Cosintering of powder injection molding parts made from ultrafine WC-Co and 316L stainless steel powders for fabrication of novel composite structures
Sintering response and phase formation during sintering of WC-Co/316L stainless steel composites produced by assembling of powder injection molding (PIM) parts were studied. It is shown that during cosintering a significant mismatch strain (>4 pet) is developed in the temperature range of 1080 degr C to 1350 degr C. This mismatch strain induces biaxial stresses at the interface, leading to interface delamination. Experimental results revealed that sintering at a heating rate of 20 K/min could be used to decrease the mismatch strain to <2 pct. Meanwhile, WC is decomposed at the contact area and the diffusion of C and Co into the iron lattice results in the formation of a liquid and MC and M6C carbides at 1220 degr C. Spreading of the liquid accelerates the reaction, affecting the dimensional stability of the PIM parts. To prevent the reaction, surface oxidation of the cemented carbide followed by hydrogen reduction during sintering was examined. Although the amount of mismatch strain increased, formation of a metallic interface consisting of a W-Co alloy (45 to 50 at. pct Co) and a Co-rich iron alloy (18 at. pct Co) prevented the decomposition of WC and melt formation. It is also shown that the deposition of a thin Ni layer after thermal debinding decreases the mismatch stresses through melt formation, although interlayer diffusion causes pore-band formation close to the steel part.