Gas atomization is one method of producing metal alloys powders. It is the act of reducing a liquid metal stream to small droplets using high-speed, airflow. Then it solidifies into powder. Because of its high purity and low oxygen content and controllable particle size, powder manufacturing has been a major development area for high-performance alloy and specialty powder preparation technologies.
Laminar flow Atomization Technology
German companies proposed the laminar-atomization technique. The technology offers significant advantages over conventional nozzles. It has an improved atomizing mechanism that produces high atomization efficiency and narrow powder particle size distribution. The cooling speed is 106-107K/s. The atomization pressure is 2.0MPa. Copper, aluminum, and 316L steel are all acceptable. When the atomization pressure is 2.0MPa, the copper, aluminum and 316L stainless are produced. It has several disadvantages. For example, it is hard to control the process, unstable and produces a small amount of metal (a metal flow rate below 1kg/min), which makes this not suited for industrial production.
Ultrasonic tightly-coupled atomization technology
The structure of an ultrasonic close coupled atomizer is optimized using Ultrasonic Close-Coupled Atomization Technology. This allows the outflow velocity to exceed the speed of sound and increases the mass flow rate. The powder’s average size is about 20 m. This can occur when atomizing high-surface energy metals such as stainless.
The technology can be used to produce either amorphous and fast cooling powders. The current technology represents the next development of closely coupled atomization technology. This equipment can be used extensively in metals like iron, copper and nickel as well as magnetic and hydrogen storage.
The effects and mechanisms of hot gas-atomization have been the subject of extensive research by a US company. To atomize the silver alloy, and gold alloy at a pressure of 1.72MPa, a US company heated the gas up to 200 to 400°C. They found that the average particle size decreased and the standard deviation increased. The hot gas atomization technique can be more effective than conventional atomization technologies, decrease gas consumption and is easier to apply on existing atomization equipment. The technology is promising.
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