Sintering and microstructure characteristics of 42CrMo4 steel processed by spark plasma sintering
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Rapidly solidified micron sized 42CrMo4 steel powder with a size range of 150–250 μm produced by plasma rotating electrode process was consolidated using a recently developed spark plasma sintering (SPS) process. The relationship between sintering parameters (temperature and soaking time) and microstructural properties was investigated. The effect of slow and high heating regimes on the consolidation of sintered compacts has been also investigated. Maximum relative density (99.2%) was obtained at 1000 °C, under 50 MPa pressure, with 8 min holding time and 200 °C/min heating rate. The microstructure of sintered steel was influenced by carburization occuring inside the graphite SPS process die. The diffusion of carbon produced martensite structure near the surface region and hardened the surface. This effect was investigated in detail using optical microscopy and hardness measurement. Scanning electrone microscopy was also used to examine the fracture surface of sintered compacts. High heating rate promoted the relative density at low temperature compared to high temperature.
Key wordsmetals powder processing microstructure SEM spark plasma sintering
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