The use of lubricants in iron powder metallurgy

  • Melvyn Ward

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This investigation has been concerned with the behaviour of solid internal lubricant during mixing, compaction, ejection, dewaxing and sintering of iron powder compacts.
    Zinc stearate (0.01%-4.0%) was added to irregular iron powder by admixing or precipitation from solution. Pressure/density relationships, determined by continuous compaction, and loose packed densities were used to show that small additions of zinc stearate reduced interparticle friction during loose packing and at low compaction pressures. Large additions decreased particle/die-wall friction during compaction and ejection but also caused compaction inhibition.
    Transverse rupture strengths were determined on compacts containing various stearate based lubricants and it was found that green strength was reduced by the interposition of a thin lubricant layer within inter~particle contacts. Only materials much finer than the iron powder respectively) were able to form such layers.
    Investigations were undertaken to determine the effect of the decomposition of these lubricants on the development of mechanical properties in dewaxed or sintered compacts. Physical and chemical influences on tensile strength were observed. Decomposition of lubricants was associated with reductions of strength caused by the physical effects of pressure increases and removal of lubricant from interparticle contacts. There were also chemical effects associated with the influence of gaseous decomposition products and solid residues on sintering mechanisms.
    Thermogravimetry was used to study the decomposition behaviour of various lubricants as free compounds and within compacts. The influence of process variables such as atmosphere type, flow-rate and compact density
    were investigated. In a reducing atmosphere the decomposition of these
    lubricants was characterised by two stages. The first involved the rapid
    decomposition of the hydrocarbon radical. The second, higher temperature,
    reactions depended on lubricant type and involved solid residues. The
    removal of lubricant could also markedly affect dimensional change.
    Date of AwardApr 1977
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorJ.C. Billington (Supervisor)


    • lubricants
    • iron powder metallurgy

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