Densification behavior of copper powder during the coupled multi-physics fields-activated microforming

Huang, Kunlan and Yang, Yi and Qin, Yi and Gang, Yang (2013) Densification behavior of copper powder during the coupled multi-physics fields-activated microforming. International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, 69 (9-12). pp. 2651-2657. ISSN 0268-3768

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Abstract

External electric field-activated sintering techniques have been widely investigated and applied for the forming of large-sized components. These techniques are, however, rarely utilized for the manufacture of miniature and microsized components. In this paper, a novel, coupled forming, and sintering method is reported, which has been used for the fabrication of microcomponents, wherein the loose powder is loaded directly into the die, followed by simultaneous electrical forming and electric sintering (named coupled multi-physics-fields activation). In the study, the gears with the module of 0.2 and the pitch diameter of 1.6 mm were formed from copper powder. The coupled multi-fields activations were enabled using a Gleeble-1500D thermal simulation machine. Sintered samples with a relative density of 97.20 % have been fabricated at a sintering temperature of 700 °C, heating rate of 50 °C/s, forming pressure of 100 MPa, while these parameters were applied cyclically. The study showed that the axial reduction of the samples increased rapidly with the increase of temperature during the sintering, while the external pressure was maintained. Based on the experimental observations, it can be concluded that the deformation of the particles resulted in an increase in, and then subsequent disappearance of, the interface areas among the particles, which feature plays a key role in the densification of the copper powder.