What is powder metallurgy?
Powder metallurgy is a kind of manufacturing process in which we make final products with the help of powdered metal. In this process we heat powdered metal to a temperature below its melting point and then compact that metal to a desired shape.
Since the powdered metal gets compacted it its final shape so we do not need any further machining to obtain final product.
Sintering means heating of green compact in an oven.
Advantages of powder metallurgy
- Products made by P/M generally do not require further finishing
- There is no wastage of raw material
- Reasonably complex shapes can be made
- Different combinations of materials can be used in P/M products, which are otherwise impossible to make. For example, mixing ceramics with metals
- Automation of P/M process is easy as compared to other manufacturing processes
- It provides properties like porosity and self-lubrication to the manufactured parts
Limitations of powder metallurgy
- Tooling cost is generally and can only be justified in mass production
- Raw material cost is very high
- Mechanical properties of the parts are of low quality as compared to cast or machined parts
- In some cases, density of different parts of final product can very due to uneven compression
- Size of product that can be manufactured is generally limited to 2-20 kgs
Applications of powder metallurgy
- P/M parts are generally used as filters due to porous nature
- Making cutting tools and dies
- Used in making machinery parts
- Due to self-lubricating property P/M components are widely used in making bearings and bushes
- P/M process is also used in making magnets
Featured image attribution: By Anonimski – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29910522