Studies of oxide reduction and nitrogen uptake in sintering of chromium-alloyed steel powder
2008 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
The powder metallurgy (PM) process route is very competitive for mass production of structural steel components with complex shape, due to efficient material utilisation, low energy consumption, and short overall production time. The most commonly used alloying elements are the processing friendly metals Cu, Ni and Mo. However, the prices for these metals are today high and volatile, which threatens to make the PM process less competitive compared to conventional metal forming processes. Consequently, there is a strong desire in the PM industry to increase the use of less costly alloying elements. Cr is an attractive alternative since it, besides low cost, provides high hardenability and also recyclable components. The drawback is that Cr has high affinity for oxygen, which makes oxidation and oxide reduction in PM processing of Cr-alloyed materials a challenging issue. Furthermore, the interaction between nitrogen and Cr-alloyed powder during processing is important to consider, since Cr also has high nitrogen affinity and is prone to form nitrides.
The aim of the research work presented in this thesis was to study oxide reduction and nitrogen uptake in sintering of Cr-alloyed steel powder. Water-atomized powder grades pre-alloyed with 1.5-3% Cr were used as test materials. Sintering experiments were performed in N2/H2 (90/10) atmospheres with test bars pressed to density 7.0-7.2 g/cm3. The oxygen content of the sintering atmosphere was varied and different sintering temperatures and cooling rates were applied. The experimental study has been complemented with thermodynamic calculations using the software Thermo-Calc.
The oxygen partial pressure should be below 4 x 10-18 atm in order to have reducing conditions during sintering at 1120°C of steel powder pre-alloyed with 3% Cr. With graphite added to the powder, conditions are reducing at higher oxygen partial pressures (up to 10-16 atm) due to favourable conditions locally in the material. Sintering at 1120°C for 30 minutes leads to incomplete reduction of Cr-oxides in the Cr-alloyed PM grades, but remaining oxides are not detrimental for mechanical properties of the PM components. Increased sintering temperature is beneficial for the oxide reduction kinetics and practically all oxides are reduced after sintering for 30 minutes above 1200°C. Nitrogen uptake by Cr-alloyed steel powder from N2-based sintering atmospheres is strongly dependent on the cooling rate applied after sintering. No nitrides appear in the sintered material and mechanical properties are not affected when normal cooling rates (0.5-1°C/s) are applied. Very low cooling rates (such as 0.05°C/s) may lead to grain boundary precipitation of Cr-nitrides in the sintered material.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2008. , 32 p.
powder metallurgy, chromium, pre-alloying, surface oxides, sintering
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9555ISBN: 978-91-7415-167-1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-9555DiVA: diva2:117462
2008-11-21, B408, Brinellvägen 23, KTH, Stockholm, 14:15 (English)
Ågren, John, Professon
QC 201011052008-11-132008-11-132010-11-05Bibliographically approved
List of papers