Net-Shape Manufacturing of Micro Porous Metal Components by Powder Injection Molding
A novel production method for porous metal components has been developed by applying powder space holder (PSH) method to metal powder injection molding (MIM) process. The PSH-MIM method has an industrial competitive advantage that is capable of net-shape manufacturing the micro-sized porous metal products with complicated shapes and controlled porosity and pore size. In this study, the small impeller with homogeneous micro-porous structure was manufactured by the PSH-MIM method using porous compounds composed of fine stainless steel 316L powder and polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) particle. The effects of combinations in size and fraction of PMMA particle on dimensional tolerance and variation of sintered porous specimens were investigated. It was concluded that the PSH-MIM method could manufacture commercially micro-porous metal components with high dimensional accuracy.