Simulation of polymer removal from a powder injection molding compact by thermal debinding

Y.C. Lam, Y. Shengjie, Ching Man Yu, K.C. Tam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Powder injection molding (PIM) is an important net-shape manufacturing process. Thermal debinding is a common methodology for the final removal of residual polymer from a PIM compact prior to sintering. This process is an intricate combination of evaporation, liquid and gas migration, pyrolysis of polymer, and heat transfer in porous media. A better understanding of thermal debinding could lead to optimization of the process to prevent the formation of defects. Simulation of the process based on an integrated mathematical model for mass and heat transfer in porous media is proposed. The mechanisms of mass transport, i.e., liquid flow, gas flow, vapor diffusion, and convection, as well as the phase transitions of polymer, and their interactions, are included in the model. The macroscopic partial differential equations are formulated by volume averaging of the microscopic conservation laws. The basic equations consist of mass conservation and energy conservation and are solved numerically. Polymer residue, pressure, and temperature distributions are predicted. The importance of the various mass transfer mechanisms is evaluated. The effects of key mass transfer parameters on thermal debinding are discussed. It is revealed from the results that the assumed binder front, which is supposed to recede into the powder compact as removal progresses, does not exist. The mass flux of polymer liquid is of the same order of the mass flux of polymer vapor in the gas phase, and the polymer vapor diffusion in the liquid phase is negligible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2597-2606
Number of pages10
JournalMetallurgical and Materials Transactions A: Physical Metallurgy and Materials Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Metals and Alloys


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