Low-pressure molding methods can currently use a number of metal powders such as stainless steels, tool steels, composites, and superalloys. In cases where the metal surface is reactive toward the binder components (e.g., iron), a passivating coating using silanes has been applied prior to the mixing of the feedstock (Ref 27). Depending on the extent of automation, LPM techniques are ideally suited for situations involving low- to intermediate-volume runs (1 to 10,000). The rapid production of tooling is a very important application. Figure 9 shows an example of P/M tooling produced by LPM technology. Applications for LPM have been demonstrated in traditional P/M areas such as the aerospace, automotive, microelectronics, biomedical, and consumer industries.

Fig. 9 An example of rapid tooling produced by LPM. Courtesy of J.A. Thomas, The Pennsylvania State University

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