Material Selection

Material selection is a vital part of the design process, and metal powders are available for manufacturing a wide range of products through the powder metallurgy (PM) process.

Generally, powder mixes for compacting are prepared from three powder types.

  1. The first type is admixed powder, in which elemental alloying powders (such as copper, nickel, graphite, and tin) are added to base element powders (such as iron or copper).
  2. The second type is partially alloyed powder, composed of two or more elements with alloying additives that are diffusion-bonded to the base powder during the powder manufacturing process. These powders produce a heterogeneous microstructure with good dimensional control and excellent as-sintered mechanical properties.
  3. The third type is prealloyed powders, which are atomized from alloyed furnace melts such that each powder particle has the same nominal composition throughout. Prealloyed powders yield homogeneous phase constituents in the microstructure.

A “Material Choices with Powder Metallurgy” white paper is also available for additional information; however, for an in-depth response to your material selection questions, reach out to a PM parts fabricator from the Find a Fabricator directory.

Case Studies

Aluminum Heat Sink

This aluminum PM heat sink it used in a high-volume global automotive stereo application. The high-material ductility of the special aluminum alloy allowed for a more cost effect component than die casting.

aluminum heat sink
2016 Award of Distinction: Aluminum Heat Sink

Nozzle Assembly

This three-piece nozzle assembly goes into high-end sound-isolating earphones that enable user customizable frequency responses. The challenge in this component derives from meeting the cost demands of the highly competitive professional-audio market while maintaining a cosmetically perfect surface with a clear exterior.

Nozzle Assembly
Nozzle Assembly

For a thorough review of standards for the design and materials engineer, read MPIF Standard 35.

Additionally, the Global Powder Metallurgy Property Database provides material property information covering a wide range of PM material systems.

For a brief overview showing the scope of conventional materials, take a look at these tables:

Ferrous Structural Parts

Ferrous Structural Parts

Soft Magnetic Parts

Soft Magnetic Parts

Nonferrous Parts

Nonferrous Parts

Self-Lubricating Parts
Self-Lubricating Bearings