Phosphorus as sintering activator in powder metallurgical steels: characterization of the distribution and its technological impact

Krecar, Dragan; Vassileva, Vassilka; Danninger, Herbert; Hutter, Herbert
June 2004
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Jun2004, Vol. 379 Issue 4, p610
Academic Journal
Powder metallurgy is a highly developed method of manufacturing reliable ferrous parts. The main processing steps in a powder metallurgical line are pressing and sintering. Sintering can be strongly enhanced by the formation of a liquid phase during the sintering process when using phosphorus as sintering activator. In this work the distribution (effect) of phosphorus was investigated by means of secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) supported by Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) and electron probe micro analysis (EPMA). To verify the influence of the process conditions (phosphorus content, sintering atmosphere, time) on the mechanical properties, additional measurements of the microstructure (pore shape) and of impact energy were performed. Analysis of fracture surfaces was performed by means of scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The concentration of phosphorus differs in the samples from 0 to 1% (w/w). Samples with higher phosphorus concentrations (1% (w/w) and above) are also measurable by EPMA, whereas the distributions of P at technically relevant concentrations and the distribution of possible impurities are only detectable (visible) by means of SIMS. The influence of the sintering time on the phosphorus distribution will be demonstrated. In addition the grain boundary segregation of P was measured by AES at the surface of in-situ broken samples. It will be shown that the distribution of phosphorus depends also on the concentration of carbon in the samples.


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