Highly porous 316L stainless steel samples with 70 vol.% porosity were manufactured using water leaching and sintering methods. Irregular carbamide powders were used as a space holder material. Complete removal of carbamide from the green compact and the desired macro-pore framework were achieved by water leaching at room temperature. The macro-pore framework remained nearly unchanged after sintering. It was shown that the pore shape, size and distribution could be controlled with this water leaching and sintering process. (c) 2006 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.