Saturday, November 28, 2020

 New Lessons Regarding Lubrication and Binding of Alloy Sub-Micron Powders

    It has been awhile since I have had the urge to write an article on metallurgy. Perhaps it was the pandemic or even though we are entering a space age era, a lack of going forward during this period of time. Actually advanced manufacturing has overwhelmed the technical realm and I am not the biggest fan of advanced manufacturing, not that I am not a believer of advancement, but I am resistant of letting computers do it for us.

    For instance, there is much publicity of advancements that are occurring to lighten materials and to introduce new lighter materials. This occurs through mostly two dimensional design, but more ideally through complex three dimensional design, with precision  possible only using a computer.

    Yes there are advantages to this, as well as disadvantages. One advantage is that it makes possible design of new alloys without conducting as much lengthy and costly experimentation. However, all of this is dependent on the experience of the individual that is operating the computer. However, if done correctly and with execution of essential experimental background work, then strength and toughness may be increased. In magnetic materials core loss and design of magnetic components can be maximized. Yes, even corrosion, the most expensive problem in modern society, can be reduced.. So yes, there are benefits, but dangers as well.

    The reason for all of this to happen is because in most advanced manufacturing processes where laser or electron beam technology is employed for fusing or melting the powder, a fine layer of sub-micron powder is distributed throughout the surface  of the area to be built.Unfortunately, fine sub-micron powders do not flow well. Therefore a binder is required to increase their size and agglomerate them into larger composite spheres to satisfy this requirement. This brings me back 40 years ago when I was in charge of a research section at Hoeganaes Corp. One of my projects was to develop a lubricant that would improve the flow of  stainless steel powders.These powders were larger, but not quite speroidal in shape. We at that time worked with a Lanza powder that permited us to reduce the quantity of lubricant admixed to 0.5 %. 

        Now MagnaTech is currently working to develop a new refractory metal powder that is manufactured as sub-micron powder and the additives are also sub-micron in size. Therefore the requirement is to find an additive that not only agglomerates these powders but also  provides sufficient lubrication to permit flow within a restricted die cavity. Therefore, MagnaTech also finds itself into development of lubricants with good binding properties.Right now there are a few other small companies that are starting to enter this field too If these new advanced manufacturing processes are to succeed,  a  free-flowing powder must be developed that will bind the sub-micron particles into a powder sufficiently large and ideally spherical to provide the uniform layers that will be fused or melted incrementally that will eventually build to form a solid shape of required dimensions MagnaTech sees a niche for itself in development of new binder /lubricants to resolve one of the problems currently causing problems in some advanced manufacturing processes.

Monday, April 27, 2020

New Nitrogen and Oxygen Testing Capability at MagnaTech

It has been a couple of months now since my last correspondence. At that time most of the activity in the materials world was concentrated on developments in new technology in advanced manufacturing to accelerate the electric powered automobile and subsequently over the road vehicles and advanced high altitude, high speed aircraft.
It is amazing how one very little molecule can put most of this development on back burner and now concentrate on a cure or a vaccine to counteract the effects of the Corona virus.All of a sudden the concern for the environment returns to the back burner  because now there is an oversupply of fuel and emissions from operating vehicles has decreased because of a large portion of the population restricted to the home, for the most part. However, the word is back burner and that is a dormant stage, ready to return as the times change and the threat of the consequences of the Corona virus disappears..
How does all of this affect the operation of MagnaTech P/M Labs? MagnaTech was conceived with the   objective  to do research and consult to improve powder metallurgy processes or materials, concentrating in development of powder metallurgy materials and processes oriented toward stainless steels, low alloy steels and their processes and soft magnetic materials and their processes. To permit development, MagnaTech equipped a laboratory that would assist in measurement of properties of new materials developed or improvement in properties resulting from improvement in processing conditions. This laboratory has now been in existence for 36 years. The equipment contained in the laboratory has been either purchased or constructed to measure properties that most other test laboratories do not measure. All equipment is operated and run with test standards and procedures established by ASTM International.
The purpose of this test equipment is to permit MagnaTech to develop material and processes for other companies that do not have the resources to do the development or the work required to advance their marketing or to improve internal processing processes to permit the company to either introduce new products or to improve the properties of the parts or powders that they manufacture.
Since one facet of MagnaTech was to advance developments in magnetic materials and performance, it is equipped to assist in the development in performance of magnetic materials. One of the requirements for the improved performance of soft magnetic materials includes reduced contamination from interstitial elements such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and sulfur. MagnaTech therefore purchased gas analyzers to permit the measurment of theses interstitials to improve soft magnetic materials.More recently there has been increased need to determine the nitrogen content within stainless steels and high temperature aerospace materials.The equipment within the MagnaTech Laboratory is capable of making these measurements. Test results are backed up by running standards certified by NIST and conducting measurements according to ASTM International Standards. MagnaTech normally reports results from material received for testing within three days MagnaTech has just updated these analyzers and is looking for new business. If you require these kind of data, MagnaTech assures repeatability and precision of data with fast response to your needs. Should you be interested in these MagnaTech services please contact Ken Moyer at 856-786-9061 or by e mail at MagnaTech is a small veternan operated company.