The Sintering Behaviour of Al-Mg-Si-Cu-(Sn) Powder Metallurgy Alloys

Enda Crossin (2010). The Sintering Behaviour of Al-Mg-Si-Cu-(Sn) Powder Metallurgy Alloys PhD Thesis, School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, The University of Queensland.

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Author Enda Crossin
Thesis Title The Sintering Behaviour of Al-Mg-Si-Cu-(Sn) Powder Metallurgy Alloys
School, Centre or Institute School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010-03
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Prof. Graham Schaffer
Dr. Ji-Yong Yao
Total pages 219
Total colour pages 45
Total black and white pages 174
Subjects 09 Engineering
Abstract/Summary The current, commercially available, press and sinter Al-Mg-Si-Cu alloys are based on wrought or cast alloy compositions and have not been tailored for the press and sinter process. The limited development of the Al-Mg-Si-Cu alloys for the press and sinter process can be partly attributed to a poor understanding of the effects of processing conditions on the sintering behaviour. The primary objective of this work was to investigate and understand the effects of processing conditions on the sintering behaviour of Al-Mg-Si-Cu-(Sn) alloys. Dilatometry was used in conjunction with other experimental techniques to elucidate and understand the expansion and shrinkage events that occur during the liquid-phase sintering of Al-Mg-Si-Cu-(Sn) powder metallurgy alloys. Samples were uni-axially pressed from elemental metal powder blends, de-waxed, and then sintered in a horizontal push-rod dilatometer to record the dimensional changes in the pressing direction. The processing conditions examined included the alloy composition, temperature, green density and atmosphere. A liquid forms during heating due to reactions between the alloying elements and the aluminium. This liquid is initially non-wetting on the oxide layer of the aluminium particles, resulting in separation of the particles, which is manifested by expansion of the sample. The oxide is reduced as sintering progresses, alleviating the non-wetting conditions. When more liquid forms, further expansion occurs, despite the improved wetting conditions. It is proposed that atmospheric oxygen and/or nitrogen can react with the liquid, forming a solid phase (‘shell’) at the liquid-vapour interfaces. These shells prevent the liquid from wetting the particles, resulting in further expansion and preventing shrinkage. Unbalanced diffusivities (the Kirkendall effect) between the aluminium and silicon contribute to the expansion. A mechanism is proposed to account for the transition to shrinkage, whereby the shells at the liquid-vapour interface rupture when there is a rapid increase in the volume of contained liquid. The liquid then flows out and over the shells, onto the aluminium substrate, causing shrinkage. Magnesium and nitrogen delay the transition to shrinkage by facilitating nitride shell formation at the solid-liquid interface. Silicon and tin cause an earlier transition to shrinkage by increasing the liquid volume. In addition, tin promotes shrinkage by segregating to the liquid-vapour interfaces, limiting the thickness of the shells at the liquid-vapour interfaces. The two dominant liquid-phase shrinkage mechanisms during the sintering of Al-Mg-Si-Cu-(Sn) alloys are rearrangement and pore-filling. Contact-flattening is not a dominant shrinkage mechanism, but may occur concurrently with the other mechanisms. If contact flattening occurs, a decrease in the pressure of isolated pores increases the total shrinkage rate. Nitrogen increases the shrinkage rate during rearrangement by restricting grain-growth. Magnesium increases the shrinkage rate during rearrangement by reducing the solid-liquid interface energy. Magnesium and nitrogen are essential for the formation of nitride within isolated pores, which decreases the pore pressure and increases the contribution of contact-flattening on the total shrinkage rate. Silicon reduces the beneficial influence of magnesium during rearrangement by diluting the magnesium content in the liquid. Silicon increases the pore-filling rate due to an increase in the liquid volume. Magnesium increases the pore-filling rate by facilitating aluminium nitride formation within isolated pores and by increasing the pore-filling. Tin additions can decrease the pore-filling rate due to its segregation to the liquid-vapour interface, limiting the consumption of nitrogen within isolated pores.
Keyword sintering, powder metallurgy, aluminium, Al-Mg-Si
Additional Notes Pages for printing in colour: 71-78, 80, 83-84, 86-87, 89, 91-92, 96-107, 111, 113, 115-121, 129, 133, 134, 136, 140, 142, 146, 148

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Created: Mon, 01 Mar 2010, 08:49:52 EST by Mr Enda Crossin on behalf of Library - Information Access Service