Powder metallurgy (PM) is the manufacturing process of producing metal parts from powder. The process involves mixing fine powdered materials, pressing them into a desired shape or form, and then sintering the resulting shapes in a high-temperature furnace. The PM industry has grown rapidly due to its ability to produce complex parts with high dimensional accuracy and uniformity, making it a popular choice for the production of small, intricate parts. The PM industry serves a variety of applications, including aerospace, automotive, medical, construction, and industrial machinery.
Metal powders are the primary raw materials used in powder metallurgy and come in various forms, including elemental powders, pre-alloyed powders, and master alloys. The powders are mixed with lubricants and binders to improve flowability and compressibility, and then compacted into a green part using a hydraulic press or an isostatic press. The green part is then sintered in a furnace where it undergoes a metallurgical transformation resulting in a fully dense part with mechanical properties comparable to wrought materials.
ATO Lab Plus ultrasonic metal powder atomizers produce fine and uniform powders with high flowability and compressibility, making them ideal for PM applications. ATO metal powders have a narrow particle size distribution, resulting in high packing density and good green strength. The powders also have excellent sintering properties, resulting in fully dense parts with high mechanical properties. In addition, ATO Lab Plus atomizers enable the production of high-purity powders, which are essential for certain PM applications, such as the manufacture of medical implants.
The PM industry uses a wide range of alloys, including low alloy steels, stainless steels, tool steels, copper and copper alloys, nickel and nickel alloys, titanium and titanium alloys, and refractory metals. The choice of alloy depends on the desired mechanical properties, corrosion resistance, and thermal properties of the final part.
Examples of Metal powder
Transmission gears, brake parts, and engine components are all made using automotive powder metallurgy. High wear resistance, strength, and dimensional stability are necessary for these parts.
Jet engine parts like blades and vanes as well as structural parts like landing gear are produced using aerospace powder metallurgy because of its high temperature resistance, corrosion resistance, and high strength-to-weight ratio.
The manufacturing of orthopedic implants, such as hip and knee replacements, uses medical powder metallurgy. High biocompatibility, wear resistance, and strength are needed for these implants.