High Temperature Sintering investigation of the dimensional precision and mechanical properties of low alloyed steels
The automobile industry has set the demand regarding Powder Metallurgy (PM) parts for decades, since this near-net shape technology is a cost-effective manufacturing process allying good mechanical properties with dimensional and geometrical precision. Aiming at the future of the electric automobiles high production and demand, many changes are on the way to guarantee the competitiveness of PM against other manufacturing process. The high costs of alloying elements such as Ni and Cu, the changes in health and safety regulations as well as light weighting of components are the topics of major importance in the field of PM and focus of main R&D around the globe. The use of high temperature sintering and different alloying elements are possible solutions to overcome properties obtained by using Ni as an alloying element sintered at conventional temperatures.
Materials with Cr, Mo and Si were investigated using high temperature sintering (1180°C and 1250°) in comparison to traditionally high Ni materials sintered at conventional temperature (1120°C). The dimensional stability, geometrical precision, density, and microstructure of ring-shaped specimens were studied by using a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) and the effect of HTS on the mechanical properties were estimated through the fraction of the load bearing section.
The effect of HTS on the dimensional precision and geometrical stability was later investigated in real parts manufactured by industrial partners through an EPMA Club Project. The 4%Ni material sintered at 1120°C was also compared to Ni-less/Nifree materials sintered at 1250°C using tensile testing, impact testing, and hardness. The use of HTS to improve the mechanical properties without impairing the dimensional and geometrical stability was confirmed in parts with both low and high complexity designs. This project sets the blueprint for future material developments using HTS as manufacturing process.