Certain metal products can be produced only by powder metallurgy; among these products are materials whose porosity is controlled. Successful production by powder metallurgy depends on the proper selection and control of process variables: powder characteristics; powder preparation; type of compacting press; design of compacting tools and dies; type of sintering furnace; composition of the sintering atmosphere; choice of production cycle, including sintering time and temperature; and secondary operations and heat treatment. When the application of a powder metallurgy part requires high levels of strength, toughness, or hardness, the mechanical properties can be improved or modified by infiltration, heat treatment, or a secondary mechanical forming operation such as cold re-pressing or powder forging. The article also discusses the effect of the secondary processes on P/M mechanical properties.
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