Remember back in middle school in art class, when the time came to do ceramics? It usually wasn’t anything elaborate, you basically chose from which size bowl you wanted to make, small or smaller yet, but it was still exciting. You spent a day at the potter’s wheel and then turned your bowl into your teacher. He or she then told you that it was going to be put into the kiln and you would have it back in a few days. I bet you never knew that once it went into the kiln, your clay would become sintered. “Sintering is a method for creating objects from powders, including metal and ceramic powders.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sintering.
The science of sintering has been gaining popularity in the past 100 years, but even more rapidly in the last 50 years. Whether you are using clay or powder metal, it is amazing to see what can be made simply by heating these compounds. Manufacturers have found that by sintering their metals from powder, this has a number of benefits to their company.
The first benefit is cost. When sintering is performed within a controlled atmosphere, waste is basically eliminated. Every single grain of powder is utilized in the formation of the product.
Another benefit is the purity of the metals. With the high temperatures used, upwards of 2300 degrees Fahrenheit, most adhesives and other foreign substances are disintegrated. In addition, another benefit of the controlled atmosphere is less chance of contamination.
Sintering also reduces time wasted on having to assemble large pieces of equipment. Rather than having to use traditional methods of manufacturing, when you use powdered metals there are less parts and assemblies to put together.
When you are going through your school years, sometimes it is difficult to even begin to imagine that the processes we go through will be used in our adult years. We often found ourselves saying, “when am I ever going to need this?” , usually in reference to some type of math, but also in reference to other things as well.