Simulation and modeling of macro and micro components produced by powder injection molding: A review

Document Type : Review


1 Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering, K. N. Toosi University, Tehran, Iran

2 Faculty of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, Semnan University, Semnan, Iran


During the recent years powder processing technologies have gained much attention due to the less energy consumption and recyclable powders. Manufacturing of complicated parts by the conventional powder metallurgy (PM) method is hard due to the uniaxial pressure, which leads to the low design flexibility. In order to prevail these constraints, powder injection molding (PIM) process, which includes powder metallurgy and injection molding processes, is introduced. In powder injection molding, simulations are a very useful tool to predict each step of process and design the mold. By this way, design can already be optimized and mistakes are avoided. In this review a detailed study of simulation of different steps in the powder injection molding process of macro and micro components produced by this method is presented. Simulation investigations of mixing, injection, debinding, and sintering of various researchers are given. The computer simulation tools available for all steps of the PIM process are surveyed and results are presented.


Main Subjects

  1. German RM, Animesh Bose (1997) Injection molding of metals and ceramics. Metal powder industries federation, Princeton, NJ, USA
  2. Merhar JR (1990) Overview of metal injection moulding. Metal Powder Rep 45: 339-342
  3. Zhang T, EvansJRG (1989) Predicting the viscos­ity of ceramic injection moulding suspensions. J Eur Ceram Soc 5: 165-172
  4. Lin SP, & German RM (1994) The influence of powder loading and binder additive on the prop­erties of alumina injection-moulding blends. J Mater Sci 29: 5367-5373
  5. German RM (1994) Homogeneity effects on feedstock viscosity in powder injection molding. J Am Ceram Soc 77: 283-285
  6. Piotter V (2011) A review of the current status of Micro PIM. Powder Inject. Molding Int 5: 27–42
  7. Attia UM, Alcock JR (2011) A review of micro-powder injection moulding as a microfabrication technique. J Micromech Microeng 21: 043001
  8. Drummer D, Messingschlager S (2014) Ceramic injection molding material analysis, modeling and injection molding simulation. Proceedings of the 29th International Conference of the Polymer Processing.
  9. Yu, PC, Li QF, Fuh JYH, Li T, Ho PW (2009) Micro injection molding of micro gear using na­no-sized zirconia powder. Microsyst Technol 15: 401-406
  10. Martin R, Vick M, Enneti RK, Atre SV (2013) Powder injection molding of ceria-stabilized, zirconia-toughened mullite parts for UAV engine components. JOM 65: 1388-1394
  11. Martin R, Vick M, Kelly M, De Souza JP, Enneti RK, Atre SV (2013) Powder injection molding of mullite-zirconia composite. J Mater Res Techn 2: 263-268
  12. Onbattuvelli V, Atre S (2011) Review of net shape fabrication of thermally conducting ceram­ics. Mater Manuf Process 26: 832-845
  13. Onbattuvelli VP, Laddha S, Park SJ, De Souza JP, Atre SV (2011) SiC for the powder injection molding of thermal management devices. 66th ABM International Congress: 319-329
  14. Kate KH, Enneti RK, McCabe T, Atre SV (2016) Simulations and injection molding experiments for aluminum nitride feedstock. Ceram Int 42: 194-203
  15. Kang TG, Ahn S, Park SJ, Atre SV, German RM (2009) Mixing Simulation for Powder Injection Moulding Feedstock: Quantification and Sensi­tivity Analysis. PIM Int 3: 59-62
  16. Donald F (2012) Handbook of metal injection molding. Woodhead Publishing Limited, Oxford, pp. 197–233
  17. Alberto Naranjo, Juan F Campuzano, Iván López, (2017), Analysis of heat transfer coefficients and no-flow temperature in simulation of injection molding. SPE ANTEC, Anaheim
  18. Tosello, G, Marhöfer DM, Islam A, Müller T, Ple­wa K, Piotter V (2019) Comprehensive character­ization and material modeling for ceramic injec­tion molding simulation performance validations. Int J Adv Manufact Techn 102: 225-240
  19. Raymond V (2012) Metal injection molding de­velopment: Modeling and numerical simulation of injection with experimental validation. Doctor­al dissertation, École Polytechnique de Montréal
  20. Jang JM, Lee H, Lee W, Kim YI, Ko SH, Kim JH, Choi JP (2014) Evaluation of feedstock for powder injection molding. JPN J Appl Phys 53: 05HA03
  21. Askari A, Alaei MH, Omrani AM, Nekouee K, Park SJ (2019). Rheological and thermal charac­terization of AISI 4605 low-alloy steel feedstock for metal injection molding process. Metals Ma­ter Int : 10.1007/s12540-019-00442-9
  22. Abdoos H, Khorsand H, Yousefi AA (2014) Torque rheometry and rheological analysis of powder–polymer mixture for aluminum powder injection molding. Iranian Polym J 23: 745-755
  23. Reddy JJ, Vijayakumar M, Mohan TRR, Ramak­rishnar P (1996) Loading of solids in a liquid me­dium: Determination of CBVC by torque RHE­OMETRY. J Europ Ceramic Soc 16:567–574
  24. Sotomayor ME, Varez A, Levenfeld B (2010) Influence of powder particle size distribution on rheological properties of 316L powder injection molding feedstocks. Powder Tech 200: 30–36
  25. Reddy JJ, Ravi N, Vijayakumar M (2000) A simple model for viscosity of powder injection moulding mixes with binder content above pow­der critical binder volume concentration. J Eur Ceram Soc 20: 2183–2190
  26. Mutsuddy BC, Ford RG (1995) Ceramic injection molding. Chapman & Hall, London
  27. Honek T, Hausnerova B, Saha P (2005) Relative viscosity models and their application to capillary flow data of highly filled hardmetal carbide pow­der compounds. Polym Compos 26: 30–36
  28. Contreras JM, Jimenez-Morales A, & Torralba JM (2010) Experimental and theoretical methods for optimal solids loading calculation in MIM feedstocks fabricated from powders with differ­ent particle characteristics. Powder metall 53: 34- 40
  29. Fang W, He X, Zhang R, Yang S, Qu X (2014) The effects of filling patterns on the powder– binder separation in powder injection molding. Powder Technol 256: 367-376
  30. Mannschatz A, Höhn S, Moritz T (2010) Pow­der-binder separation in injection moulded green parts. J Eur Ceram Soc 30: 2827-2832
  31. Yang S, Zhang R, Qu X (2013) X-ray tomograph­ic analysis of powder-binder separation in SiC green body. J Eur Ceram Soc 33: 2935-2941
  32. Weber O, Rack A, Redenbach C, Schulz M, Wir­jadi O (2011) Micropowder injection molding: Investigation of powder-binder separation using synchrotron-based microtomography and 3D im­age analysis. J Mater Sci 46: 3568-3573
  33. Yang S, Xu Q, Liu C, Lu X, Qu X, Xu Y(2019) Analysis of powder binder separation through multiscale computed tomography. Metals 9: 329
  34. Samanta SK, Chattopadhyay H, Godkhindi MM (2011) Modelling the powder binder separation in injection stage of PIM. Prog Comput Fluid Dy 11: 292-304
  35. Tosello G, Marhöfer DM, Islam A, Müller T, Ple­wa K, Piotter V (2019) Comprehensive character­ization and material modeling for ceramic injec­tion molding simulation performance validations. Int J Adv Manuf Tech 102: 225-240
  36. Yin H, Wang Q, Qu X, Jia C, Johnson JL (2011) Computational simulation and experimental anal­ysis of the mold-filling process in μPIM. J Micro­mech Microeng 21: 045023
  37. Sardarian M, Mirzaee O, Habibolahzadeh A (2017) Mold filling simulation of low pressure injection molding (LPIM) of alumina: Effect of temperature and pressure. Ceram Int 43: 28-34
  38. Sardarian M, Mirzaee O, Habibolahzadeh A (2017) Numerical simulation and experimental investigation on jetting phenomenon in low pres­sure injection molding (LPIM) of alumina. J Ma­ter Process Tech 243: 374-380
  39. He J, Shao Z, Yin H, Elder S, Zheng Q, Qu X (2018) Investigation of inhomogeneity in powder injection molding of nano zirconia. Powder Tech­nol 328: 207-214
  40. He H, Li Y, Lou J, Li D, Liu C (2016 ) Prediction of density variation in powder injection mould­ing-filling process by using granular modeling with interstitial power-law fluid. Powder Technol. 1; 291:52-9
  41. Matula G, DobrzaƄski LA, Ambroziak M (2012) Simulation of powder injection moulding con­ditions using cadmould program. JAMMFE 55: 556-560
  42. Ani SM, Muchtar A, Muhamad N, Ghani JA (2014) Binder removal via a two-stage debinding process for ceramic injection molding parts. Ce­ram Int 40: 2819-2824
  43. Páez-Pavón A, Jiménez-Morales A, Santos TG, Quintino L, Torralba JM (2016) Influence of ther­mal debinding on the final properties of Fe–Si soft magnetic alloys for metal injection molding (MIM). J Magn Magn Mater 416: 342-347
  44. Hidalgo J, Jiménez-Morales A, & Torralba JM (2012) Torque rheology of zircon feedstocks for powder injection moulding. J Eur Ceram Soc 32: 4063-4072
  45. Sommer F, Walcher H, Kern F, Maetzig M, Gad­ow R (2014) Influence of feedstock preparation on ceramic injection molding and microstructural features of zirconia toughened alumina. J Eur Ce­ram Soc 34: 745-751
  46.  Ahn S, Park SJ, Lee S, Atre SV, German RM (2009) Effect of powders and binders on material properties and molding parameters in iron and stainless steel powder injection molding process. Powder Technol 193: 162-169
  47. Bleyan D (2015) Binder system for powder injec­tion moulding. Doctoral thesis, Tomas Bata Uni­versity, Zlín
  48. Bloemacher M, Weinand D (1997) CatamoldTM-a new direction for powder injection molding. J Mater Process Tech 63: 918-922
  49. Zu YS, Lin ST (1997) Optimizing the mechanical properties of injection molded W4.9% Ni 2.1% Fe in debinding. J Mater Process Tech 71: 337- 342
  50. Pinwill IE, Edirisinghe MJ, Bevis MJ (1992) De­velopment of temperature-heating rate diagrams for the pyrolytic removal of binder used for pow­der injection moulding. J Mater Sci 27: 4381- 4388
  51. Hausnerova B, Kuritka I, Bleyan D (2014) Poly­olefin backbone substitution in binders for low temperature powder injection moulding feed­stocks. Molecules 19: 2748-2760
  52. Lam YC, Yu SCM, Tam KC, Shengjie Y (2000) Simulation of polymer removal from a powder injection molding compact by thermal debinding. Metall Mater Trans A 31: 2597-2606
  53. Shengjie Y, Lam YC, Yu SCM, Tam KC (2001) Two-dimensional simulation of mass transport in polymer removal from a powder injection mold­ing compact by thermal debinding. J Mater Res 16: 2436-2451
  54. Heaney DF, Spina R (2007) Numerical analysis of debinding and sintering of MIM parts. J Mater Process Tech 191: 385-389
  55. Shengjie Y, Lam YC, Yu SCM, Tam KC (2002) Thermal debinding modeling of mass transport and deformation in powder-injection molding compact. Metall Mater Trans B 33: 477-488
  56. Lin TL, Hourng LW (2005) Investigation of wick debinding in metal injection molding: Numerical simulations by the random walk approach and ex­periments. Adv Powder Technol 16: 495-515
  57. Chang CY (2003) Numerical simulation of two-dimensional wick debinding in metal powder injection molding. Adv Powder Technol 14: 177- 194
  58. Khoong LE, Lam YC, Chai JC, Jiang L, Ma J (2007) Numerical and experimental investiga­tions on thermal debinding of polymeric binder of powder injection molding compact. Chem Eng Sci 62: 6927-6938
  59. Oh JW, Lee WS, Park SJ (2018) Investigation and modeling of binder removal process in nano/mi­cro bimodal powder injection molding. Int J Adv Manuf Tech 97: 4115-4126
  60. Park SJ, Wu Y, Heaney DF, Zou X, Gai G, Ger­man RM (2009) Rheological and thermal debind­ing behaviors in titanium powder injection mold­ing. Metall Mater Trans A 40: 215-222
  61. Mamen B, Thierry B, Jean-Claude G (2013) In­vestigations on thermal debinding process for fine 316L stainless steel feedstocks and identification of kinetic parameters from coupling experiments and finite element simulations. Powder Technol 235:192-202
  62. Somasundram IM, Cendrowicz A, Johns ML, Prajapati B, Wilson DI (2010) 2-D simulation of wick debinding for ceramic parts in close proxim­ity. Chem Eng Sci 65: 5990-6000
  63. Gorjan L, Dakskobler A (2010) Partial wick-debinding of low-pressure powder injection-moulded ceramic parts. J Eur Ceram Soc 30: 3013-3021
  64. Somasundram IM, Cendrowicz A, Wilson DI, Johns ML (2008) Phenomenological study and modelling of wick debinding. Chem Eng Sci 63: 3802-3809
  65. Song J, Barriere T, Liu B, Gelin JC (2007) Nu­merical simulation of sintering process in ceramic powder injection moulded components. AIP Conf Proc 908: 1111-1116
  66. Mamen B, Song J, Barriere T, Gelin JC (2015) Experimental and numerical analysis of the par­ticle size effect on the densification behaviour of metal injection moulded tungsten parts during sintering. Powder Technol 270: 230-243
  67. Blaine DC, German RM (2002) Sintering simula­tion of PIM stainless steel. Adv PM Part 10: 10- 255
  68. Lam YC, Chen X, Tam KC, Yu SCM (2003) Sim­ulation of particle migration of powder-resin sys­tem in injection molding. J Manuf Sci Eng 125: 538-547
  69. Kwon YS, Wu Y, Suri P, German RM (2004) Sim­ulation of the sintering densification and shrink­age behavior of powder-injection-molded 17-4 PH stainless steel. Metall Mater Trans A 35: 257- 263
  70. Kong X, Quinard C, Barriere T, Gelin JC, Michel G (2009) Miniaturization & Nanopowders: Micro Injection Molding of 316L Stainless Steel Feed­stock and Numerical Simulations. In European Congress and Exhibition on Powder Metallurgy, European PM Conference Proceedings (p. 1)
  71. Song J, Gelin JC, Barrière T, Liu B (2006) Ex­periments and numerical modelling of solid state sintering for 316L stainless steel components. J Mater Process Tech 177: 352-355
  72. Wu Y, Blaine D, Schlaefer C, Marx B, German RM (2002) Sintering densification and micro­structural evolution of injection molding grade 17-4 PH stainless steel powder. Metall Mater Trans A 33: 2185-2194
  73. German RM (2002) Computer modeling of sin­tering processes. Int J Powder Metall 38:48–66
  74. Gasik M, Zhang BA (2000) Constitutive model and FE simulation for the sintering process of powder compacts. Comput Mater Sci 18: 93-101
  75. Bordia RK, Scherer GW (1988) On constrained sintering-II. Comparison of constitutive models. Acta Metall 36: 2399-2409
  76. Song J, Barriere T, Liu B, Gelin JC, Michel G (2010) Experimental and numerical analysis on sintering behaviours of injection moulded com­ponents in 316L stainless steel powder. Powder Metall 53: 295-304
  77. Sahli M, Lebied A, Gelin J-C, Barrière T, Necib B (2015) Numerical simulation and experimental analysis of solid-state sintering response of 316 L stainless steelmicro-parts manufactured by met­al injection molding. Int J Adv Manuf Tech 79: 2079–2092