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Particulate Materials

The term “powder metallurgy” is no longer adequately broad to encompass the evolved state of our present-day technology. To begin with, today’s advanced materials are seldom made of metals and metallic alloys alone, often incorporating ceramics, ceramic fibers, and intermetallic compounds. What’s more, some materials, such as whisker-reinforced ceramic matrix composites or oxide dispersion-strengthened intermetallic compounds, do not contain any metals or alloys.

Even the word “powder” does not accurately capture the full diversity of forms that today’s advanced materials can take. What used to be limited to fine spherical or somewhat irregularly shaped particles has become an array of material shapes that includes various forms of fibers and whiskers that often have aspect ratios as high as 1,000.

Thus, the term “particulate materials” has come to be used to embrace the full range of materials the industry uses to produce complex components with special properties for such high-value applications as medical, electronics, and consumer products.

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