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Title:
COMPOSITION AND PROCESS FOR WARM COMPACTION OF STAINLESS STEEL POWDERS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2003/106077
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention concerns a composition for warm compaction comprising a water-atomised standard stainless steel powder including, in addition to iron and 10-30 % by weight of chromium, optional alloying elements and inevitable impurities, 0.8 %-2.0 % by weight of a warm compaction lubricant. The invention also concerns a process for the preparation of sintered bodies from this composition.

Inventors:
Bergkvist, Anders (Seilduksgata 22, Oslo, N-0553, NO)
Dahlberg, Mikael (Krapperupsvägen 41, Nyhamnsläge, S-260 41, SE)
Application Number:
PCT/SE2003/001001
Publication Date:
December 24, 2003
Filing Date:
June 13, 2003
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
HÖGANÄS AB (Höganäs, S-263 83, SE)
Bergkvist, Anders (Seilduksgata 22, Oslo, N-0553, NO)
Dahlberg, Mikael (Krapperupsvägen 41, Nyhamnsläge, S-260 41, SE)
International Classes:
B22F1/00; B22F3/02; B22F3/10; C10M141/06; C10M161/00; C22C33/02; (IPC1-7): B22F1/00; C22C33/02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
AWAPATENT AB (Box 5117, Malmö, S-200 71, SE)
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Claims:
Claims
1. A composition for warm compaction of a water atomised stainless steel powder including iron and 10 30% by weight of chromium, optional alloying elements and inevitable impurities, and a lubricant, characterised in that the steel powder is a standard steel powder and that the lubricant is present in an amount of 0. 8%2. 0% by weight.
2. Composition according to claim 1 wherein the steel powder includes at least 0.5% by weight of silicon.
3. Composition according to claim 2 wherein the steel powder includes 0. 71. 0% by weight of silicon.
4. Composition according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the steel powder includes one or more element selected from the group consisting of molybdenum, nickel, manganese, niobium, titanium, vanadium and at most 1. 0% by weight of inevitable impurities.
5. Composition according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the lubricant is a warm compaction lubricant.
6. Composition according to any one of the claims 1 5 wherein the lubricant is combined with up to 0. 4% by weight of a high oxygen affinity compound.
7. Composition according to claim 6 wherein the lubricant includes between about 0.05 and 0. 3% by weight of a high oxygen affinity compound.
8. Composition according to claim 6 or 7 wherein the high oxygen affinity compound is lithium stearate.
9. Composition according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the lubricant in addition to the optional high oxygen affinity compound essentially consists of an amide oligomer lubricant having the formula DCmaBABCmbD wherein D isH, COR, CNHR, wherein R is a straight or branched aliphatic or aromatic group including 221 C atoms C is the groupNH (CH) n CO B is amino or carbonyl A is alkylene having 416 C atoms optionally including up to 4 0 atoms ma and mb which may be the same of different is an integer 110 n is an integer 511.
10. Composition according to any one of the preceding claims also including a minor amount of an additive selected from the group consisting of fatty acid and flow agent.
11. Composition according to claim 10, wherein fatty acid is selected from the group consisting of stearic acid and oleic acid.
12. Composition according to claim 11, wherein the amount of fatty acid is between 0.005 and 0. 5% by weight of the composition.
13. Composition according to claim 10 including as flow agent silicon oxide in an amount between 0.005 and 2% by weight of the composition.
14. Composition for warm compaction according to any one of the claims 14,68 and 1012 comprising a water atomised, standard stainless steel powder including, in addition to iron, 1030% of chromium, wherein the lubricant is a wax, such as EBS.
15. A process of preparing high density, warm com pacted and sintered bodies of a water atomised, standard stainless steel powder including iron and 1030% by weight of chromium, optional alloying elements and inevitable impurities said process comprising the steps of providing a mixture of a prealloyed, wateratomised, stainless steel powder having a Cr content of 1030 % by weight, optional alloying elements and inevitable impurities; mixing the powder with 0. 8%2. 0% by weight of a high temperature lubricant compacting the mixture at an elevated temperature; and sintering the compacted body.
16. Process according to claim 15, wherein the warm compaction is performed at a temperature of at least 60°C preferably at least 90°C.
17. Process according to any one of the claims 1516 wherein the sintering is performed in a non oxidative atmosphere without previous sintering in reduced atmosphere.
18. Process according to any one of the claims 1517 wherein the sintering is performed at a temperature between 1100°C and 1400°C, preferably between 1250°C and 1325°C.
Description:
COMPOSITION AND PROCESS FOR WARM COMPACTION OF STAINLESS STEEL POWDERS.

Field of invention The present invention concerns steel powder compositions as well as the compacted and sintered bodies obtained thereof. Specifically the invention concerns stainless steel powder compositions for warm compaction.

Background art Since the start of the industrial use of powder metallurgical processes i. e. the pressing and sintering of metal powders, great efforts have been made in order to enhance the mechanical properties of P/M-components and to improve the tolerances of the finished parts in order to expand the market and achieve the lowest total cost.

Recently much attention has been paid to warm com- paction as a promising way of improving the properties of P/M components. The warm compaction process gives the opportunity to increase the density level, i. e. decrease the porosity level in finished parts. The warm compaction process is applicable to most powder/material systems.

Normally the warm compaction process leads to higher strength and better dimensional tolerances. A possibility of green machining, i. e. machining in the"as-pressed" state, is also obtained by this process.

Warm compaction is considered to be defined as compaction of a particulate material mostly consisting of metal powder above approximately 100°C up to approxi- mately 150°C according to the currently available powder technologies such as Densmix, Ancorbond or Flow-Met.

A detailed description of the warm compaction pro- cess is described in e. g. a paper presented at PM TEC 96 World Congress, Washington, June 1996, which is hereby incorporated by reference. Specific types of lubricants

used for warm compaction of iron powders are disclosed in e. g. the US patents 5 154 881 (Rutz) and 5 744 433 (Storstrom).

Until recently it has been observed that the general advantages with warm compaction have been insignificant as only minor differences in e. g. density and green strength have been demonstrated in the case of stainless steel powders. Major problems encountered when warm compacting stainless steel powders are the high ejection forces and the high internal friction during compaction.

However, as disclosed in the US patent 6 365 095 (Bergkvist), it was recently found that stainless steel powders may be subjected to warm compaction with good results provided that the stainless steel powder is distinguished by very low oxygen, carbon and silicon levels. The widely used standard qualities having higher levels of these elements could however not be successfully warm compacted i. e. the properties of the warm compacts were not significantly better than the green density of a corresponding body compacted at ambient temperature.

It has now unexpectedly been found that also standard stainless steel powders can be compacted at elevated temperatures with good results. In comparison with the stainless steel powders disclosed in the above US patent the standard stainless powders are generally characterised in a higher amount of oxygen, carbon and silicon. These powders are also easier to produce and accordingly cheaper. According to the present invention it has thus, contrary to the teaching in the US patent, been found that these standard powders can be compacted to high green densities without the use of excessively high compaction pressures. The high green density is valuable when the product is subsequently sintered as it is not necessary to use high sintering temperatures and accompanying high energy consumption in order to get a high sintered density which is normally necessary in

order to get good mechanical properties. Additionally high sintering temperatures induce strains in the material which in turn gives poor dimensional stability.

Summary of the invention In brief the process of preparing high density, warm compacted bodies of a water atomised standard stainless steel powder according to the present invention is based on the discovery that specific amounts of lubricants have to be used in the stainless steel powder composition which is subjected to the compaction at elevated temperature. Minor amounts of selected additives included in the composition contribute to the unexpected finding that standard stainless steels can be successfully compacted.

Detailed description of the invention Type of powder Preferably the powders subjected to warm compaction are pre-alloyed, water atomised powders which include, by percent of weight, 10-30% of chromium. These powders are stainless steel powders of standard type and include at least 0. 5% by weight of silicon. Normally the silicon content is between 0.7 and 1. 0% by weight of the steel powder. The stainless steel powder may also include other elements such as, molybdenum, nickel, manganese, niobium, titanium, vanadium. The amounts of these elements may be 0-5% of molybdenum, 0-22% of nickel, 0-1. 5% of manganese, 0-2% of niobium, 0-2% of titanium, 0-2% of vanadium, and at most 1% of inevitable impurities and most preferably 10-20% of chromium, 0-3% of molybdenum, 0.1-0. 4% of manganese, 0-0. 5% of niobium, 0-0. 5% of titanium, 0-0. 5% of vanadium and essentially no nickel or alternatively 5-15% of nickel, the balance being iron and unavoidable impurities (normally less than 1% by weight).

Furthermore, the average particle size of the steel

powder should preferably be above about 30 um and a suitable interval is between 30 and 70 um.

Examples of stainless steel powders which are suitably used according to the present invention are 316 L, 409 Nb, 409 L, 410 L, 434 L. The standard steel powders used according to the present invention generally include more than 0. 5% by weight of Si and normally the Si content is 0. 7-1. 0% by weight. This feature distinguishes standard stainless powders from the stainless powders used for the warm compaction according to the US patent 6 365 095 (Bergkvist) mentioned above.

Amount of lubricant The amount of lubricant in the composition to be compacted is an important factor for the possibility to get a satisfactory result. It has thus been found that the total amount of lubricant should be above 0. 8% by weight, preferably at least 1.0% by weight and most preferably at least 1. 2% by weight of the total powder composition. As increasing amounts of lubricant decrease the final green density due to the fact that the lubricants normally have much lower density than the metal powder, lubricant amounts above 2. 0% by weight are less important. In practice it is believed that the upper limit should be less than 1. 8% by weight. A minor amount, such as at least 0.05 and at most 0. 4% by weight of the lubricant should preferably be a compound having high oxygen affinity, which promotes the sintering activity.

Type of lubricant The lubricant may be of any type as long as it is com- patible with the warm compaction process. Examples of such lubricants are disclosed in e. g. the US patents 5 154 881 (Rutz) and 5 744 433 (Storstrom), which are referred to above and which are hereby incorporated by reference. The lubricants may also be e. g. metal stearates, such as lithium stearate, zinc stearate ;

paraffins; waxes ; natural and synthetic fat derivatives and polyamides. Preliminary results have also shown that lubricants conventionally used for cold compaction, such as EBS, may be used for warm compaction of the standard steel powders according to the present invention although the flow properties of such powder compositions are inferior.

So far however the most promising results have been obtained by using a type of lubricants disclosed in the copending patent application SE02/00762 PCT. These type of lubricants include an amide component which can be represented by the following formula D-Cma-B-A-B-Cmb-D wherein D is-H, COR, CNHR, wherein R is a straight or branched aliphatic or aromatic group including 2-21 C atoms C is the group-NH (CH) nCO- B is amino or carbonyl A is alkylen having 4-16 C atoms optionally including up to 4 0 atoms ma and mb which may be the same of different is an integer 1-10 n is an integer 5-11.

Examples of preferred such amides are: CH3 (CH2) 16CO- [HN (CH2) 11CO]2-HN (CH2) 12NH- [OC (CH2) 11NH]2- OC (CH2) 16CH3 CH3 (CH2) 16CO- [HN (CH2) 11CO]2-HN (CH2) 12NH- [OC (CH2) 11NH] 3- OC (CH2) 16CH3 CH3 (CH2) 16CO- [HN (CH2) 11CO]3-HN (CH2) 12NH- [OC (CH2) 11NH] 3- OCCH2) 16CH3

CH3 (CH2) i6CO- [HN (CH2) nCO-UN (CH2) l2NH- [OC (CH2) HNHJ4- OC (CH2) 16CH3 CH3 (CH2) 16CO-[HN(CH2)11CO]4-HN(CH2)12NH-[OC(CH2)11NH]4- OC (CH2) 16CH3 CH3 (CH2) i6CO- [HN (CH2) nCO] 4-HN (CH2) i2NH- [OC (CH2) nNH] 5- OC (CH2) 16CH3 CH3 (CH2) 16CO- [HN (CH2) nCOJs-HN (CH2) i2NH- [OC (CH2) uNHJs- OC (CH2) 16CH3.

As previously mentioned the lubricant should preferably also include a compound having high affinity for oxygen. Examples of such high affinity compounds are alkali metal stearates. Other examples are stearates of alkaline earth metals. The presently most preferred compound being lithium stearate.

Selected additives According to a preferred embodiment of the invention minor amounts of selected additives may be included in the composition before the powder composition is subjected to warm compaction. These additives include fatty acids and flow enhancing agents.

The fatty acid may be selected from the group consisting of stearic acid and oleic acid. The amounts of the fatty acid in the composition according to the invention may vary between 0.005 and 0.5, preferably between 0.010 and 0.16 and most preferably between 0.015 and 0. 10% of the lubricant composition. The fatty acid has an beneficial effect on the apparent density.

The flow agent may be a material of the type described in the US patent 5 782 954 (Luk). This material is comprised of nanoparticles of various metals and their oxides such as silicon oxide. Typically, the metal and metal oxide powders have average particle sizes below about 500 nanometers. The silicon oxide flow agents are

preferably blended with the iron-based powders in an amount of from about 0.005 to about 2 percent by weight of the resultant powder composition. The preferred silicon oxide flow agents are powders or particles of silicon dioxide having an average particle size below about 40 nanometers. An example of a suitable flow agent is Aerosil.

Warm compaction The stainless steel powder including the lubricant and optional additives is subsequently compacted at an elevated temperature. The warm compaction may be performed with a preheated powder, a preheated die or both. The powder could e. g. be preheated to a temperature above 60°C preferably above 90°C. A suitable interval for the warm compaction is between 100°C and 200°C, and preferably the compaction could be performed at a temperature less than about 150°C. The compaction is performed in standard compaction equipment with compaction pressures preferably between about 400 and 2000 MPa, preferably between about 500 and 1000 MPa.

The powder mixes used for the warm compaction can be prepared mainly in two ways. An alternative is to prepare the powder mix by carefully blending the steel powder, the lubricant (s) in the form of solid particles and a flow agent to a homogenous mix. An other alternative is to make the lubricants stick (adhere) to the stainless steel powder particles. This can be done by heating a mixture including the steel powder and the lubricant (s) to a temperature above the melting point of the lubricant (s), mixing the heated mixture and cooling the obtained mixture before the flow agent is added. It can also be done by dissolving the lubricant (s) in a solvent, mixing the obtained solution with the steel powder, evaporating the solvent in order to obtain a dry mixture to which the flow agent is subsequently added.

Sintering The obtained green bodies are then sintered in the same way as the standard materials, i. e. at temperatures between 1100°C and 1400° C, the most pronounced advantages being obtained when the sintering is performed between 1250 and 1325°C. A lower sintering temperature may be used in order to reach a given sintered density by using warm compaction instead of compaction at ambient temperature. Furthermore the sintering is preferably carried out in standard non oxidative atmosphere for periods between 15 and 90, preferably between 20 and 60 minutes. The high densities according to the invention are obtained without the need of recompacting, resinte- ring and/or sintering in vacuum or reduced atmosphere.

The invention is illustrated by the following non limiting examples.

Examples Example 1 This experiment was carried out with a standard materials 434 LHC, 409 Nb, 316 LHD och 410 LHC which are all available from Hoganas, Belgium and have the compositions indicated in table 1.

Table 1 % Cr % Ni % Mo % Si % Mn % Nb % C% 0% Fe 434 L 16.9 0.1 1.0 0.76 0.16 0 0. 016 0.22 Bal 409 Nb 11.3 0.1 0 1. 0 0.1 0.5 0. 01 0.15 Bal 316 L 16.9 12.8 2.3 0.8 0.1 0 0. 02 0.36 Bal 410 L 11. 8 0. 2 0 0. 8 0. 1 0 <0. 01 0.24 Bal Compaction was made on samples of 50 g of these stainless steel powders at 600 and 800 MPa. The warm compaction was performed with a powder temperature and a die temperature of 110°C. The amounts of lubricants are disclosed in the following table 2, wherein CC (cold compaction which is the conventional type of compaction) indicates that the compaction was performed at room temperature (ambient temperature) and WC indicates warm compaction.

Table 2

Amount of Lubricant Type of Sample Powder lubricant composition compaction 434ca 434 L 0.6* a CC 434wb 434 L 0.6* b WC 409cc 409 Nb 1. 2 c CC 409wd 409 Nb 1. 2 d WC 316wd 316 L 1. 2 d WC 410wd 410 L 1. 2 d WC 410wb 410 L 1. 1 b WC 410wc 410 L 1. 1 c WC 410ec 410 Z 1. 1 c CC *not within the scope of the invention The following lubricants and lubricant compositions were used in the different samples: a Ethylene bisstearamide (EBS) b Advawax c EBS +0. 3% Li stearate d 1. 0% amide oligomer (according to the patent publication WO 02083345) + 0. 2% Li stearate, 0. 05% stearic acid, 0. 1% Aerosil The different compositions were prepared as follows: Compositions including EBS and EBS + Li stearate, respectively, were admixed before the compaction operation. The compositions including Advawax were prepared according to the method disclosed in the US patent 5 429 792 and the compositions including the amide oligomer were prepared according to the method disclosed in the patent publication WO 02083346.

The following Table 3 discloses the green densities obtained when the samples were compacted at 600 MPa and 800 MPa, respectively.

Table 3 Green density Green density Sample (g/cm3) at 600 MPa (g/cm3) at 800 MPa 434ca 6.38 6.62 434wb 6. 43* 6. 67* 409cc 6. 45 6. 68 409wd 6. 68 6. 96 #16wd 6. 73 7. 02 410wd 6. 83 7. 00 410wb 6. 78 7. 00 410wc 6. 76** 410wc 6.76** 6.99* 410cc 6.61 6.82 * problems during compaction, no sintering possible.

** somewhat reduced flow The green parts were sintered at 1160°C in hydrogen atmosphere for 45 min, after which the sintered density was measured (Table 4).

Table 4 Sintered density Sintered density Sample (g/cm3) at 600 MPa (g/cm3) at 800 MPa 409cc 6. 52 6. 77 409wd 6. 74 7. 01 316wd 6. 90 7. 19 410wd 6. 88 7.05 The results disclosed in table 5 were obtained when the sintering was performed at 1250°C.

Table 5 Sample Sintered density Sintered density (g/cm3) at 600 MPa (g/cm3) at 800 MPa 409cc 7.09 7.21 409wd 7.22 7.38 316wd 7.09 7.33 410wd 7.22 7.34 410wd 7.15 7.31 The following table 6 discloses the tensile properties after sintering at 1250°C.

Table 6 Ultimate Ultimate tensile tensile Elongation Elongation strength MPa strength MPa (%) (%) Sample 600 MPa 800 MPa 600 MPa 800 MPa 409cc 358 374 17.0 15. 9 409wd 372 408 16.6 18. 0 316wd 418 465 26.1 30. 0 410wb 361 384 16. 5 15. 9 The following table 7 discloses the impact energy after sintering at 1250°C.

Table 7 Impact energy (J) Impact energy (J) Sample 600 MPa 800 MPa 409cc 135 161 409wd 190 264 316wd 125 172 410wb 169 191