Imbaby, Mohamed (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This thesis presents a new approach to fabricate high precision micro machine components from stainless steel and stainless steel ceramic composite materials, using Softlithography and powder metallurgy processes. Three different 316-L stainless steel powders, including 5, 10 and 16 μm in size, and two different ceramics powders, including 400 nm alumina and 320 nm titania, were tested. The PhD research process can be divided into three main stages. In the first stage, high quality SU-8 master moulds and their negative replicas soft moulds are produced using Softlithography technique. The second stage includes preparing the stainless steel slurries, filling the soft micro moulds, obtaining the green micro components, de-binding and sintering. In the third stage, the fabrication process has been developed further to produce stainless steel-ceramic composite micro components. Fabrication process in each stage was investigated in detail and the optimum properties were produced. Dispersant acrylic-based binder is adopted in this research successfully in producing damage-free green micro components. A cold isostatic pressing technique is also adopted to improve the densities and linear shrinkages of the stainless steel green and sintered micro components. A new mixing method is used to improve the homogeneity of the ceramic inclusions in the stainless steel matrix of the composite micro components. Characterization of the sintered stainless steel and composite micro components in terms of shape retention, density, linear shrinkage, internal structure, hardness and surface roughness were investigated in detail. The resultant stainless steel and composite micro components retain the same high geometric quality as the SU-8 master moulds.
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