The effect of microwave energy on sintering of an austenitic stainless steel reinforced with boron carbide
Keywords:Microwave sintering; AISI 316L; B4C; steel making
Microwave heating has emerged as an alternative to traditional sintering methods because it consumes less energy and requires shorter processing times. The use of microwave energy in the processing of austenitic stainless steel AISI 316L reinforced with dispersed boron carbide particles was investigated in this study. Different processing parameters were used to investigate the effect of sintering time and temperature, as well as the weight percentage of the ceramic added to the steel matrix, on the final material properties. The compressibility curve, elastic relaxation, and geometric density of green compacts were used to investigate their physical properties. The Archimedes method was used to determine density, and the statistical treatment of analysis of variance was used to determine porosity. Images obtained using optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy revealed the formation of a second phase in different volumes. The results showed that 1100 °C and a 15-minute plateau were sufficient to sinter the material. AISI 316L samples containing 3 wt.% boron carbide demonstrated greater volumetric formation of secondary phases, resulting in a significant increase in the hardness of the austenitic composite developed.
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