Research Projects

Micro PIM Using Nano-sized Zirconia Powder

This project studies the micro Powder Injection Moulding (m-PIM) using nano-sized Y-TZP. The effect of the particle size on the preparation of the feedstock and new binders formulation. Pre-treatment of nano-sized powders, debinding and sintering parameters and microstructures are studied. The effects of process parameters and additives on the grain size and grain growth are evaluated. With a finer initial particle size, Powder Injection Moulding can produce micron components or components with microns features which could not be possibly made using microns size powders. Moreover, the final microstructures improve the grain size dependant properties such as higher yield strength.



Contact PersonChua Beng Wah(bwchua@SIMTech.a-star.edu.sg)
SolutionPre-heat treatment to 150ºC in vacuum can significantly reduce the agglomerates in nano-sized powder. Using the agglomeration-free nano-sized powder, micro component can be powder injection moulded for miniaturisation industries.
BenefitsAgglomerations of the nano-sized powders present a challenge to prepare a homogeneous PIM feedstock. In this study, several methods have been found to mix the nano-sized powders with an appropriate binder system to form a uniform feedstock. Additives are also found to prevent the grain from growing larger. Micron sized features of several microns have been formed. Porosity level has been reduced. Sintering parameters such as high temperature initiating and lower temperature holding, two stages of sintering etc have been studied and found effective in reducing the porosity level and controlling final grain size.
Patents / Awards / Achievements / DifferentiationAgglomerations of the nano-sized powders present a challenge to prepare a homogeneous PIM feedstock. In this study, several methods have been found to mix the nano-sized powders with an appropriate binder system to form a uniform feedstock. Additives are also found to prevent the grain from growing larger. Micron sized features of several microns have been formed. Porosity level has been reduced. Sintering parameters such as high temperature initiating and lower temperature holding, two stages of sintering etc have been studied and found effective in reducing the porosity level and controlling final grain size.
ApplicationsSo far, nano-sized zirconia, alumina, and their mixture with small amount of additives have been studied and the components formed could be used for MEMS, micromechanical device and watch components etc. applications.

Problems Addressed

Agglomeration is the major problem for nano-sized powder. Sintering of nano-sized powder without proper de-agglomeration will cause final product to be unusable with severe defects.