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To understand microwave sintering of heavy alloys with high tungsten content, 93W-4.9Ni-2.1Fe alloy was sintered using a 6 kW, 2.45 GHz microwave sintering furnace at 1783 K (1510˚ºC) and 1793 K (1520˚ºC). The alloy sintered at 1793 K (1520˚ºC) achieved full densification and had improved microstructural features, superior mechanical properties compared to 99.4% densification and relatively inferior properties obtained in the alloy sintered at 1783 K (1510˚ºC).
This study also includes a comparison between microwave sintered and conventionally sintered 93W-4.9Ni-2.1Fe alloy (sintered at 1793K (1520ºC)). Contrary to the full densification and superior mechanical properties obtained in microwave sintering, conventional sintering at 1793K (1520ºC) resulted in only 99.6% densification and substantially inferior properties. Analyses of microstructure and fracture surface revealed that key microstructural parameters such as tungsten grain size, tungsten-tungsten contiguity, matrix volume fraction and also the fracture mode were significantly different between the alloys processed by the two routes. Possible reasons behind dissimilar densification, significantly different microstructures and mechanical properties obtained between these two modes of sintering, are also discussed in this study.
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