Enhanced Densification of PM Steels by Liquid Phase Sintering with Boron-Containing Master Alloy
Journal article, 2018
Reaching high density in PM steels is important for high-performance applications. In this study, liquid phase sintering of PM steels by adding gas-atomized Ni-Mn-B master alloy was investigated for enhancing the density levels of Fe- and Mo- prealloyed steel powder compacts. The results indicated that liquid formation occurs in two stages, beginning with the master alloy melting (LP-1) below and eutectic phase formation (LP-2) above 1373 K (1100 °C). Mo and C addition revealed a significant influence on the LP-2 temperatures and hence on the final densification behavior and mechanical properties. Microstructural embrittlement occurs with the formation of continuous boride networks along the grain boundaries, and its severity increases with carbon addition, especially for 2.5 wt pct of master alloy content. Sintering behavior, along with liquid generation, microstructural characteristics, and mechanical testing revealed that the reduced master alloy content from 2.5 to 1.5 wt pct (reaching overall boron content from 0.2 to 0.12 wt pct) was necessary for obtaining good ductility with better mechanical properties. Sintering with Ni-Mn-B master alloy enables the sintering activation by liquid phase formation in two stages to attain high density in PM steels suitable for high-performance applications.
Liquid phase sintering