Atomized Metal Powder

Atomized metal powder is a form of metal produced by atomization, a process that turns molten metal into very fine powder. This powder has unique properties that make it useful across various industries and applications.

Overview of Atomized Metal Powder

Atomized metal powder is characterized by:

  • Very fine particle size, usually under 100 microns
  • Large surface area
  • Flowability
  • Ability to be compacted into high density parts
  • Consistency in composition
  • Spheroidal particle shape

These properties allow atomized powders to be used in various metal processes like metal injection molding, additive manufacturing, and pressing and sintering. The fine size and shape contribute to improved performance.

Atomized metal powders come in a wide variety of alloys including:

  • Steel
  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Nickel
  • Titanium
  • Precious metals

They are commonly used for automotive parts, cutting tools, structural components, electrical contacts, magnets, jewelry, and more.

Atomized Metal Powder Types

TypeDescriptionCompositionParticle SizeShape
FerrousMade of iron, steel alloysStainless steel, alloy steel, tool steel10-150 μmSpherical
Non-ferrousMade of non-iron metalsCopper, aluminum, titanium alloys5-250 μmRounded
PreciousMade of precious metalsSilver, gold, platinum1-100 μmSpherical

Key Properties

Atomized metal powders have unique properties that make them advantageous for manufacturing:

  • High purity: Controlled composition without contaminants
  • Consistency: Narrow particle size distribution
  • Shape: Mostly spherical for good flow and packing
  • Density: Can compact to near full density when pressed
  • Reactivity: Large surface area allows improved sintering

Common Applications

Atomized metal powder is used across many industries:

  • Automotive: Engine parts, gears, bearings
  • Aerospace: Turbine blades, airplane fittings
  • Medical: Dental implants, prosthetics
  • Additive manufacturing: 3D printing powders
  • Jewelry: Precious metal powder for making jewelry
atomized metal powder

Composition of Atomized Metal Powder

Atomized powders come in a wide variety of metal alloys with tailored compositions to achieve certain properties. Some common compositions include:

Steel Atomized Powders

TypeMain Alloy ElementsExample Compositions
Stainless steelFe, Cr, Ni304, 316, 420
Tool steelFe, Cr, V, MoH13, M2
Alloy steelFe, Mn, C, Cr, Ni4140, 4340

Non-Ferrous Metal Powders

TypeMain Alloy ElementsExample Compositions
AluminumAl, Cu, Mg, Si6061, 7075
CopperCu, Sn, PC11000, C17200
NickelNi, Cr, Fe, MoInconel 625, Monel 400
TitaniumTi, Al, V, SnTi-6Al-4V, Ti-6Al-2Sn-4Zr-6Mo

Manufacturers can customize compositions as needed for required properties. Powders also contain trace additives (<1%) like boron, zirconium, and carbon to enhance sintering, strength, or other qualities.

Atomized Metal Powder Composition Specifications

ParameterDescriptionRange
Main elementsMajor alloying elementsVaries by alloy type
Minor elementsTrace elements added< 1% by weight
Oxygen contentOxygen picked up during atomization<0.5% by weight
Moisture contentResidual moisture after production<0.1% by weight
Apparent densityPowder packing density40-65% of material density

Compositions are verified by spectrographic analysis and other methods. Custom blends possible.

Properties of Atomized Metal Powder

The unique properties of atomized metal powder make it well suited to industry applications:

Physical Properties

PropertyDescriptionImportance
Particle shapeMostly sphericalImproves powder flow and packing
Particle size10 – 150 μm typicallyAffects reactivity, density, surface finish
Particle size distributionNarrow distributionAllows homogeneous mixing and compacting
Apparent densityLoose powder densityImpacts quantity measurement
Tap densitySettled powder densityIndicates compressibility
Flow ratePowder flowabilityImportant for automated processing
Specific surface areaParticle surface area per unit weightDetermines reactivity and sintering response

Mechanical Properties

PropertyDescriptionImportance
HardnessResistance to deformationNeeded for wear resistance
StrengthTensile and yield strengthRequired for load bearing applications
DuctilityAbility to deform before fracturingImpacts durability and toughness
PorosityTiny holes in compacted partsReduces with increased pressing density

Properties are controlled through strict composition standards and manufacturing protocols.

Characteristics of Atomized Metal Powder

Atomized powders have unique characteristics that dictate performance:

Particle Size

  • Typical range is 10-150 microns
  • Narrow distribution ensures uniformity
  • Finer sizes improve density and surface finish
  • Coarser sizes improve flow and permeability

Particle Shape

  • Predominantly spherical morphology
  • Enhances powder flow and compaction
  • Produced by disruptive forces during atomization

Surface Morphology

  • Relatively smooth particle surface
  • Has satiny metallic luster
  • Surface imperfections increase with larger sizes
  • Some satellites possible

Internal Structure

  • Homogeneous phases
  • Consistent chemistry throughout
  • Composition verified by sampling
  • Lack of porosity or voids

Controlling these particle attributes allows customization of powder behavior.

Atomized Metal Powder Characteristics Specifications

ParameterDescriptionTypical Range
Particle sizeDiameter of powder particles10 – 150 μm
Size distributionSpan of particle sizes±40 μm from average
Particle shapeGeometry of powderSphericity >90%
Surface textureSmooth or rough surfaceModerate glossy
Apparent densityHow loosely powder packs40-65% of true density
Tap densitySettled density after vibration55-72% of true density
Flow ratePowder flow speed25-35 s/50 g
Oxide contentSurface oxides from production<1% by weight

Applications and Uses of Atomized Metal Powder

Thanks to its unique properties, atomized metal powder has many uses across industries:

Automotive

  • Gears
  • Bearings
  • Connecting rods
  • Supercharger rotors

Aerospace

  • Turbine blades
  • Structural parts
  • Aircraft fittings

Additive Manufacturing

  • 3D printing powders
  • Binder jet printing
  • Selective laser sintering

Industrial

  • Cutting tools
  • Drill bits
  • Welding rods
  • Permanent magnets

Medical & Dental

  • Dental implants
  • Medical implants
  • Surgical instruments

Electronics

  • Conductive contacts
  • Resistors
  • Cores and terminations

Luxury Goods

  • Jewelry
  • Decorative hardware
  • Luxury pens
  • Coins

Atomized metal powder provides the performance, consistency and precision needed in advanced manufacturing across industries.

Suppliers and Pricing of Atomized Metal Powder

There are many suppliers offering various metal powder varieties:

Major Atomized Metal Powder Companies

CompanyLocationMaterials OfferedDescription
HöganäsSwedenIron, stainless, alloysGlobal leader in metal powders
SandvikSwedenStainless, superalloys, titaniumLeading atomization technology
Rio Tinto Metal PowdersCanadaAluminum, nickel, ironDiverse alloy atomization
CRS HoldingsUSACopper and copper alloysSpecializes in copper powder
Advanced Powders & CoatingsUSARefractory metals, superalloysHigh performance alloys

Pricing depends on alloy composition, quality standards, particle size, and order volume:

Atomized Metal Powder Pricing

MaterialAlloy TypeParticle SizePrice per kg
Stainless steel316L15-45 μm$12-18
Tool steelH1310-100 μm$15-25
Aluminum alloy606145-150 μm$8-15
Nickel alloyInconel 71810-45 μm$50-150
Titanium alloyTi-6Al-4V15-45 μm$80-220

Prices decrease significantly with order size. Custom alloys are also available.

Pros vs Cons of Atomized Metal Powder

Atomized powder has some clear advantages but also limitations:

Advantages

  • Consistency in composition and properties
  • Near full density achievable
  • Excellent mechanical characteristics
  • High production rate by atomization
  • Used in advanced manufacturing methods

Disadvantages

  • Higher cost than conventional manufacturing
  • Limited to smaller part sizes
  • Post processing often required
  • Some porosity possible in finished pieces
  • Restricted number of alloys and volumes

The benefits often offset the downsides for industries demanding precision, performance, and state-of-the-art materials.

How Atomized Metal Powder is Made

Metal powders are produced through atomization technology. The processes involve:

Steps in Atomized Metal Powder Production

Melting

  • Metals are charged into an inert furnace (vacuum or with protective gas)
  • Heating above liquidus temperature to melt the metals
  • Precise control of temperature, time cycles

Alloying

  • Additional elements like carbon or boron are dissolved into molten bath
  • Achieves target chemical composition for the alloy

Coarse Filtering

  • Ceramic foam filters remove inclusions and large contaminants
  • Reduces defects in final atomized powder

Atomization

  • Pressurized inert gas disintegrates molten metal into fine droplets
  • Various nozzle designs for specialized atomization
  • Different gases yield distinct powder characteristics

Powder Collection

  • Inert gas carries powder to collection system
  • Cyclone separators retain fine powder particles
  • Prevent oxidation from exposure to air

Screening

  • Multi-step classification system separates particle sizes
  • Achieves narrow distribution of powder fractions

Conditioning

  • Degassing, drying, or lubricant mixing done if needed
  • Removes adsorbed gases or moisture before further processing

The inert environment, specialized equipment, and comprehensive controls result in high purity, spherical, precise metal powders ready for commercial applications.

Metal Powder Atomization Methods

There are several technical variations for atomizing molten metal alloys into powders:

Atomization Methods

MethodDetailsParticle SizeShape
Gas atomizationUses high pressure inert gas5-250 μmMostly spherical
Water atomizationBreakup with water jets50-1000 μmIrregular rugged
Vacuum atomizationMolten stream into vacuum chamber50-150 μmCoarser spherical
Centrifugal atomizationSpinning disk disperses metal50-1000 μmMore irregular

Gas atomization is widely used today given its fine sizes and spherical particle morphology. But other variations serve specialized applications like precious metals or particular alloys and conditions. The atomization technique impacts powder characteristics significantly.

Standards for Atomized Metal Powder

Various standards apply to atomized metal powders:

Powder Quality Standards

StandardPurposeKey Criteria
MPIF Standard 35Ferrous powder specificationsChemistry, particle size distribution, apparent density
MPIF Standard 45Non-ferrous powder standardsParticle characteristics, impurity limits
ISO 4490-1Nickel and iron powders classificationMethodology to quantify powder attributes
ASTM B602Metal powder characterization testsTap density, flow rate, compressibility methods
ASTM B215Sampling proceduresPowder sampling techniques

These help define product specifications, testing protocols, classification systems, quality control and more. Both global and material-specific standards apply.

Powder Production Standards

StandardPurposeKey Criteria
ISO 9001Quality managementAdministration, supplier standards, traceability
ISO 14000Environmental managementEnergy use, waste reduction, conservation
OHSAS 18001Occupational health/safetyExposure controls, safety equipment and training
ISO 17025Laboratory practicesMethods, assaying procedures, calibration protocols

Powders also adhere to various company-specific quality certifications. Review all specifications before sourcing a product.

3d printing powder suppliers

FAQ

What are the benefits of atomized metal powder?

Atomized powder provides extremely consistent composition, particle characteristics, high purity, and performance properties demanded by advanced manufacturing techniques.

What precision can be obtained with atomized metal parts?

Precision within 0.1 mm is possible for small production runs of under 100 parts. However, precision declines above 250 parts and tolerances over ±0.5 mm are more realistic.

What effects does atomization have on metal microstructure?

The rapid solidification during atomization generates finer grains and extends solid solubility limits. This allows unique alloys and properties. But it also causes higher internal stresses.

What alloys are available with atomized powder?

Hundreds of steel, aluminum, copper, nickel, titanium, and precious alloys are produced as atomized powder today. Both common commercial alloys as well as high performance grades for aerospace, energy, electrical and other sectors are available. Custom alloys can also be atomized on request.

What is the typical supply chain for atomized metal powder?

Most major metal powder companies manufacture powder directly in their vertically integrated mills before passing through distributors to end users like part fabricators or 3D printing service bureaus. Some distributors may stock select commodity grades readily but custom orders can take months. Plan procurement cycles accordingly based on internal usage forecasts.

Is recycled metal powder available?

Yes, recycling programs are offered for many common alloys and Laser Powder Bed printing powders. The used powder is reconditioned to remove contamination before being re-atomized and resold. However, properties won’t match virgin material. Recycled powder is cheaper but best suited to prototype development versus production.

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

wear resistance powder

Low-Alloy Steels Powder

Low-alloy steels powder is a vital material in modern manufacturing, offering a blend of versatility and strength that makes it a preferred choice for a wide range of applications. From

Read More »
diffusion alloy powder

Dual-Phase Alloy Powder

Welcome to the fascinating world of dual-phase alloy powder! Whether you’re a materials scientist, an engineer, or just someone curious about advanced materials, this guide is designed to inform, teach,

Read More »

High Purity Iron Powder

High purity iron powder is a crucial material in various industries, known for its exceptional quality and performance. In this extensive guide, we’ll delve into everything you need to know

Read More »
Metal Injection Molding

Advanced Materials

Overview of Advanced Materials Advanced materials are the cutting-edge of material science, comprising high-performance substances designed to meet the rigorous demands of modern technology and industrial applications. These materials exhibit

Read More »
small_c_popup.png

Let's have a chat

Get In Touch With Us