Powder Metallurgy (PM) is a Sustainable Manufacturing Technique which allows producing cost effective, near-net-shape metallic products by die-pressing metal powder followed by sintering at elevated temperature to consolidate the material. In the last years, the increasing cost and volatility in prices of the common alloying elements (Cu, Ni and Mo), demands the research of new alloying alternatives to maintain a competitive position. This work considers the possibility of introducing elements such as Mn and Si, extremely effective for improving properties but very sensitive to oxidation. Previous studies have shown the potential good properties of materials produced by mixing plain iron base powder with small amounts of an Fe-Mn-Si master alloy. However, in order for these master alloys to become a real alternative, they still need to gain the credibility of the PM-users. This project is aimed to define optimum conditions for processing steels containing Fe-Mn-Si, providing enough experimental data to evaluate the robustness of the final product. Firstly, oxidation/reduction reactions between solid and gaseous phases will be studied with advanced thermal analysis techniques coupled with mass spectroscopy. Secondly, sintering conditions will be optimized, maximizing properties while reducing cost. Evaluation of mechanical properties and fracture mechanisms will show the actual effect of oxides on mechanical properties to decide whether or not is worth improving the processing conditions to aim complete reduction of oxides. The final step is a study of robustness where a number of samples will be sintered and tested after performing deviations from the optimum conditions. The aim is to evaluate the sensitivity of the product to changes in the process. The results from this project are expected to position Fe-Mn-Si master alloys as a real option in the PM-market, by enforcing their reliability and providing suitable processing-guidelines to the PM parts manufacturers.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
See other projects for this call