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Sintering behaviour of cupronickel alloy powder Bala, Sathish Rao

Abstract

Studies have been made of both the solid state and supersolidus sintering characteristics of spherical cupronickel powders. Observations were made of the structural changes and shrinkage rates in specimens sintered in vacuum and in hydrogen. It was concluded that the early stage of solid state sintering (up to one hour at 1200°C) was dominated by Nabarro-Herring creep. Calculations of the stresses at necks during sintering were consistent with the proposed mechanism. No solute segregation to necks occurred during sintering, contrary to earlier observations by Kuczynski with other copper alloys. When pre-sintered cupronickel powder ( 68 μm) aggregates were heated to a temperature above the equilibrium solidus, melting was nucleated first at high angle grain boundaries (necks) and particle surfaces (voids). Most melting was intragranular, nucleated at interdendritic sites of above-average copper content. Solid-liquid equilibrium was established in less than one minute at the supersolidus temperature. The dihedral angle in the system was less than or equal to zero. Growth of solid grains during supersolidus sintering obeyed a parabolic rate law consistent with a model of growth due to phase boundary reaction-controlled solution and precipitation. Shrinkage during supersolidus sintering proceeded in several distinct stages. Prior to attainment of equilibrium; i.e. within the first minute above the solidus (Stage 1), contraction could be attributed to a melting and melt accommodation sequence, plus flattening by the the local operation of solution and precipitation. Beyond this (Stages 2 and 3) all densification was attributed to solution-precipitation, including grain growth. In the final stage of shrinkage (Stage 3) the rate of contraction was controlled by the rate of escape of gas from closed pores. Comparisons have been made between the supersolidus sintering of cupronickel and the liquid-phase sintering of iron-copper. The processes are seen to have little in common.

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