Sintering and Melting Metals: What are the Differences?March 26, 2021
Metals are often used in creating a lot of products in various industries. Some of the most common industries that maximise metal materials include agriculture, automotive, construction, electronics, medical, power generation, and transportation. Tools, machines, appliances, and other equipment pieces are now made from different types of metals due to their accompanying features and qualities.
Two processes that are used in creating metal products are sintering and melting. While these processes may share some similarities in certain aspects, they have key differences that make them both beneficial for specific applications. To understand better, the following are some differences between the two.
Sintering is a process wherein a solid mass of metal is compacted and formed through heat or pressure. But unlike the melting process, sintering ensures that the metal material will not reach its liquefaction point throughout its processes. Aside from the initial heating, some of the steps involved in sintering metal include the removal of lubricants, reduction of oxide elements, bonding of particles, and cooling.
One common use of sintering is the integration of metal particles together, particularly metals that have high melting points. Another great use of sintering is that it can effectively reduce the porosity of an object, enhancing its overall properties along the way. This process can likewise increase the overall strength and structural integrity of metal products. Ultimately, sintering can be great for maintaining consistency and control over the production of items and products since they do not have to be melted.
Melting, on the other hand, is intended to convert metal particles into liquid by placing them in a furnace. As the metal particles are placed in a furnace, the manufacturer will then set it to a temperature above the particles’ melting point, causing them to become liquid. The temperatures used for the furnace are often adjusted to meet the melting point of the particles that will be processed.
The melting process can be maximised when joining two metals together, which is also done in sintering. But one distinct use of melting is that it allows the reformation of metal particles, particularly on their shape and other physical properties. This process can also be used to remove the magnetic properties of metal products, allowing them to be effective in certain applications. One process that can benefit from melting is casting. It is a process where the liquid metal is poured into a die to create products.
Through the melting and casting processes, different metal products that have large and intricate shapes can be produced. However, they can still have some drawbacks along the way. The cooling process of these products can consume a lot of time. They can also have difficulty in holding tight dimensional tolerances. Additional machining costs and time are likewise required just to polish the part.
Sintering, alternatively, can already process materials without melting them entirely. This process can even be carried out at low temperatures, as long as enough pressure is provided.
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