Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Simulating sintering

Sintering is an important technique in the manufacture of precision metal parts for a range of industries. Computer models are used to optimize the design of new parts by simulating the compression stage of manufacture. By using parallel computing techniques, the speed of these simulations can be greatly increased, shortening the design process, improving quality.

Software called PowCom is used to model the compression phase of the sintering process. A typical model involves 5000 elements and 20 time steps, and runs sequentially in around 20 h. A run time of 8 h is required, to allow models to be run overnight. A graphical tool has been incorporated to show the evolution of material densities during the compression process. The original sequential code was parallelized, with the innermost computational steps being solved via a Schur complement method with a GMRES solver. The cost of implementation has been kept to a minimum by designing the system to run on a network of personal computers (PC). Studies are being undertaken on architectures with more and faster processors to examine the potential performance of the code at larger scales. The tool results have also been compared to experimental data to calibrate it, and to find the tuning parameters for different raw materials. AMES makes sintered precision metal parts for the automotive industry. The system is now being used not only for the design of new pieces but also for the analysis and improvement of existing manufactured parts.

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