Effect of Processing Route on the Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of Hot Work Tool Steel

Powder metallurgy is a growing sector in industrial production, as it offers outstanding energy, cost and material savings in comparison with established processing routes such as casting. Hot work toll steels are usually produced by ingot metallurgy, but also by powder metallurgy, namely hot isostatic pressing and powder forging routes. In this paper we investigate the possibility of production of a hot work tool steel (AISI H13) by conventional (die compaction and pressureless sintering) and metal injection molding routes, aiming to reduce cost and production time. The sintering behavior was studied from 1250 °C until 1430 °C and the resulting parts were compared in terms of microstructure, hardness and tensile strength. The results showed that both shaping routes together with pressureless sintering are suitable to produce this alloy. By combining the best shaping approach and a tailored sintering cycle, it was possible to produce samples with 400 HV10 as well as tensile strength of 1 GPa, which are comparable to the ones obtained by powder forging.