2011 Volume 51 Issue 6 Pages 906-912
The effects of firing and reduction conditions on swelling and iron whisker growth were investigated. The iron oxide compacts sintered in air were reduced in the tubular high temperature reactor by carbon monoxide or hydrogen. The experimental results showed that catastrophic swelling was suppresed by increasing the firing temperature or the firing time at moderate firing temperatures. The severest swelling happened in the reduction temperature of 900–1000°C with carbon monoxide. No catastrophic swelling was observed when hydrogen was used as the reducing gas. The SEM micrographs showed that catastrophic swelling was caused by a large amount of long whiskers formed during the reduction. The number of nucleation sites of whisker growth was limited when the firing temperature was increased above 1000°C, which also suppressed catastrophic swelling. On the basis of exprimental data and SEM results, a conceptual diagram was formulated to describe the effects of firing and reduction conditions on iron whisker growth and swelling.