(19)
(11)EP 4 082 692 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
02.11.2022 Bulletin 2022/44

(21)Application number: 22169809.5

(22)Date of filing:  25.04.2022
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B22F 1/00(2022.01)
C22C 33/02(2006.01)
C22C 38/24(2006.01)
C22C 38/36(2006.01)
B22F 1/142(2022.01)
C22C 38/22(2006.01)
C22C 38/30(2006.01)
(52)Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC):
C22C 33/0285; C22C 33/0242; B22F 1/09; B22F 1/142; C22C 38/22; C22C 38/24; C22C 38/30; C22C 38/36
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(30)Priority: 29.04.2021 US 202117243821

(71)Applicant: L.E. Jones Company
Menominee, MI 49858 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • QIAO, Cong Yue
    Menominee, MI 49858 (US)
  • DOLL, David M.
    Fort Worth, TX 76126 (US)

(74)Representative: Morf, Jan Stefan et al
Abitz & Partner Patentanwälte mbB Arabellastrasse 17
81925 München
81925 München (DE)

  


(54)SINTERED VALVE SEAT INSERT AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURE THEREOF


(57) A powder admixture useful for making a sintered valve seat insert includes a first iron-base powder and second iron-base powder wherein the first iron-base powder has a higher hardness than the second iron-base powder, the first iron-base powder including, in weight percent, 1-2% C, 10-25% Cr, 5-20% Mo, 15-25% Co, and 30-60 wt. % Fe, and the second iron-base powder including, in weight %, 1-1.5% C, 3-15% Cr, 5-7% Mo, 3-6% W, 1-1.7%V, and 60-85% Fe. The powder admixture can be sintered to form a sintered valve seat insert optionally infiltrated with copper.




Description

Background



[0001] Powder metallurgy (PM) valve seat insert (VSI) materials continuously face significant challenges for medium to heavy duty internal combustion (IC) engine VSI applications in terms of wear resistance, thermal shock resistance, fatigue cracking resistance, corrosion resistance, and insert retention capability. Iron-based sintered valve seat inserts typically have additions of intermetallic and/or silicide hard particles. Obtaining a uniform distribution of such hard particles can be difficult to achieve and the final product may have less than optimal properties due to the presence of such hard particles. For example, two commercial PM VSI materials, AP grade and S grade PM materials include high hardness particles such as tribaloy powder and VCN. One of them was made with double pressing and double sintering (2P2S) process while the other was made with single sintering plus copper infiltration process and; the one with 2P2S process significant overperformed the one made with sintering plus copper infiltrated process in multiple engine tests.

[0002] Copper infiltration can fill PM porosity and thus improve wear resistance when a VSI service temperature is not very high. Copper/copper alloy possess low melting temperature, low strength, and high affinity to many other metals/alloys compared to common iron-, nickel-, or cobalt-based alloys. Thus, at elevated temperature, a larger amount of copper infiltration can augment adhesive wear propensity and potentially degrade PM VSI material performance. For the same reason, infiltration copper formed with capillary reaction in thin waving sheet formation can effectively benefit wear resistance contrasted to chunky copper formation in a part through gravitational copper-fill.

[0003] Contemporary IC engine design must take into account high service temperature and pressure environments. Copper infiltrated VSI will increase heat transfer rate to carry out exhaust heat from valve to engine counterbore which lessens the temperature gradient in radial orientation for a VSI. Therefore, the maximum temperature in the contact surface between VSI OD and counterbore for a copper infiltrated VSI is higher than for a non-copper infiltrated VSI. As a result, a VSI with copper infiltration can possess a lower retention capability than non-copper-infiltrated version making it more sensitive to insert drop-out. The effect of copper infiltration on part retention capability is related to form and amount of copper in a PM VSI.

[0004] The most widely used PM bonding mechanism is diffusion bonding through a sintering process. The sintering process affects the bonding strength among neighboring powders in a PM material thus, has a significant effect on the material wear resistance. Double pressing and double sintering (2P2S) can increase the density and powder bonding strength. However, 2P2S will not able to alter uniformity of powder distribution along with the evident penalty of higher process cost. Therefore, there is a need for a desired bonding strength concept that should start with powder admix design, compacting condition, and adequate sintering parameters.

Summary



[0005] In an embodiment, a powder admixture useful for making a sintered valve seat insert comprises a first iron-base powder and second iron-base powder wherein the first iron-base powder has a higher hardness than the second iron-base powder, the first iron-base powder including, in weight percent, 1-2% C, 10-25% Cr, 5-20% Mo, 15-25% Co, and 30-60 wt. % Fe, and the second iron-base powder including, in weight %, 1-1.5% C, 3-15% Cr, 5-7% Mo, 3-6% W, 1-1.7%V, and 60-85% Fe.

[0006] According to various options, (a) the first iron-base powder has a microstructure of interdendritic and intradendritic solidification substructures with up to 25% sigma phase; (b) the powder admixture further includes up to 20% Fe powder; (c) the powder admixture includes up to 3% Cu powder; (d) the powder admixture includes up to 2% MnS powder; (e) the powder admixture includes up to 2% die lubricant; (f) the first iron-base powder includes up to 1% Mn, up to 1% Si, up to 5% Ni, up to 5% W, up to 2% V, up to 0.5% B, up to 0.1% P, up to 0.1% S, up to 0.5% N, and up to 5% Nb; (g) the second iron-base powder includes up to 1% Mn, up to 1% Si, and is optionally Ni-free, optionally Co-free, and optionally Nb-free; (h) the first iron-based powder is present in an amount of 40-60 wt. % and the second iron-based powder is present in an amount of 20-40 wt. %; (i) the powder admixture includes Fe powder, Cu powder and MnS powder, the first iron-based powder is present in an amount of 40-60 wt. %, the second iron-based powder is present in an amount of 20-40 wt. %, the Fe powder is present in an amount of 15-20 wt. %, the Cu powder is present in an amount of 1-3%, and the MnS powder is present in an amount of 0.1-1 wt. %; (j) the powder admixture is free of additive silicide, carbide, nitride, carbonitride and intermetallic hard particle powders; (k) the first iron-base powder has a microstructure consisting of 40-60 vol. % interdendritic and 60-40 vol. % intradendritic regions; and/or (l) the powder admixture is free of Co-base, Mo-base, or other hard particle powders having a hardness greater than the hardness of the first iron-base powder.

[0007] The powder admixture can be used to manufacture a sintered valve seat inert wherein the powder admixture has been compacted in the shape of a valve seat insert, sintered to form a sintered powder admixture optionally infiltrated with copper.

[0008] According to various options, (a) the sintered powder admixture has a density of at least 7.5 g/cm3; (b) the first iron-base powder has a microstructure consisting of 40-60 vol. % interdendritic and 60-40 vol. % intradendritic regions; (c) the sintered admixture is free of hard particles having a hardness greater than the hardness of the first iron-base powder; (d) the sintered admixture is free of additive silicide, carbide, nitride, carbonitride, Mo-base, Co-base or intermetallic hard particle powders; (e) the first iron-based powder is present in an amount of 40-60 wt. %, the second iron-based powder is present in an amount of 20-40 wt. %, and Fe powder is present in an amount of 15-20 wt. %; and/or (f) the first iron-based powder is present in an amount of 40-60 wt. %, the second iron-based powder is present in an amount of 20-40 wt. %, Fe powder is present in an amount of 15-20 wt. % and copper is present in an amount of 10-15 wt. %.

[0009] The powder admixture of the subject invention is useful for making a sintered valve seat insert. Preferably, the powder admixture consists essentially of, more preferably consists of, a first iron-base powder, a second iron-base powder and optional additives wherein the first iron-base powder has a higher hardness than the second iron-base powder. The first iron-base powder preferably consists essentially of, more preferably consists of, in weight percent, 1-2% C, 10-25% Cr, 5-20% Mo, 15-25% Co, up to 5% W, up to 2% V, up to 1% Mn, up to 1% Si, up to 5% Ni, up to 0.5% B, up to 0.1% P, up to 0.1% S, up to 0.5% N, up to 5% Nb, and 30-60 wt. % Fe. The second iron-base powder preferably consists essentially of, more preferably consists of, in weight %, 1-1.5% C, 3-15% Cr, 5-7% Mo, 3-6% W, 1-1.7%V, up to 1% Mn, up to 1% Si, and 60-85% Fe. The optional additives of the powder admixture include, preferably consists essentially of, more preferably consists of, up to 20% Fe powder, up to 3% Cu powder, up to 2% MnS powder, and up to 2% die lubricant. Preferably, the above-described preferred first iron-base powder is combined with the above-described preferred second iron-base powder and optionally the optional additives. More preferably, the above-described more preferred first iron-base powder is combined with the above-described more preferred second iron-base powder and optionally the optional additives.

[0010] According to various embodiments, (a) the first iron-base powder has a microstructure of interdendritic and intradendritic phases with up to 25% sigma phase, (b) the second iron-base powder is Ni-free, (c) the second iron-base powder is Co-free and/or Nb-free, (d) the powder admixture includes Fe powder, Cu powder and MnS powder, the first iron-based powder is present in an amount of 40-60 wt. %, the second iron-based powder is present in an amount of 20-40 wt. %, the Fe powder is present in an amount of 15-20 wt. %, the Cu powder is present in an amount of 1-3%, and the MnS powder is present in an amount of 0.1-1 wt. %, (e) the powder admixture is free of silicide, carbide, nitride, carbonitride and intermetallic hard powder particles, (f) the first iron-base powder has a microstructure consisting of 40-60 vol. % interdendritic and 60-40 vol. % intradendritic regions, and/or (g) the powder admixture is free of Co-base, Mo-base, or other hard particle powders having a hardness greater than the hardness of the first iron-base powder.

[0011] A sintered valve seat inert can be made from the powder admixture by compacting the powder admixture in the shape of a valve seat insert and sintering the compacted admixture to form a sintered powder admixture optionally infiltrated with copper. According to various embodiments, (a) the sintered powder admixture has a density of at least 7.5 g/cm3, (b) the first iron-base powder has a microstructure that consists of 40-60 vol. % interdendritic and 60-40 vol. % intradendritic regions, (c) the sintered admixture is free of hard particle powders having a hardness greater than the hardness of the first iron-base powder, (d) the sintered admixture is free of additive silicide, carbide, nitride, carbonitride, Mo-base, Co-base or intermetallic hard particle powders, and/or (e) the first iron-based powder is present in an amount of 40-60 wt. %, the second iron-based powder is present in an amount of 20-40 wt. %, and the Fe powder is present in an amount of 15-20 wt. % or (f) the sintered admixture is infiltrated with copper, the first iron-based powder is present in an amount of 40-60 wt. %, the second iron-based powder is present in an amount of 20-40 wt. %, the Fe powder is present in an amount of 15-20 wt. % and the copper is present in an amount of 10-15 wt. %.

[0012] A method of manufacturing the sintered valve seat insert can comprise forming an admixture by mixing the first iron-based powder with the second iron-based powder, compacting the admixture, and sintering the admixture. According to various embodiments, (a) the sintering comprises preheating the powder admixture at 560°C, 850°C, and 950°C for 16 minutes followed by 1120°C sintering for 48 minutes, (b) the sintering comprises a pressing and sintering process; (c) the method further comprising subjecting the sintered valve seat insert to cryogenic treatment in liquid nitrogen; (d) the method further comprising subjecting the sintered valve seat insert to a steam treatment; and/or (e) the sintering is carried out while infiltrating the admixture with copper.

[0013] A method of manufacturing the sintered valve seat insert can comprise forming an admixture by mixing the first iron-based powder with the second iron-based powder, compacting the admixture, and sintering the admixture.

[0014] According to various options, (a) the sintering comprises preheating the powder admixture at 560°C, 850°C, and 950°C for 5-20 minutes followed by 1120°C sintering for 40-60 minutes; (b) the sintering comprises a double pressing and double sintering process; (c) subjecting the sintered valve seat insert to cryogenic treatment in liquid nitrogen; (d) subjecting the sintered valve seat insert to a steam treatment; and/or (e) the sintering is carried out while infiltrating the admixture with copper.

Brief Description of the Drawings



[0015] 

Figure 1 shows the general microstructural morphology of a backscattered electron image of a sintered admixture of iron base powders (JP513).

Figure 2 depicts an enlarged image of the area marked in Figure 1.

Figure 3 shows an EDS analysis of area marked as A in Figure 2.

Figure 4 shows an EDS analysis of area marked as B in Figure 2.

Figure 5 shows an EDS analysis of area marked as C in Figure 2.

Figure 6 shows an EDS analysis of area marked as D in Figure 2.

Figure 7 shows an EDS analysis of area marked as E in Figure 2.

Figure 8 shows an EDS analysis of a general area reflecting bulk composition of JP513.

Figure 9 is a graph of apparent bulk hardness as a function of aging time at 1000°F for six types of samples evaluated.


Detailed Description



[0016] Disclosed herein is a PM VSI material (referred to herein as "JP513") which eliminates the need to include hard intermetallic/silicide hard particles by using an admixture of two iron-base powders. JP513 includes two iron-base powders which can be pressed and sintered to form valve seat inserts suitable for medium- and heavy-duty engine applications. An SEM/EDS assisted metallographic investigation reveals that JP513 possesses desired bonding between the two iron-base powders, binders, and additive powders.

[0017] One of the key factors affecting PM VSI performance is compact density. Performance issues relating to wear resistance, cracking resistance, and retention capability of a PM VSI can be traced to the compact density/density distribution which is associated with powder admixing process, powder shape, uniformity and size distribution of the powders. Therefore, it is desirable to achieve sound density and desired density distribution for a heavy-duty PM material design and manufacturing. Some of the latest PM VSI materials contain high amounts of hard particles possessing good wear resistance such as VCN. However, if a compact density or/and density distribution is not achieved, the hard particles cannot play a role to enhance the PM materials strength as intended.

[0018] For instance, two commercial PM VSI materials, AP grade and S grade, are made with inclusion of high hardness particles such as VCN. One of them was made with a double pressing, double sintering (2P2S) process while the other was made with single sintering plus copper infiltration process. The one made with the 2P2S process significantly over performed the one made with the sintering plus copper infiltrated process in multiple engine tests.

[0019] Copper infiltration can fill PM porosity thus improve wear resistance when a VSI service temperature is not very high. Copper and copper alloys typically have a relatively low melting temperature, low strength, and high affinity to many other metals/alloys. Thus, such copper or copper alloys can affect adhesive wear propensity and have a significant impact on PM VSI material performance. For the same reason, infiltration copper formed with capillary reaction in thin waving sheet formation can effectively benefit wear resistance as compared to chunky copper formation in a part through gravitational copper-fill.

[0020] Contemporary IC engine design requires consideration of high service temperature and pressure. A copper infiltrated VSI will increase the heat transfer rate to carry out exhaust heat from valve to engine counterbore which lessens the temperature gradient in radial orientation for a VSI. Therefore, the maximum temperature on the contact surfaces between VSI OD and engine cylinder head counterbore for a copper infiltrated VSI is higher than a non-copper infiltrated version an engine. As a result, a VSI with copper infiltration can possess a lower retention capability than non-copper-infiltrated version and is more sensitive to insert drop-out. The effect of copper infiltration on part retention capability is related to form and amount of copper in a PM VSI.

[0021] The most widely used PM powder bonding mechanism is diffusion bonding through a sintering process. The sintering process affects the bonding strength among neighboring powders in a PM material thus, has a significant effect on the material wear resistance. Double pressing and double sintering (2P2S) can increase the density and powder bonding strength. However, 2P2S will not be able to alter uniformity of powder distribution along with the evident penalty of higher process cost. Therefore, a desired bonding strength should start with powder admix design, compacting condition, and adequate sintering parameters.

[0022] Additive copper powder can be used to create transient liquid phase formation during a sintering process to diffuse into the iron and iron-base powders during the initial stage of sintering process. The melting point of copper is 1083°C which is lower than typical sintering temperatures (e.g., 1120°C). At the initial sintering process, the iron-base powders possess high copper solubility. The level and amount of copper diffusion in the iron-base powders is related to sintering temperature and duration. The copper diffusion into the iron-base powders can assist bonding between the iron-base powders and the other additive powders, i.e. additive copper can effectively assist bonding formation between the iron-base powders and other additive powders through a transient liquid phase sintering process. In addition, the iron-base powders with diffusion copper augment the hardenability of the sintered material. When the copper diffusion process stops, any remaining copper liquid can fill the gaps formed between compacted powders via a process that thermodynamically minimizes the free enthalpy of interfaces. Combined with properly designed compact density and density distribution, the admixed copper powder approach can reduce the amount of PM porosities and form stronger bonding compared to the effect from infiltrated copper.

[0023] In JP513, up to 20 wt. % (e.g., 15-20 wt. %, 16-19 wt. %, 17-18 wt. %) pure iron powder is included as a binder powder for which copper's solubility is up to 10 wt.%. The copper can diffuse into the iron powder and thereby increase the strength of pure iron powder to minimize strength variation between powders and powder boundaries.

[0024] Steam treatment can be a very cost-effective process for iron-based powder materials used in VSI non-copper infiltration applications. Like the copper infiltration process, the optimal effect to a PM VSI material of a steam treatment process is directly related to the PM apparent density, specifically the PM porosity size, shape, and distribution. The iron oxides formed during steam treatment can benefit the PM wear performance. However, a significant amount of iron oxide formation can degrade the bonding formed between powder particles.

[0025] The JP513 powder admixture can include 40-60 wt. % (e.g., 45-55 wt. %, 48-52 wt. %, 50 wt. %) of a first iron-base powder and 20-40 wt. % (e.g., 25-35 wt. %, 28-32 wt. %, 30 wt. %) of a second iron-base powder. Both of the iron-base powders can have the same particle size range but differ in compositions. The first iron-base powder can include, in weight (wt.) %, 1-2% C, 10-25% Cr, 5-20% Mo, 15-25% Co and 30-60% Fe whereas the second iron-base powder can include 1-1.5% C, 3-15% Cr, 5-7% Mo, 3-6% W, 1-1.7% V and 60-85% Fe. The JP513 powder admixture can also include up to 20% pure Fe, up to 3% Cu powder, a machinability enhancing additive such as MnS powder and a die lubricant such as Zn stearate. As an example, the admixture can include 50% of the first iron-base powder, 30% of the second iron-base powder, 17% of the pure Fe powder, 2% Cu powder, 0.5% MnS powder and 0.5% die lubricant.

[0026] The first iron-base powder can be an atomized powder which has been annealed and preferably does not go through significant phase transformation after sintering. However, the first iron-base powder may undergo some bainitic phase transformation during cooling down period after sintering process (e.g., 1120°C sintering) which starts at about 235°C and is completed at about 165°C within a cooling rate between 1°C/min through 6°C/min. The second iron-base powder preferably goes through a martensitic phase transformation during cooling down period from a sintering process (e.g., 1120°C sintering) which starts at about 245°C (Ms) and finishes at about -10°C (Mf). Therefore, a sub-zero cryogenic treatment will benefit JP513 materials properties such as dimensional stability, fatigue strength, and VSI retention capability.

[0027] During sintering, the JP513 powder admixture can be optionally infiltrated with copper. Based upon capillary force fundamentals, "thin" porosity in the compacted powder is preferred for a copper infiltration process. In an example, near spherical or ellipsoid powder can be used for the first iron-base powder and the compacted powder can be infiltrated with approximately 13 wt. % infiltration copper. With thin gap formation among the powder particulates after compacting, copper infiltration can be beneficial to VSI performance.

[0028] The JP513 powder admixture can be subjected to a hot forging application. The concept of applying a powder metal forging process is to substantially increase the component density to near 100% theoretic number. Thus, by using a malleable powder as the second iron-base powder and a powder which is not suitable for hot forging as the first iron-base powder, the admixture can be hot forged to a desired density. From the same considerations, JP513 powder admixture can be used to apply metal injection molding (MIM) process.

[0029] Several experiments of a JP513 admixture were made after establishment of compacting pressure, sintering, copper infiltration and cryogenic treatment processes to evaluate effect of M type tool steel powders as the second iron-base powder available from three different powder suppliers. This metallurgical evaluation has carried out after a dimensional stability test revealed that JP513 possesses sound dimensional stability when it includes the three M type tool steel powders regardless from which materials supplier.

[0030] Figure 1 shows the general microstructural morphology of a backscattered electron image of JP513. The powder domains for the iron-base powders can be clearly defined in the photomicrograph. The first iron-base powder was not significantly deformed under compacting force while the second iron-base and pure iron powders were significantly deformed which allows a good bonding formation between the powders. It is also evident that diffusion of copper phase taken place which assists the bonding between powders.

[0031] Figure 2 depicts an enlarged image of the area marked in Figure 1. The shape of MnS powder significantly varied depending upon where a MnS powder is located. As expected, 17 wt.% of pure iron powder completely joined with all powder types present in the JP513 admixture. It can be also observed that significant amount of infiltration copper was penetrated through gaps between pure iron powders likely due to a higher capillary force which existed between pure iron particulates. The bright colored fine particles in the second iron-base powder are molybdenum and chromium rich carbides. The size and distribution of the carbides mainly formed during the powder atomization process.

[0032] Figure 3 shows the EDS analysis result of an area marked A in Figure 2 which corresponds to MnS powder added in JP513 as a solid lubricant.

[0033] Figure 4 shows the EDS analysis result of an area marked B in Figure 2 which corresponds to a high chromium and molybdenum carbide in the second iron-base powder.

[0034] Figure 5 shows the EDS analysis result of an area marked C in Figure 2 which corresponds a bright grayish powder as "pure" iron powder.

[0035] Figure 6 shows the EDS analysis result of an area marked D in Figure 2 which corresponds to the first iron-base powder which appears spherical in shape and well bonded with the second iron-base powder and pure iron powder.

[0036] Figure 7 shows an EDS analysis of the area marked E in Figure 2 which is an area of infiltration copper.

[0037] The apparent hardness at approximate HRc 49 for JP513 is suitable for heavy duty intake and exhaust engine VSI applications. It can be noted herein that JP513 powder admixture is designed such that steam treatment can be effectively applied to enhance the materials tribo performance especially with the non-copper infiltrated version.

[0038] JP513 PM VSI's can be manufactured using a conventional compacting and sintering process. The JP513 powder admixture concept includes two iron-base powders, iron binder powder, and additive powders to enhance processing ability and intended engineering application performance. The JP513 powder includes a high hardness first iron-base powder with spherical and/or ellipsoid shapes combined with a malleable softer second iron-base powder to provide JP513 with high apparent density PM engineering parts for high wear resistance applications. The bonding among the two iron-base powders, iron binder powder, solid lubrication powder and additive copper powder was sound with high sintered density (> 7.5 g/cm3). Moreover, admix capability of JP513 with the powder characteristics and distribution was desirable and a very uniform powder mixing condition to achieve high possible PM materials performance was obtained.

[0039] The softer second iron-base powder and pure iron powders are irregular shaped. So, both the second iron-based powder and pure iron powder can be deformed during the compacting process such that they surround the harder first iron-based powder.

[0040] No other hard particles/powders, e.g., additive silicide, intermetallic, Mo-based, Co-based, carbide, nitride, carbo-nitride and Fe-Mo hard particle powders, need to be added to the JP513 powder admixture. The harder first iron-base powder has a percentage of iron rich intermetallic phases, Fe-Co solid solution phases plus a bainitic (with or without a small amount of martensite) structure which provides significant wear resistance. After compaction and sintering, the harder first iron-base powder can be present in a high percentage with uniform three dimensional distribution and the softer second iron-based powder and solid solution strengthened iron portion (after sintering) can provide the admixture with toughness needed for engineering applications along with reasonable good wear resistance.

[0041] The harder first iron-base powder includes intermetallic sigma phase and carbides which remain in the microstructure at the sintering temperature. Copper diffusion into the harder first iron-base powder is minimal and whereas copper diffused into pure iron and the softer second iron-base powder can potentially form ε-copper in the second iron-base powder inducing precipitation hardening effect and as solute to have a solid solution strengthening effect for pure iron.

[0042] In an embodiment, a powder admixture useful for making a sintered valve seat insert comprises a first iron-base powder and second iron-base powder wherein the first iron-base powder has a higher hardness than the second iron-base powder, the first iron-base powder including, in weight percent, 1-2% C, 10-25% Cr, 5-20% Mo, 15-25% Co, and 30-60 wt. % Fe, and the second iron-base powder including, in weight %, 1-1.5% C, 3-15% Cr, 5-7% Mo, 3-6% W, 1-1.7%V, and 60-85% Fe. According to various options, (a) the first iron-base powder has a microstructure of interdendritic and intradendritic solidification substructures with up to 25% sigma phase; (b) the powder admixture further includes up to 20% Fe powder; (c) the powder admixture includes up to 3% Cu powder; (d) the powder admixture includes up to 2% MnS powder; (e) the powder admixture includes up to 2% die lubricant; (f) the first iron-base powder includes up to 1% Mn, up to 1% Si, up to 5% Ni, up to 5% W, up to 2% V, up to 0.5% B, up to 0.1% P, up to 0.1% S, up to 0.5% N, and up to 5% Nb; (g) the second iron-base powder includes up to 1% Mn, up to 1% Si, and is optionally Ni-free, optionally Co-free, and optionally Nb-free; (h) the first iron-based powder is present in an amount of 40-60 wt. % and the second iron-based powder is present in an amount of 20-40 wt. %; (i) the powder admixture includes Fe powder, Cu powder and MnS powder, the first iron-based powder is present in an amount of 40-60 wt. %, the second iron-based powder is present in an amount of 20-40 wt. %, the Fe powder is present in an amount of 15-20 wt. %, the Cu powder is present in an amount of 1-3%, and the MnS powder is present in an amount of 0.1-1 wt. %; (j) the powder admixture is free of additive silicide, carbide, nitride, carbonitride and intermetallic hard powder particles; (k) the first iron-base powder has a microstructure consisting of 40-60 vol. % interdendritic and 60-40 vol. % intradendritic regions; and/or (1) the powder admixture is free of Co-base, Mo-base, or other hard particle powders having a hardness greater than the hardness of the first iron-base powder.

[0043] The powder admixture can be used to manufacture a sintered valve seat inert wherein the powder admixture has been compacted in the shape of a valve seat insert, sintered to form a sintered powder admixture optionally infiltrated with copper. According to various options, (a) the sintered powder admixture has a density of at least 7.5 g/cm3; (b) the first iron-base powder has a microstructure consisting of 40-60 vol. % interdendritic and 60-40 vol. % intradendritic regions; (c) the sintered admixture is free of hard particles having a hardness greater than the hardness of the first iron-base powder; (d) the sintered admixture is free of silicide, carbide, nitride, carbonitride, Mo-base, Co-base or intermetallic hard particles; (e) the first iron-based powder is present in an amount of 40-60 wt. %, the second iron-based powder is present in an amount of 20-40 wt. %, and Fe powder is present in an amount of 15-20 wt. %; and/or (f) the first iron-based powder is present in an amount of 40-60 wt. %, the second iron-based powder is present in an amount of 20-40 wt. %, Fe powder is present in an amount of 15-20 wt. % and copper is present in an amount of 10-15 wt. %.

[0044] A method of manufacturing the sintered valve seat insert can comprise forming an admixture by mixing the first iron-based powder with the second iron-based powder, compacting the admixture, and sintering the admixture. According to various options, (a) the sintering comprises preheating the powder admixture at 560°C, 850°C, and 950°C for 5-20 minutes followed by 1120°C sintering for 40-60 minutes; (b) the sintering comprises a pressing and sintering process; (c) subjecting the sintered valve seat insert to cryogenic treatment in liquid nitrogen; (d) subjecting the sintered valve seat insert to a steam treatment; and/or (e) the sintering is carried out while infiltrating the admixture with copper.

Examples



[0045] JP513 can be made from an admixture set forth in Table 1 of the following powders in which the harder first iron-base powder is designated as "P1" and the softer second iron-base powder is designated as "P2":
Table 1
PowderConditionTarget mesh sizeTarget mm sizeWt.%
P1 Water atomized 120 0.125 50
P2 Water atomized 120 0.125 30
Pure Fe Reduced Fe 80 0.177 17
Pure Cu electrolytic 200 0.074 2
Die lubricant commercial <35 <0.5 0.5
MnS commercial 325 0.044 0.5


[0046] Based upon the initial JP513 sample analysis results, JP513 PM material design has been established as an admixture of a hard iron-base powder (P1) containing intermetallic phases including sigma phase, a softer iron-base powder with a tool steel composition, pure iron, additive copper, solid lubricant along with copper infiltration. The tool steel powders (P2) include two M3/2 tool steel powders from different sources identified as Q and H and atomized J120V identified as J. Two different amounts of infiltration copper are 13 wt.% and 18 wt.%. The first and second iron-base powders are admixed with weight ratio of 1.67 (50 wt.% first iron-base powder to 30 wt.% second iron-base powder).

[0047] All the sample parts had a VSI part geometry. The powder admixture includes 50 wt.% of the first iron-base powder and 30 wt.% of the second iron-base powder (tool steel powders J, H and Q) along with 0.5 wt.% lubricant, 0.5 wt.% of MnS, 17 wt.% of reduced iron powder, and 2 wt.% of additive copper. For tool steel powders, J, Q and H were applied for a comparative evaluation purpose that exhibited an admix Hull flow rate of 31.96 sec/50g, 31.3 sec/50g, and 31.92 sec/50g, respectively. Compacts were made with 0.181 T/mm2, 0.140 T/mm2 and, 0.147 T/mm2 for admixing with J, H and Q, respectively.

[0048] A standard sintering time including preheat (48 minutes) at 560°C, 850°C and 950°C for 16 minutes at each temperature and sintering for 48 minutes at 1120°C. Cryogenic treatment of 15 minute immersion in liquid nitrogen was applied prior to tempering at 538°C for one hour.

[0049] Density measurement was performed using Archimedes' method with five samples in each sample type. Bulk hardness was determined with HRc scale at ambient. The average density and bulk hardness obtained are summarized in the following Table 2 wherein the first iron-base powder is designate "P1", the second iron-base powder (P2) is designated as J, H and Q.
Table 2
 13% Cu Infiltration13% Cu Infiltration13% Cu Infiltration18% Cu Infiltration18% Cu Infiltration18% Cu Infiltration
sample 70% P1 70% P1 70% P1 70% P1 70% P1 70% P1
30% J 30% H 30% Q 30% J 30% H 30% Q
Density g/cm3 7.44 7.59 7.57 7.71 7.75 7.68
Bulk Hardness 48.8 53.9 53.6 50.9 52.4 50.8


[0050] It is clearly exhibited that for the same type of powder admixture, 18 wt.% copper infiltrated samples possessed a greater density than 13 wt.% copper infiltrated samples as expected. Hence, the higher density in 18 wt.% copper infiltrated samples is obviously related to the higher copper content. It is also revealed that excess copper in 18 wt.% copper infiltrated samples has been cladded onto bottom surface and formed a copper layer which is not observed in 13 wt.% copper infiltrated samples.

[0051] Metallographic examination reveals that 13.5-15.5 wt.% of infiltration of copper should be an adequate range for JP513 PM applications with the JP513 desired apparent compact density. For the same amount of copper infiltration namely, 13 wt.% and 18 wt.% samples tested, lower density samples possess a lower apparent bulk hardness. For instance, P1 + J samples with 13 wt.% had the lowest density and apparent bulk hardness. For 18 wt.% copper infiltrated samples, a layer of copper formed on the bottom face surface of the sample part which affects actual estimation on amount of copper infiltration penetrated into the compacted admixture under the capillary action force. Nevertheless, metallographic examination revealed that virtual amount of copper infiltration in 18 wt.% copper infiltration just slightly greater than 13.0 wt.% copper infiltration for each sample. For P1+P2 samples evaluated, 14.5 wt.% copper infiltration should be close to the optimal level with the current designed compact condition. Slightly higher compacting pressure may be significantly beneficial to apparent bulk hardness.

[0052] The dimensional stability testing was carried out using five sample parts from each group. The test condition includes thermal soak at 1000°F for one hour after heat treatment oven reached to the testing temperature followed by air-cool. The test result for 13 wt.% copper infiltrated P1+ J, 18 wt.% copper infiltrated P1+ J, 13wt.% copper infiltrated P1+ Q, 18 wt.% copper infiltrated P1+ Q, 13 wt.% copper infiltrated P1+ H, and 18 wt.% copper infiltrated P1+ H, all six sample groups passed the dimensional stability test.

[0053] Under the thermal soak condition, P1+ P2 with 13 wt.% copper infiltration demonstrated the least dimensional change, hence possesses high dimensional stability.

[0054] Hardness (HRc) change after dimensional thermal soak at 1000°F/one hour for all six group samples revealed only a small hardness reduction under the 1000°F/one hour and the P1+ J samples had a lower apparent bulk hardness and the least hardness change, as shown in Table 3 below:
Table 3. Apparent bulk hardness (HRc) measurement results for 1000°F/1hr thermal treated samples.
ConditionP1+J with 13 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+H with 13 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ Q with 13 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ J with 18 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ H with 18 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ Q with 18 wt.% Cu infiltration
Prior to 1hr Thermal Soak 48.3 50.1 51.7 51.8 54.1 53.3
Post to 1hr Thermal Soak 47.6 49.7 51.1 49.1 53.3 52.8


[0055] Three-hour dimensional stability tests for the six types of samples revealed minimum dimensional variation. It should be noted that 1000°F is very close to lower end of tempering treatment temperature for martensitic tool steels. Thus, all three powder admixes are with sound dimensional stability for common VSI applications.

[0056] The apparent bulk hardness in these samples is measured after thermal treatment and the results can be summarized in Table 4. A lower apparent bulk hardness is shown as expected after the thermal soaking. For the P1+ P2 admixture, a slightly higher compact density along with slightly higher amount of copper infiltration can surely increase apparent bulk hardness. Nevertheless, even with the apparent hardness received after three hours heat soaking at 1000°F is with decent level for a PM VSI insert material and the density in the sample along with copper infiltration applied can be used as the lower limits for JP513. Apparent bulk hardness for 5 hour, 10 hour and 20 hour dimensional stability tests are summarized in Tables 5, 6 and 7.
Table 4. Apparent bulk hardness (HRc) measurement results for 1000°F/3hr thermal treated samples.
ConditionP1+ J with 13 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ J with 18 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ Q with 13 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ Q with 18 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ H with 13 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ H with 18 wt.% Cu infiltration
Prior to 3hr Thermal Soak 48.3 50.1 51.7 51.8 54.1 53.3
Post to 3hr Thermal Soak 45.0 47.0 48.7 47.6 51.4 50.8
Table 5. Apparent bulk hardness (HRc) measurement results for 1000°F/5hr thermal treated samples.
ConditionP1+ J with 13 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ H with 13 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ Q with 13 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ J with 18 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ H with 18 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ Q with 18 wt.% Cu infiltration
Prior to 5hr Thermal Soak 48.3 50.1 51.7 51.8 54.1 53.3
Post to 5hr Thermal Soak 44.2 46.1 47.4 47.1 49.2 49.1
Table 6. Apparent bulk hardness (HRc) measurement results for 1000°F/10hrs thermal treated samples.
ConditionP1+ J with 13 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ J with 18 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ Q with 13 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ Q with 18 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ H with 13 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ H with 18 wt.% Cu infiltration
Prior to 10hr Thermal Soak 48.3 50.1 51.7 51.8 54.1 53.3
Post to 10hr Thermal Soak 43.0 46.1 47.0 45.1 48.3 48.3
Table 7. Apparent bulk hardness (HRc) measurement results for 1000°F/20hrs thermal treated samples.
ConditionP1+ J with 13 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ J with 18 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ Q with 13 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ Q with 18 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ H with 13 wt.% Cu infiltrationP1+ H with 18 wt.% Cu infiltration
Prior to 20hr Thermal Soak 48.3 50.1 51.7 51.8 54.1 53.3
Post to 20hr Thermal Soak 40.7 41.9 44.7 42.0 45.5 46.5


[0057] Figure 9 exhibits the behavior of apparent bulk hardness as a function of aging time at 1000°F for all six types of samples evaluated. A clear binomial function has been shown with each of the six sample types, respectively. The apparent hardness changing rate at 20-hour aging is practically near nil for P1+ J (13Cu), P1+ J (18Cu), P1+ Q (13Cu), and P1+ H (13Cu).

[0058] An admixture of P1 (50 wt.%) with all three tool steel powders P2 (30 wt.%) shows a very similar apparent density. The amount of copper infiltration at 13 wt.% and 18 wt.% does not affect the internal microstructure for each type of tool steel powders. The excess copper on the bottom face surface has been formed in all the samples with 18 wt.% of copper infiltration. However, copper infiltration reaches at a desired level at approximate 14.5 wt.%. The apparent density of the samples is sound and no large PM porosity can be detected. P1 alloy powder can be uniformly distributed in the admixture with P2, pure iron, and the other additive powders. The spherical or ellipsoidal shaped P1 powder actually can be very beneficial to the PM materials wear resistance giving the good bonding between P1 and P2 iron-base powders has been achieved. The amount of copper infiltration is sufficient from surface to the center of VSI samples and, in fact, sample surface PM porosities are fully filled with copper.

[0059] Microhardness mapping with 500g applied load for all six types of JP513 samples reveals a sound apparent microhardness distribution. In general, samples with 13 wt.% copper infiltration show a lower hardness under a 500g load which is most likely related PM compact density and PM porosity density which was not fully filled by copper infiltration.

[0060] The P1 powder can be considered a hardening treatable alloy in that solid phase transformation can take place with only a small portion of the alloy going through a solid state phase transformation. In the as-hardened condition (1700°F), the P1 powder can have an increased interdendritic region and decreased intradendritic region compared to the same alloy in an as-cast condition. The increase in interdendritic region is through a diffusion process between the interdendritic and intradendritic regions at elevated temperature such as hardening at 1700°F. It is estimated that about 25 vol.% of the interdendritic region is sigma phase and about 25 vol.% of intradendritic region is sigma phase. It is also estimated that about 75 vol. % of high Cr high-Mo ferrite exists in the interdendritic region and about 75 vol. % of γFe,αCo solid solution (fcc) phase exists in the intradendritic region.

[0061] Thus, the P1 powder in a hardened or hardened + tempered condition with 50 vol. % intradendritic and 50 vol. % interdendritic regions, the microstructure may contain up to about 37.5 vol.% of high Cr and Mo ferrite phase, up to about 37.5 vol.% of γFe,αCo solid solution (fcc) phase, up to about 25.0 vol.% of sigma phase with the balance up to about 5.0 vol.% of a mixture of bainite, martensite, and carbide phases.

[0062] In an embodiment, a sintered valve seat insert can be manufactured by preparing a powder admixture of, in weight %, 40-60 wt. % of the first iron-base powder, 20-40 wt. % of the second iron-base powder, 15-25 wt. % pure iron powder, optionally up to 5 wt. % copper powder, optionally up to 5 wt. % manganese sulfide and optionally up to 5 wt. % die lubricant. The powder admixture can be compacted into the shape of a valve seat insert (VSI) suitable for use in internal combustion engines and sintered (e.g., single pressing and sintering or double pressing and sintering) with or without copper infiltration. The sintered valve seat insert can be subjected to a cryogenic treatment to modify the microstructure of the sintered VSI. During sintering, the iron powder can diffuse into the second iron-base powder and/or elements such as Cu, Cr and Mo from other powders can diffuse into the iron powder.

[0063] In the sintered VSI, the first iron-base powder can include sigma phase in the interdendritic and intradendritic regions. For example, up to 30 vol. % sigma phase (e.g., 20-30 vol. % sigma phase) can be present in the interdendritic region and up to 30 vol. % sigma phase (e.g., 20-30 vol. % sigma phase) can be present in the intradendritic region. With an addition of 40-60 wt. % of the first iron-base powder to the powder admixture, the sintered VSI can contain 8-18 vol. % sigma phase (e.g., 10-15 vol. % sigma phase).

[0064] In the sintered VSI, the first iron-base powder can include an iron-cobalt (Fe-Co) face centered cubic (FCC) solid solution phase. For example, the intra-dendritic region can include 60-90 vol. % (e.g., 70-80 vol. %) Fe-Co solid solution phase. With an addition of 40-60 wt. % of the first iron-base powder to the powder admixture, the sintered VSI can contain 10-30 vol. % Fe-Co solid solution phase (e.g., 15-25 vol. % Fe-Co solid solution)

[0065] In the sintered VSI, the first iron-base powder can include ferrite (e.g., high chromium ferrite) in the interdendritic region. For example, up to 60-90 vol. % ferrite (e.g., 70-80 vol. % ferrite) can be present in the interdendritic region. With an addition of 40-60 wt. % of the first iron-base powder to the powder admixture, the sintered VSI can contain 10-30 vol. % high chromium ferrite phase (e.g., 15-25 vol. % high chromium ferrite).

[0066] In the sintered VSI, the second iron-base powder can include 70-80 vol. % (e.g., about 75 vol. %) of tempered martensite and 20-30 vol. % (e.g., about 25 vol. %) of chromium-molybdenum carbide. With the addition of 20-40 wt. % of the second iron-base powder to the powder admixture, the sintered VSI can contain 10-30 vol. % tempered martensite and 5-10 vol. % chromium-molybdenum carbide.

[0067] For pure iron powder, a significant elemental diffusion process occurs during a sintering process. Depending upon post sintering treatment conditions, the pure iron powder can be composed of ferrite, bainite, martensite or their combinations. From a VSI application concern, liquid nitrogen cryogenic treatment for JP513 VSI can be applied. In that case, greater than 90 vol.% of the combined pure iron powder/second iron-base powder can be composed of tempered martensitic phase along with up to 10 vol.% of ferrite, or bainite, or ferrite + bainite. In the sintered VSI, the pure iron powder can include up to 10 vol. % ferrite (or bainite or bainite plus ferrite). Thus, with an addition of 10-20 wt. % of the pure iron powder to the powder admixture, the sintered VSI can contain 1-2% ferrite, bainite or ferrite plus bainite.

[0068] The sintered VSI can be heat treated via a hardening and tempering treatment to provide a tempered martensitic microstructure. For example, the heat treated sintered VSI can include at least 25 vol. % (e.g., 30-40 vol. %) tempered martensite.

[0069] In an example, the sintered and heat treated VSI can include 10-15 vol. % (e.g., 12-13 vol. %) sigma phase, 30-40 vol. % (e.g., 34-36 vol. %) martensite, 20-25 vol. % (e.g., 21-23 vol. %) ferrite, up to 2 vol. % bainite, 20-25 vol. % (e.g., 21-23 vol. %) iron-cobalt solid solution phase, and 5-10 vol.% of high chromium carbides.

[0070] In the forgoing examples, J120V was used as a P2 powder. J120V includes, in weight %, 1.2-1.5% C, 0.3-0.6% Mn, 0.3-0.6% Si, 3.5-4.25% Cr, 6-7% Mo, 5-6% W, 1.3-1.7% V, balance Fe. Another iron-base alloy which can be used as the P2 powder is J160 which includes 1.35-1.55% C, 0.2-0.5% Mn, 0.4-0.8% Si, up to 0.8% Ni, 12.5-13.5% Cr, 5.1-5.7% Mo, up to 0.3% Cu, 3.75-4.25% W, 1-1.5% V, 3.2-4.2% Co, 1.75-2.25% Nb, balance Fe.

[0071] The preferred embodiments are merely illustrative and should not be considered restrictive in any way. The scope of the invention is given by the appended claims, rather than the preceding description, and all variations and equivalents which fall within the range of the claims are intended to be embraced therein.


Claims

1. A powder admixture useful for making a sintered valve seat insert, the powder admixture comprising a first iron-base powder and second iron-base powder wherein the first iron-base powder has a higher hardness than the second iron-base powder, the first iron-base powder including, in weight percent, 1-2% C, 10-25% Cr, 5-20% Mo, 15-25% Co, and 30-60 wt. % Fe, and the second iron-base powder including, in weight %, 1-1.5% C, 3-15% Cr, 5-7% Mo, 3-6% W, 1-1.7%V, and 60-85% Fe.
 
2. The powder admixture of claim 1, wherein the first iron-base powder has a microstructure of interdendritic and intradendritic phases with up to 25% sigma phase.
 
3. The powder admixture of claim 1, wherein the powder admixture further includes up to 20% Fe powder, up to 3% Cu powder, up to 2% MnS powder, and up to 2% die lubricant.
 
4. The powder admixture of claim 1, wherein the first iron-base powder includes up to 1% Mn, up to 1% Si, up to 5% Ni, up to 5% W, up to 2% V, up to 0.5% B, up to 0.1% P, up to 0.1% S, up to 0.5% N, and up to 5% Nb.
 
5. The powder admixture valve seat insert of claim 1, wherein the second iron-base powder includes up to 1% Mn, up to 1% Si, and is optionally Ni-free, optionally Co-free, and optionally Nb-free.
 
6. The powder admixture of claim 1, wherein the first iron-based powder is present in an amount of 40-60 wt. % and the second iron-based powder is present in an amount of 20-40 wt. %.
 
7. The powder admixture of claim 1, wherein the powder admixture includes Fe powder, Cu powder and MnS powder, the first iron-based powder is present in an amount of 40-60 wt. %, the second iron-based powder is present in an amount of 20-40 wt. %, the Fe powder is present in an amount of 15-20 wt. %, the Cu powder is present in an amount of 1-3%, and the MnS powder is present in an amount of 0.1-1 wt. %.
 
8. The powder admixture of claim 1, free of additive silicide, carbide, nitride, carbonitride and intermetallic hard powder particles.
 
9. The powder admixture of claim 1, wherein the first iron-base powder has a microstructure consisting of 40-60 vol. % interdendritic and 60-40 vol. % intradendritic regions.
 
10. The powder admixture of claim 1, free of Co-base, Mo-base, or other hard particle powders having a hardness greater than the hardness of the first iron-base powder.
 
11. A sintered valve seat inert comprising the powder admixture of claim 1, wherein the powder admixture has been compacted in the shape of a valve seat insert, sintered to form a sintered powder admixture optionally infiltrated with copper.
 
12. The sintered valve seat insert of claim 11, wherein the sintered powder admixture has a density of at least 7.5 g/cm3, or

wherein the first iron-base powder has a microstructure consisting of 40-60 vol. % interdendritic and 60-40 vol. % intradendritic regions, or

wherein the sintered admixture is free of hard particle powders having a hardness greater than the hardness of the first iron-base powder, or

wherein the sintered admixture is free of additive silicide, carbide, nitride, carbonitride, Mo-base, Co-base or intermetallic hard particle powders, or

wherein the first iron-based powder is present in an amount of 40-60 wt. %, the second iron-based powder is present in an amount of 20-40 wt. %, and Fe powder is present in an amount of 15-20 wt. %, or

wherein the first iron-based powder is present in an amount of 40-60 wt. %, the second iron-based powder is present in an amount of 20-40 wt. %, Fe powder is present in an amount of 15-20 wt. % and copper is present in an amount of 10-15 wt. %.


 
13. A method of manufacturing the sintered valve seat insert of claim 11, comprising forming an admixture by mixing the first iron-based powder with the second iron-based powder, compacting the admixture, and sintering the admixture.
 
14. The method of claim 13, wherein the sintering comprises preheating the powder admixture at 560°C, 850°C, and 950°C for 16 minutes followed by 1120°C sintering for 48 minutes.
 
15. The method of claim 13, wherein (a) the sintering comprises a pressing and sintering process; (b) the method further comprising subjecting the sintered valve seat insert to cryogenic treatment in liquid nitrogen; (c) the method further comprising subjecting the sintered valve seat insert to a steam treatment; and/or (e) the sintering is carried out while infiltrating the admixture with copper.
 




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