those waxy or liquid additives is a lubricant, a well-regulated powder fabrication mechanism becomes characterized by a capacity for precisely controlling the part’s frictional coefficient. To keep it succinct, as that ratio drops, the components’ slipperiness improves.

When Superalloys Take Flight 

Aluminium is commonly used in countless aerospace applications. It’s a lightweight metal, and it’s naturally weather resistant. Titanium is another candidate here, but it’s a clearly more expensive element, so it’s utilized in smaller craft and on military or space projects. That leaves the harder engine parts inside the craft and all of the supplementary components that run throughout its light frame. In such cases, heavier, harder alloys are required, but they can’t be employed if they weigh the vehicle down. This is an opportunity for the heavier metals to go on a sintering diet. Incidentally, sintered titanium is less expensive than the pure metal, so more of these components can be brought in to match an aerospace vehicle’s aluminium parts.

Low-density powder metallurgy produces lighter components, parts that cost less and weigh less than their solid counterparts. Moreover, the micro-dense negative space formed by the slighter material base provides plenty of room for more self-lubricating endurance, which means bearings are off to a good start because they gain a lower frictional coefficient. Then, as a circumstantial knock-on effect, low wear characteristics abound and device lifespan expands incrementally.

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