Effect of Sintering Conditions on Mechanical Properties and Microstructure of Titanium Alloy Produced by Metal Injection Moulding (MIM)
Metal Injection Moulding (MIM) is an efficient method for high volume production of complex shape components from powders. The purpose of this study is to determine the sintering condition of titanium alloy (Ti6Al4V) tensile shape sample. In high temperature, Ti6Al4V will react with oxygen to form of titanium oxide (TiO2) which present a problem during sintering thus affected the mechanical properties and microstructure. This reaction can be avoided either by introducing argon gases or in vacuum condition. Ti6Al4V with binder formulation consist of polyethylene (PE), paraffin wax (PW), stearic acid (SA) and palm oil derivatives; palm stearin (PS) were mixed homogenously and injected to produce green compact. The binders then are removed and sintered at 1100 °C for 8 h. During sintering, the debound part is heated, thus allowing densification of the powder into a dense solid with the elimination of pores. It was expected that the impurity gas in argon had strong effects on aspects of the densification and properties. Samples of PE/PS formulation with argon added to the sintering atmosphere, experience density of 4.375g/cm3 and tensile strength stated at 1000.100MPa compared to samples in vacuum condition which do not show any significant increment with density of 3.943g/cm3 and tensile strength at 325.976MPa. PE/PW/SA samples of vacuum condition also show no improvement in sintered properties. However with additional argon flow the density can reach until 4.359g /cm3 and 940.823MPa of tensile strength. Ti-alloy sintered in argon exhibited better densification rate than in vacuum with high strength, better elongation and lower porosity. In argon, the powder particles became interconnected signifying densification was achieved due of non-reactive properties of inert gases that prevent undesirable chemical reactions from taking place.
M.K. Harun, M.Z.A. Yahya, S. Abdullah and C.H. Chan
M. J. bin Suleiman Ahmad et al., "Effect of Sintering Conditions on Mechanical Properties and Microstructure of Titanium Alloy Produced by Metal Injection Moulding (MIM)", Advanced Materials Research, Vol. 686, pp. 164-169, 2013