Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP) has been used for many years to consolidate porosity in cast metal shapes to improve mechanical properties. When the technique is applied to fine metal powders, it becomes possible to produce Near Net Shape (NNS) items and more complex geometry components that are fully dense and offer an attractive set of properties and reduced cost. Manufacture of NNS items from powder delivers cost savings by reducing initial material usage and subsequent machining costs. Powder production and HIP processing are automated methods, which also provide protection against forging route obsolescence. Setup costs are lower and smaller batch sizes possible. HIPped powder microstructures are isotropic and equi-axed, with uniformly fine grain sizes not normally achieved in heavy section components. In austenitic stainless steel materials, this provides significant improvements in ultrasonic NDE (Non-Destructive Examination) in thick sections. Use of the technology has grown, particularly in the off-shore oil industry where it is already established in high integrity applications, but take-up in the more conservative nuclear industry has been slow. In a broad programme of testing, Rolls-Royce has established that HIPped powder 316L components, in items up to several tons in weight, have equivalent or slightly better strength, toughness and corrosion properties across a wide range of test environments. A methodology for developing robust safety justifications for use has been developed. Manufacture of pressure seal components is now in progress and the economics of other applications such as pump bowls are being considered. The quality of HIPped powder items can provide through life cost savings since there is greater assurance of structural integrity compared to welded or wrought components.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.