Abstract

Powder metallurgy (PM) is the fabrication process of compacting metal powders to shape and sintering these compacts to yield the final material’s properties. The PM compaction process allows for complex geometries to be formed that would normally lead to long and expensive machining processes from wrought steels. Special alloy selection can allow for hardening of the microstructure during the sintering procedure. The sinter hardened (SH) alloys exhibit good mechanical properties along with good hardenability and dimensional stability and may be a suitable replacement for wrought steels where low distortion from heat treatment or microstructural control is required. In this study, it was found for a complex geometry coupler application, a SH alloy could successfully replace an austenitizing heat treatment process with a low carbon steel. The low carbon steel was found to have micro heterogeneities from heat treatment that lead to premature failure in the application. Dimensional distortion and production variance were also of concern with the low carbon steel. The SH material demonstrated acceptable physical properties, hardness and microstructural uniformity to solve the concerns associated with processing of the low carbon steel coupler. Post processing optimization also added to the life performance of the coupler by tailoring the final microstructure to mating components.

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