An In-Depth Guide to Al 3004 Powder

Overview of Al 3004 Powder

Al 3004 powder is an aluminum alloy powder that contains approximately 1% manganese and 0.25% magnesium. It is known for its good corrosion resistance, moderate strength, and excellent workability.

This versatile alloy powder has a wide range of applications across various industries like aerospace, automotive, marine, construction, and general engineering. Its properties make it suitable for complex fabrication and welding operations.

Some key properties and uses of Al 3004 powder include:

Properties and Characteristics of Al 3004 Powder

PropertiesDetails
CompositionAluminum with 1% Manganese, 0.25% Magnesium
Density2.73 g/cm3
Melting PointApproximately 630°C
ColorSilver-gray metallic
Particle ShapeSpherical, granular
Typical Size Range15-180 microns
FlowabilityExcellent due to spherical shape
CompressibilityGood
SinterabilityExcellent

Applications and Uses of Al 3004 Powder

ApplicationsDetails
Additive ManufacturingUsed in DMLS, SLM, and EBM 3D printing processes
Metal Injection MoldingBinder jetting, extrusion, injection molding
Thermal SprayingWire arc spraying, plasma transferred arc welding
Welding WiresGMAW and GTAW welding electrode filler
Plastic Thermal SprayingFlame sprayed coatings on plastics
PigmentsAluminum powder pigments and paints

Specifications and Standards for Al 3004 Powder

SpecsDetails
ASTM StandardASTM B801, ASTM B964
ISO StandardISO 1338, ISO 2233
European StandardsEN 10204 3.1, DIN 1725
Particle Size-325 mesh (<45 microns)
Apparent Density~1.2 g/cm3
Tap DensityUp to 2.5 g/cm3
Flow Rate25-35 s/50g
Compressibility30-40%
Hausner Ratio1.25-1.4
Al 3004 Powder

How Is Al 3004 Powder Produced?

Al 3004 alloy powder is manufactured through the atomization process where molten aluminum alloy is turned into a fine powder.

The production steps are:

  • Melting – Aluminum scrap, ingots, or billets are melted in a furnace at around 700°C. Magnesium and manganese are added to achieve the 3004 composition.
  • Degassing – The molten metal is degassed using argon or nitrogen to remove dissolved hydrogen gas. This improves powder quality.
  • Atomization – The liquid aluminum is poured into a special atomizing unit where it is broken into fine droplets by a high pressure gas or water jet.
  • Powder Collection – The atomized alloy powder is cooled and collected in a chamber beneath the atomization unit. Particle size classification is carried out.
  • Sieving – The powder is sieved to achieve the desired mesh range like -325 mesh for AM uses.
  • Packaging – The finished Al 3004 powder is packaged in drums or bottles for shipment to customers. Proper dry storage is necessary.

Key Al 3004 Powder Manufacturers

Some leading global suppliers of Al 3004 gas atomized powders include:

  • HPPM – Finland
  • Sandvik Osprey – UK
  • TLS Technik – Germany
  • HC Starck – Germany
  • Pometon SpA – Italy
  • Fukuda Metal Foil & Powder Co – Japan

Global Supply and Availability

Al 3004 alloy powders are widely available globally from stock with short lead times. Custom particle size distributions and high purity grades are also available on request. Asia and Europe are major manufacturing hubs supplying this material.

Properties and Performance of Al 3004 Powder

Mechanical Properties

Al 3004 has moderate strength with high ductility and excellent formability in the annealed temper condition. Key mechanical properties include:

  • Ultimate Tensile Strength – 190 to 240 MPa
  • Yield Strength – 110 to 185 MPa
  • Elongation – 8 to 20%
  • Hardness – 55 to 65 HB

It can be work hardened to increase strength. Solution treatment or aging can also enhance mechanical performance.

Physical Properties

PropertyDetails
Density2.73 g/cm3
Melting Point630°C
Electrical Conductivity35% IACS
Thermal Conductivity130 W/m-K
CTE23 x 10-6 K-1
Modulus of Elasticity70 GPa

Corrosion Resistance

Al 3004 powder has very good corrosion resistance due to the manganese and magnesium content. It offers better protection compared to pure aluminum in many environments.

  • Excellent resistance to atmospheric corrosion
  • Very good resistance to marine atmospheres
  • Moderate resistance to chemical environments
  • Susceptible to strong alkalis

It can be anodized to further improve surface properties. Appropriate surface treatments are recommended for optimal performance.

Weldability

Al 3004 has excellent weldability by all commercial methods. It is extensively used as filler wire. No special techniques are required. Post-weld heat treatment may be done to obtain optimal properties.

Applications of Al 3004 Powder

Additive Manufacturing

A major use of Al 3004 powder is in additive manufacturing like direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) and electron beam melting (EBM). Key advantages:

  • Good flow and spreadability ensures uniform layers
  • Achieves over 99% densification in sintering
  • Moderate strength allows larger unsupported structures
  • Excellent surface finish possible up to 10 μm
  • Heat treatable to increase tensile strength up to 400 MPa

Al 3004 is ideal for parts like aerospace components, automotive prototypes, tooling inserts, marine hardware, and architectural models.

Metal Injection Molding

Al 3004 powder is suitable for metal injection molding of small, complex, net-shape components in high volumes.

  • Extrusion and binder jetting viable
  • Allows MIM of highly precise parts with thinner walls and superior mechanical properties
  • Used to injection mold parts like gears, nozzles, and other high performance components

Thermal Spraying

Flame spraying, wire arc spraying and plasma transferred arc welding methods extensively use Al 3004 wire for coatings.

  • Provides excellent corrosion protection with moderate hardness
  • Dense coatings with very good adhesive strength
  • Used for part repair and to combat sliding wear, fretting, and abrasion

Welding Alloys

Al 3004 is widely used as filler wire and welding electrode for joining aluminum due to its excellent fusion properties and corrosion resistance.

  • Used for GTAW and GMAW processes
  • Can fill gaps and bridge differences in base materials
  • Ideal for repair welding of cast aluminum parts
  • Used for welding heat exchangers, ship parts, storage tanks, etc.

Pigments

Al 3004 powder’s silver metallic color, brightness, and safety make it ideal for paint and pigment applications.

  • Used in solvent-based and water-based paints
  • Provides excellent brightness and metallic effects
  • Eco-friendly alternative to lead and zinc pigments
  • Common uses in automotive coatings, road marking paints, industrial paints
Al 3004 Powder

How to Choose an Al 3004 Powder Supplier

Choosing a reliable Al 3004 powder supplier is critical to get high quality material. Here are key factors to consider:

Relevant Experience

  • Years of experience producing Al 3004 gas atomized powders
  • Expertise in quality control and sieving technology
  • Proven track record of supplying to AM industry

Quality Systems

  • ISO 9001 and AS9100 certified
  • Raw material traceability and lot recall systems
  • Statistical process control and sampling
  • Sophisticated in-house powder characterization

Technical Capabilities

  • Ability to customize particle size distributions and achieve narrow ranges
  • Capacity for high purity grades – Low oxygen, moisture and gasses
  • Stringent chemical analysis, sieving consistency and tap density

Responsiveness

  • Readily available small trial samples
  • Fast turnaround on custom orders
  • Close technical collaboration for custom projects

Logistics Network

  • Warehouses near manufacturing hubs
  • Speedy delivery across regions
  • Conformance to hazardous goods shipping regulations

How to Install, Operate, and Maintain Al 3004 Powder

Proper handling and storage of Al 3004 powder is critical to preserving quality. Recommendations include:

Installation

  • Carefully transfer powder from shipping drums into storage hoppers or equipment powder beds.
  • Ensure transfer equipment is grounded to avoid static buildup.
  • Level and distribute powder evenly across build platform.
  • Follow OEM equipment guidelines for loading procedures.

Operation

  • Maintain a consistent powder bed temperature as per application requirements.
  • Use appropriate inert gases like argon to avoid oxidation.
  • Control moisture levels at all times during processing and reuse.
  • Clean overflow powder from filters to reuse.

Maintenance

  • Store powder in a dry, inert environment below 30°C temperature.
  • Periodically re-sieve stored powder to ensure size distribution.
  • Discard powder packages after 2 years due to deterioration.
  • Avoid contamination – Use stainless steel containers and handling tools.

Safety

  • Wear gloves, eye protection and dust mask when handling powder.
  • Ground all equipment and take measures against static discharge.
  • Follow SDS and local regulations for combustible metallic powder storage and transport.

Choosing Between Al 3004 vs Alternatives

Vs 5xxx Series Alloys

5xxx alloys like 5083 have higher magnesium content imparting higher strength but lower weldability. Al 3004 has better corrosion resistance suited for marine applications.

Vs 6xxx Series Alloys

6xxx alloys contain silicon along with magnesium resulting in heat treatability and higher strength but poorer bending formability. Al 3004 is easier to fabricate and weld.

Vs 2xxx Series Alloys

2xxx alloys with copper have the highest strength but lowest corrosion resistance. Al 3004 provides a better balance of moderate strength and excellent corrosion protection.

Vs Pure Aluminum

Pure aluminum grades like 1050 are softer and very ductile but have lower strength and worse corrosion resistance than Al 3004.

Vs Steel

Al 3004 is far lighter in weight than steel. It is also better for cold temperatures but has lower hardness and wear resistance than steel.

Al 3004 Powder

FAQ

Q: Is Al 3004 powder compatible with DMLS or SLM printing?

A: Yes, Al 3004 is an excellent alloy powder for DMLS and SLM additive manufacturing with its good flowability and high densification. Particle size can be customized as per printer requirements.

Q: What is the typical price range of Al 3004 powder?

A: Al 3004 powder costs between $15-30 per kg depending on quantity and particle size. High purity grades and custom distributions cost more. Asia manufacturers offer competitive pricing.

Q: What particle size is best for thermal spraying?

A: For wire arc spraying, a coarse powder between 45-106 microns is preferred. Finer powders under 45 microns are more suitable for flame spraying applications.

Q: Can Al 3004 powder be heat treated?

A: Yes, Al 3004 can be solution heat treated and artificially aged to significantly enhance its mechanical properties like tensile strength. Temper designations like T4 and T6 apply after heat treating.

Q: Is Al 3004 weldable?

A: Al 3004 has excellent weldability by all methods. It is commonly used as filler wire for GTAW and GMAW welding of 2xxx and 7xxx series aluminum alloys when strength is not critical.

Q: What are common applications of Al 3004?

A: Key applications include additive manufacturing, metal injection molding of small complex parts, welding wires, thermal spray coatings, aluminum pigments, and corrosion resistant marine and automotive components.

Q: What is the difference between Al 3003 and Al 3004 alloy?

A: Al 3003 contains 0.05% copper instead of 0.25% magnesium in 3004. 3003 has slightly higher strength while 3004 offers better corrosion resistance. Both have excellent workability.

Q: Does Al 3004 powder require special storage?

A: Al 3004 powder should be stored in sealed containers in a cool, dry environment below 30°C. Take precautions against moisture and oxygen contamination during long term storage. Re-sieve occasionally.

Q: Can Al 3004 powder be reused?

A: Yes, unused powder can be collected through filters and sieved to remove large particles prior to reuse. But reuse should be limited to avoid contamination issues affecting quality and performance.

know more 3D printing processes

Share This Post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Table of Contents

Most Popular

Get In Touch

Get in touch with us

On Key

Related Posts

TA15 Titanium Alloy Powder

TA15 Titanium Alloy Powder

In the realm of advanced materials, titanium alloys reign supreme for their exceptional blend of strength, weightlessness, and resilience. But within this metallic kingdom, TA15 titanium alloy powder stands out

Read More »
Ti-6Al-4V Powder

Ti-6Al-4V Powder

Imagine a material that’s incredibly strong yet surprisingly lightweight, shrugging off corrosion like a seasoned warrior. That’s the magic of Ti-6Al-4V powder, a game-changer in the world of advanced manufacturing.

Read More »
pure aluminum powder

pure aluminum powder

Imagine a metal so light it floats, yet strong enough to be a crucial component in rockets and explosives. That’s the fascinating world of pure aluminum powder, a versatile material

Read More »
AlSi7Mg Powder

AlSi7Mg Powder

Imagine building complex, high-strength components with incredible detail, all while keeping weight to a minimum. That’s the magic of AlSi7Mg powder, a revolutionary material taking the world of additive manufacturing

Read More »
small_c_popup.png

Let's have a chat

Get In Touch With Us