Sintering of an aluminium alloy under pressurised conditions

Bonner, Stephen (2009). Sintering of an aluminium alloy under pressurised conditions MPhil Thesis, School of Engineering, The University of Queensland. doi:10.14264/uql.2016.114

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Author Bonner, Stephen
Thesis Title Sintering of an aluminium alloy under pressurised conditions
School, Centre or Institute School of Engineering
Institution The University of Queensland
DOI 10.14264/uql.2016.114
Publication date 2009-04
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Graham Schaffer
Ji-Yong Yao
Total pages 97
Subjects 09 Engineering
Formatted abstract
Increasing concern over the environmental impact of motor vehicles is driving the need for the development of lighter materials to reduce automobile weight and fuel consumption. Sintered aluminium alloys, with their high strength to weight ratios, have potential applications in the automotive industry, but conventional pressed-and-sintered materials have poor mechanical properties due to the presence of residual porosity in the sintered compact. Residual porosity can be eliminated by Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIPing) or combined sinter-HIPing, but these processes are expensive due to the high gas pressures involved, up to several hundred MPa, and also pose a significant safety hazard. There is a limited amount of evidence in the literature suggesting that applied gas pressures as low as a few MPa may be beneficial to the sintering of aluminium alloys, and it is this idea that the present work explores. Compacts of aluminium alloy 2712 (Al-3.8Cu-1Mg-0.7Si-0.1Sn) were prepared from elemental powders and sintered at 590ºC for up to 60 minutes in a horizontal tube furnace under constant flowing nitrogen or argon at pressures up to 600 kPa. Archimedes’ method was used to measure the density of sintered compacts, and the amount of open and closed porosity. Increasing the nitrogen pressure at the start of the isothermal holding stage to 160 kPa increased the sintering rate compared to standard atmospheric pressure sintering. Increasing the nitrogen pressure further, up to 600 kPa, had no additional benefit. The sintering rate was increased further by applying a 600 kPa nitrogen pressure during both heating and isothermal holding. The elevated nitrogen pressure had a negligible effect on the maximum sintered density achieved, and sintering in argon at elevated pressures had no measurable effect on the sintered density or sintering rate. It was shown that the elevated pressure aids in the closure of pores open to the specimen surface, contrary to HIPing and sinter-HIPing, where the pores must be isolated prior to the application of pressure. It was also shown that at 600 kPa nitrogen pressure, the sintered density was independent of the presence of tin in the alloy. The improvements to sintering seem to be related to the formation of aluminium nitride.
Keyword Aluminium
Powder metallurgy

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Created: Thu, 03 Jun 2010, 18:34:04 EST by Mr Stephen Bonner on behalf of Library - Information Access Service