Metal Injection Molding | What Types of Metals Can Be Used in MIM?

Table of Contents
Definition of Metal Injection Molding (MIM)
Importance of metal selection in MIM
Considerations in MIM Material Selection
Stainless Steel MIM materials
Low-Alloy Steels
Tool Steels
Titanium MIM materials
Tungsten MIM materials
Magnetic Alloys
Copper MIM materials
Why Choose Neway For MIM Manufacturing

Definition of Metal Injection Molding (MIM)

Metal injection molding (MIM) is an advanced powder metal injection molding (PMIM) manufacturing process that produces small, complex metal parts to tight tolerances and high densities. In MIM, metal powders are combined with polymer binders to create a feedstock material that can be injected into molds using plastic injection molding techniques. After molding, the binders are removed through debinding of MIM parts, and the metallic component is sintered at high temperatures to fuse the particles into a solid metal part.

Importance of metal selection in MIM

Metal selection is crucial in metal injection molding as it fundamentally impacts feedstock properties, molding behavior, debinding, sintering characteristics, final part properties, and secondary operations. The specific alloy composition and powder morphology drive important factors like densification, shrinkage, mechanical performance, machinability, corrosion resistance, cost, and more through every step of the MIM process. Components must be designed around the capabilities and limitations of the MIM materials chosen, making metal selection a foundational choice in any MIM application.

Considerations in MIM Material Selection

Choosing a suitable material is crucial in metal injection molding. Key considerations include mechanical properties, corrosion resistance, cost, moldability, machinability, sintering behavior, and regulatory compliance. The ideal alloy will balance processability, performance, and cost.

Mechanical properties: Strength, flexibility, hardness, Etc., must match the application requirements. Alloying additions can tailor properties as needed.

Corrosion resistance: Materials like stainless steel MIM and nickel alloys provide excellent corrosion resistance crucial for long-term use in harsh environments.

Wear resistance: Hard tungsten MIM alloys or stainless steels with carbides better resist wear in high abrasion applications like automotive components.


Magnetic properties: Using ferromagnetic alloys enables magnetic capabilities essential for components like soft magnets and motors.

Biocompatibility: Implant-grade titanium MIM or cobalt-chromium alloys are biocompatible for medical devices interacting with the body.

Cost: Low-cost alloy powders like stainless steel MIM help control component costs in high-volume production.

Sintering shrinkage: Alloys prone to excessive shrinkage can result in out-of-tolerance dimensions after sintering MIM parts.

Molding characteristics: Powder shape and size distribution significantly affect feedstock viscosity and moldability.

Debinding MIM: Some reactive alloy powders are susceptible to defects during binder removal.

Machinability: Softer, more machinable alloys simplify secondary finishing operations.

Regulatory compliance: Aviation and medical alloys may require stringent certification for regulated applications.

Stainless Steel MIM materials

Stainless steel MIM is widely used in metal injection molding due to its excellent corrosion resistance, high strength, and good elasticity. It exhibits superb mechanical properties, making it suitable for strength and durability applications.

Stainless Steel


Excellent corrosion resistance. High strength and hardness after heat treatment.

Biocompatible grades are used in medical applications. Widely used for small complex parts needing corrosion resistance.


17-4 PH





Properties and Characteristics:

  • Excellent corrosion resistance due to chromium content (10.5-30% Cr)

  • High strength and hardness depending on grade

  • Non-magnetic austenitic grades available

  • Can be precipitation hardened through heat treatment

  • More machinable than ferritic or martensitic stainless steels

  • Available in wrought or powder metallurgy grades

  • Densities around 7.7-8 g/cc

Applications in MIM:

  • Molding MIM parts for medical and dental instruments - high biocompatibility

  • Corrosion-resistant industrial components like valves and nozzles

  • Marine hardware exposed to saltwater environments

  • Food processing and pharmaceutical equipment need good hygiene

  • High-strength parts like hand tools and gears

  • Decorative and luxury products like jewelry and watches

  • Cost-effective substitution for titanium or cobalt alloys

Overall, stainless steel MIM is a versatile, corrosion-resistant, strong MIM alloy suitable for diverse applications, especially where cost is essential.

Low-Alloy Steels

Low-alloy steels balance strength and affordability, making them a popular choice in MIM. These steels contain small amounts of alloying elements such as chromium, molybdenum, and nickel, enhancing their mechanical properties. With their superior strength and wear resistance, low-alloy steel parts are commonly used in industrial machinery, firearms, and consumer electronics.

Low Alloy Steels

MIM 4605

After heat treatment, achieve high tensile and yield strengths—good toughness and ductility in heat-treated conditions.

They are used for high-strength structural components.

MIM 4140

MIM 4340

MIM 2700 (FN08)

MIM 2200 (Fe-2Ni)

MIM 52100

MIM 8620

MIM 9310

MIM 430L

Properties and Characteristics:

  • Contain small amounts of alloying elements like chromium, nickel, molybdenum

  • Achieve higher strength than carbon steel

  • Heat treatable to increase hardness and strength

  • More ductile than stainless steel

  • Typically ferromagnetic

  • Good machinability

  • Densities around 7.7-7.8 g/cc

  • Lower cost than stainless steel or exotic alloys

Applications in MIM:

  • Structural parts needing high strength, like auto components

  • Gears, cams, and other mechanisms

  • Consumer products like sporting goods and hand tools

  • High-wear resistance components

  • Military/firearm components requiring strength

  • Low-cost substitutes for machined steel parts

  • Components needing post-sintering heat treatment

Overall, low-alloy steels offer an affordable solution for heat-treatable, high-strength MIM parts while retaining good ductility and machinability. Their favorable properties and cost suit many commercial and consumer applications.

Tool Steels

Tool steels are specifically designed for their exceptional hardness, heat, and wear resistance. MIM commonly employs them to produce cutting tools, molds, and dies. The high hardness of tool steels ensures that these components maintain their shape and cutting edge even under demanding conditions.

Tool Steel


Excellent hardness, wear, and abrasion resistance.Dimensional stability and strength maintained at high temperatures

Used for small precision tooling components like inserts and dies





Properties and Characteristics:

  • High hardness, wear resistance, and hot strength

  • Achieved through high carbon and alloying elements like tungsten, molybdenum, chromium

  • Can be heat treated to very high hardness (>HRC60)

  • Low corrosion resistance compared to stainless steel

  • Tend to be more brittle than low-alloy steel

  • Challenging to sinter to the total density

  • Densities around 7.7-8.1 g/cc

Applications in MIM:

  • Cutting tools like drills, end mills, taps, dies

  • Mold inserts for injection molding or die casting

  • Stamping or forming tools

  • High-wear components like nozzles or punches

  • Parts needing high surface hardness, like gears

  • Low-volume production of tooling

  • Prototyping tooling before machining

Overall, MIM enables complex tool steel components to be produced cost-effectively in small volumes. The high hardness and wear resistance make tool steels ideal for cutting tools, molds, and other tooling applications. However, their brittleness can limit uses in structural components.

Titanium MIM materials

Titanium MIM and its alloys offer a unique combination of low weight, high strength, and exceptional corrosion resistance. In metal injection molding, titanium parts find applications in aerospace, biomedical implants, and sporting equipment. The ability to produce complex geometries through MIM enables the designing and manufacturing of lightweight yet robust titanium components.

Titanium Alloys

Ti-6Al-4V (Grade 5) 

High strength-to-weight ratio. Good high-temperature properties

Used widely in aerospace and medical implants

Properties and Characteristics:

  • Excellent strength-to-weight ratio

  • High corrosion and oxidation resistance

  • Bioinert and biocompatible making it ideal for medical uses

  • Low density around 4.5 g/cc

  • High cost compared to steel and aluminum

  • Reactive powder requiring controlled processing

  • Alloying with aluminum, vanadium, Etc. provides significant strengthening

  • Difficult to fully sinter and achieve high densities

Applications in MIM:

  • Molding MIM medical parts like biomedical implants and instruments leveraging biocompatibility

  • Aerospace and aviation components needing low weight

  • Corrosion-resistant valves, nozzles, and fluid system parts

  • High-performance sports equipment like bicycle frames

  • Luxury products like jewelry, watches, and eyeglasses

  • Cost-effective production of intricate titanium parts

Overall, MIM enables complex titanium parts for demanding applications, though cost and complete sintering remain challenges. The properties make it ideal where strength, low weight, and corrosion resistance are critical.

Tungsten MIM materials

Tungsten MIM and alloys exhibit remarkable strength at elevated temperatures, high density, and excellent corrosion resistance. These properties make them suitable for aerospace, defense, and medical applications. MIM allows for producing intricate tungsten components, including radiation shields and high-temperature furnace parts.

Heavy Alloys


Extremely high density, hardness

Used as counterweights, vibration-dampening weights


Properties and Characteristics:

  • Extremely high density, around 17-18 g/cc

  • The highest melting point of any metal (3400°C)

  • High strength at elevated temperatures

  • Very high hardness when alloyed

  • Good corrosion and wear resistance

  • Challenging to sinter and alloy fully

  • Alloying with nickel, iron, or cobalt improves sintering

Applications in MIM:

  • Molding MIM aerospace parts like radiation shielding components leveraging density

  • Counterweights requiring high density

  • Cutting tools, punches die need wear resistance

  • Ballast weights for aerospace and auto racing use

  • Vibration-damping components utilizing high density

  • Parts needing high-temperature properties

  • Substitutes for machined tungsten alloys when the cost is critical

Overall, tungsten's extraordinary density, strength, and hardness make it ideal for high-density and wear-resistance applications via MIM processing, though achieving total sintered density can prove challenging.

Magnetic Alloys

Magnetic alloys like iron, nickel, and cobalt are commonly used in MIM to produce components requiring magnetic properties. Tailoring alloying additions enables precise control over the final magnetic performance. MIM excels at fabricating intricate magnetic parts for electric motors, sensors, transformers, and other applications.


Fe-Ni Alloy

Tailored magnetic properties like high permeability and low core losses

Used in electronics components like inductors, relays, sensors

Fe-Si Alloy

Fe-Co Alloy

Properties and Characteristics:

  • Exhibit ferromagnetism enabling strong magnetic properties

  • Includes iron, nickel, and cobalt as key alloying elements

  • High permeability and saturation magnetization

  • Used in soft and hard magnet applications

  • Alloying additions tailor a magnetic performance

  • Must have controlled microstructure and porosity

  • Often require post-sintering heat treatment

  • Densities range from 7.5-8.5 g/cc

Applications in MIM:

  • Transformers, inductors, and electric motors

  • Solenoids, actuators, valves, and switches

  • Sensors utilizing soft magnetic responses

  • Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)

  • Magnetic tooling and holding fixtures

  • Magnet components for motorsports

  • Low energy loss magnetic cores

Overall, MIM enables the precise fabrication of complex magnetic components and devices not feasible by other methods. Careful control of alloy chemistry and microstructure is critical to achieve desired magnetic properties.

Copper MIM materials

Copper MIM and its alloys possess excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, making them ideal for applications in electrical and electronic industries. Copper-based MIM parts find use in connectors, switches, and heat sinks, where efficient heat dissipation or reliable electrical connections are essential.

Copper Alloys


Good corrosion resistance, electrical and thermal conductivity, Anti-friction performance

Used for electrical connectors, heat exchangers, fittings, bearings



Tungsten and Copper alloy

Properties and Characteristics:

  • Excellent electrical and thermal conductivity

  • Relatively soft and ductile

  • Low melting point compared to steel and titanium alloys

  • Susceptible to tarnishing and corrosion

  • Alloying with zinc (brass) or tin (bronze) increases the strength

  • High tarnish/corrosion resistance in some alloys

  • Densities around 8.5-9 g/cc

Applications in MIM:

  • Molding MIM electrical contacts and connectors

  • Friction disks and braking components need high wear resistance

  • Bearings and bushings requiring dimensional stability

  • Heat exchangers and heat sinks leveraging thermal conductivity

  • Decorative products like jewelry and fittings

  • Low-force transmission components like gears or cams

  • Cost-effective substitutes for machined copper alloy parts

Overall, copper MIM alloys' excellent conductivity and flexibility make them suitable for electrical, thermal, and moderate load-bearing applications. Alloying additions can tailor properties as needed.


When comparing MIM and die casting. Metal injection molding offers many possibilities for producing intricate metal parts with excellent mechanical properties and dimensional accuracy. The selection of MIM materials plays a crucial role in achieving the desired characteristics of the final parts. Stainless steel, titanium, tungsten, and copper are just a few examples of metals that can be used in MIM. The ability to mold MIM parts opens up opportunities in various industries, including medical, aerospace, and automotive components.

During the MIM process, the careful selection of metal powders is essential. The chosen metal powders are combined with polymer binders to form a feedstock material that can be quickly injected into molds. After molding, the binders are removed through debinding, and the remaining metal component is sintered to achieve the desired density and strength.

In MIM applications, stainless steel MIM is valued for its corrosion resistance, strength, and flexibility. It uses medical instruments, industrial components, marine hardware, and more. On the other hand, Titanium MIM offers a unique combination of low weight, high strength, and exceptional corrosion resistance, making it suitable for aerospace, medical, and sporting equipment applications.

Tungsten MIM materials exhibit high density, strength, and excellent corrosion resistance, making them ideal for aerospace, defense, and medical industries. Tungsten components produced through MIM include radiation shields and high-temperature furnace parts.

Copper MIM alloys, with their excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, find use in electrical and electronic industries for connectors, switches, and heat sinks.

The selection of the appropriate MIM material depends on various factors such as mechanical properties, corrosion resistance, cost, moldability, machinability, and regulatory compliance. Each material has its properties and characteristics, making it suitable for specific applications.

Why Choose Neway For MIM Manufacturing

Partnering with an experienced provider like Neway can offer significant MIM advantages if you are considering MIM for your manufacturing needs. With over 30 years of expertise in non-standard part manufacturing, Neway excels in metal injection molding, ceramic injection molding, plastic injection molding, precision casting, sheet metal processing, and rapid prototyping. Moreover, Neway's promotional activities in 2023 present a unique opportunity for new customers to experience their exceptional services with a tempting 20% discount on the first order. Leap and unlock the endless possibilities of MIM with Neway!

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