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An indispensable key technology for 4D printing - powder injection molding technology



Core tip: The so-called 4D printing technology, to be precise, is a material that can automatically deform. Put this self deformable material into water, and it can automatically fold into corresponding shapes according to the product design
The so-called 4D printing technology, to be precise, is a material that can automatically deform. Putting this self deformable material into water, it can automatically fold into the corresponding shape according to the product's design. Isn't it novel and magical enough! The truth is actually very simple. The main theme of the popular 4D printing concept in the current market is "memory alloy". Memory alloy is a martensitic transformation alloy with a regular atomic arrangement and a volume reduction of less than 0.5%. This alloy undergoes deformation under external force, and when the external force is removed, it can restore its original shape under certain temperature conditions. Due to its ability to recover over a million times, it is called a "memory alloy". Of course, it cannot think and remember like the human brain, more accurately, it should be called the "alloy of memory shape". In addition, memory alloys also have the advantages of being non-magnetic, wear-resistant, corrosion-resistant, and non-toxic, making them widely used. Scientists have now discovered dozens of alloys with different memory functions, such as titanium nickel alloys, gold cadmium alloys, copper zinc alloys, and so on.
It should be pointed out that a group of "memory alloys", including titanium nickel alloys, have an indispensable key technology in their production process, which is powder metallurgy technology!
In reality, as a new technology in the field of powder metallurgy, metal injection molding (MIM) has become a suitable process for producing titanium alloy parts with complex shapes.
Data shows that Metal and Ceramic Powder Injection Molding (MIM) is a new technology for preparing metal and ceramic components. It is a new manufacturing technology invented by Parmatech Corporation in California, USA in 1973. In the early 1980s, many European countries and Japan also invested great effort in researching this technology and it was quickly promoted. Especially in the mid-1980s, this technology has achieved rapid development since its industrialization, increasing at an astonishing rate every year. So far, more than 100 companies in more than ten countries and regions such as the United States, Western Europe, and Japan are engaged in product development, research and development, and sales of this technology.
It is a new component processing technology generated by introducing polymer injection molding technology into the field of powder metallurgy. This technology applies the principle of injection molding in the plastic industry, mixing metal, ceramic powder, and polymer binder into a uniform fluid with viscoplasticity. It is then injected into the mold by an injection machine, removed from the binder, and sintered to achieve full densification to produce various components.
In recent decades, metal injection molding (MIM) has developed rapidly as a new powder metallurgy technology. The material systems that can be applied include: Fe Ni alloy, stainless steel, tool steel, high density alloy, hard alloy, titanium alloy, nickel based superalloy, intermetallic compound, aluminum oxide, zirconia, etc. That is to say, Metal Injection Molding (MIM), a new technology in the field of powder metallurgy, is an indispensable key technology for preparing 4D printing key materials - "memory alloys"!
According to relevant research statistics, materials for powder injection molding have evolved from early systems such as iron-based, hard alloys, and ceramics that were not sensitive to impurity content and did not require very strict performance requirements, to nickel based high-temperature alloys, titanium alloys, and niobium materials. The field of material applications has also shifted from structural materials to functional materials, such as heat sink materials, magnetic materials, and shape memory alloys. The material structure has also evolved from a single uniform structure to a composite structure. Metal injection molding technology can achieve the simultaneous formation of multiple powders with different compositions, thus enabling the formation of composite structures in the form of sandwiches. For example, combining 316L stainless steel with 17-4PH alloy can achieve continuous and adjustable mechanical properties. An important development direction of powder injection molding is closely related to microsystem technology. Closely related to microsystem technology. In fields related to microsystems, such as electronic information, microchemistry, medical devices, etc., devices are constantly miniaturized and their functions are becoming more complex. And powder injection molding technology provides the possibility of implementation. Micro injection molding technology is an improvement on traditional injection molding technology. It is a forming technology developed for parts with a size and structure as small as 1um. The basic process is consistent with traditional injection molding, but the raw material powder particle size is smaller. A microfluidic device with a surface microstructure accuracy of 10um and stainless steel parts with dimensions ranging from 350um to 900um have been developed using micro injection molding technology; We have achieved co sintering or co bonding of different material compositions and composite structures, and obtained magnetic/non-magnetic, conductive/non-conductive micro composite parts.
In recent times, the market has only been hyping up the concept of 4D printing from "memory alloys" to "photosensitive resins", and in the future, there will inevitably be a deep exploration of "powder metallurgy technology"!
Keywords: MIM Metal Injection Molding MIM Processing Metal Injection Molding Parts Powder Injection Molding Metal Injection Molding Metal Injection Molding Metal Powder Injection Molding Shenzhen Yujiaxin Hardware Products Co., Ltd