Sintered bronze parts are rigid, temperature resistant and high strength parts formed through the process of sintering, or powder metallurgy. Used in applications for shock absorbers, home appliances, automobiles and as well as most commonly as bearings or bushings, sintered bronze parts can be produced in large quantities with consistent properties and sizes. Powder metallurgy uses a number of different metals including aluminum, copper, nickel, brass, steel, stainless steel, nickel and titanium in the fabrication of metal powder parts.
Bronze is an ideal material choice for the process of sintering as it is a non-ferrous metal is commonly used as a conductive material and its porosity allows lubricants, or air and liquids to pass through it. Through an effective sintering process, the properties of material strength, translucency and thermal conductivity are enhanced and because it is a simple process, most of the other physical properties of the metal are retained.
Sintered bronze parts are an economical manufacturing option, especially for large quantities of products as sintered metal parts can be fabricated repeatedly with close tolerances. The porosity of the parts can also be adjusted according to the intended application of the part and the desired level of flow.
The process of powder metallurgy has three basic steps. First, the metal, in this case, bronze or bronze alloy, is made into a powdered form. This can be achieved by a number of methods including grinding, chemical decomposition and the most common atomization. The metallic powder is then poured into a die or mold cavity and compacted under great pressure in order to adhere the particles. This occurs at room temperature. The metal part is then inserted into a furnace where the extreme heat fuses the metal particles together to form a rigid, high strength and porous component. This part of the process is called sintering.
The resulting porosity of the sintered parts makes powder metal products especially useful in lubricating applications and as a result, bearings and wear plates are often fabricated from sintered bronze. These porous components are also commonly used to create filtration materials, especially for high temperature applications such as those in food or pharmaceutical industries. Bronze powder can also be used to coat the surfaces of wood, plaster, plastic and other metals in order to create a bronze-like finish. In cosmetics such as eye shadows or liners, finely powdered bronze is used to create a shiny appearance.