Metal Powder Production
Various powder production processes allow precise control of the chemical composition and physical characteristics of powders and allow tailoring of specific attributes for targeted applications. Metal powders are produced by either mechanical methods or chemical methods. The commonly used mechanical methods include water and gas atomization, milling, mechanical alloying, and electrolysis. Some chemical methods include reduction of oxides. This article provides information on the reliable techniques for powder characterization and testing to evaluate the chemical and physical properties of metal powders, both as individual particles and in bulk forms.
Atomization is the dominant method for producing metal and prealloyed powders from aluminum, brass, iron, low-alloy steels, stainless steels, tool steels, superalloys, titanium alloys, and other alloys. The general types of atomization processes encompass a number of industrial and research methods. This article describes the key process variables and production factors for the industrial methods: two-fluid, centrifugal, vacuum or soluble-gas, and ultrasonic atomization. It also reviews the effect of atomization methods and process variables on key powder characteristics such as the average particle size, particle size distribution or screen analysis, particle shape, chemical composition, and microstructure.