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Powder metallurgyis the process of blending fine powdered materials, pressing them into a desired shape or form (compacting), and then heating the compressed material in a controlled atmosphere to bond the material (sintering). The powder metallurgy process generally consists of four basic steps: powder manufacture, powder blending, compacting, and sintering. Compacting is generally performed at room temperature, and the elevated-temperature process of sintering is usually conducted at atmospheric pressure. Optional secondary processing often follows to obtain special properties or enhanced precision.
Two main techniques used to form and consolidate the powder are sinteringand metal injection molding. Recent developments have made it possible to use rapid manufacturingtechniques which use the metal powder for the products. Because with this technique the powder is melted and not sintered, better mechanical strength can be accomplished.