In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basic differences between metal sintering and metal melting. These two processes, which are often confused in both basic terminology and other ways, are actually different and often used for varying projects within the metal and wire forming world.
At J & J Spring Enterprises, we’re proud to offer a variety of wire forms and wire forming services, including sintering and melting when they are required. In today’s part two of our comparison between these methods, we’ll go over some of the basic comparisons between sintering and melting, then the common application areas where each are commonly utilized.
Sintering Vs. Melting
In part one, we went over the basic stages of the sintering process, which involves merging materials into what eventually becomes a solid form. As we noted, this is not the same as melting, though the two terms are often confused for one another.
The biggest difference here is the liquefication process that takes place. Within sintering, a combination of high temperatures and pressure are used to combine materials, leaving the temperature below what we’d call the liquefication threshold – the temperature at which a solid melts completely into a liquid. With the melting process, as you may have guessed, pressure is not utilized at all: Only a high enough temperature to cross this liquefication threshold.
This is important because it means sintering can be carried out at relatively low temperatures while melting cannot. For this reason, sintering tends to have a wider range of applications and uses in the field than melting, which is a bit more limited.
Common Uses of Sintering
When it comes to joining metal particles in various settings, sintering is often utilized for metals that have very high melting points. This is because the process doesn’t require actually reaching this melting point to work properly, a valuable factor that opens up many more applications.
Think of an industry like 3D printing, for instance. Many of the devices in this industry work using a sintering process – they move one layer at a time, creating custom metal forms. This process saves energy compared to melting the same metal, plus allows for more control and consistency. The same theme applies to numerous applications. In addition, sintering is often used to reduce how porous a given object’s surface is, increasing corrosion resistance and other characteristics.
Common Uses of Melting
Melting also has many uses, but it’s slightly more restricted to situations where full liquefication is needed. This is often done to reform a metal alloy entirely, merging it into a new shape or changing certain characteristics. A common area this process is found in is magnetism – magnetized steel is often melted to remove part or all of its magnetizing qualities when such a removal is needed for an application.
For more on sintering versus melting in the metal world, or to learn about any of our spring manufacturing or wire forming services, speak to the staff at J & J Spring Enterprises today.