There are many methods to produce metal powders from precious metals and alloys such as titanium, aluminium, stainless steel, iron, copper, nickel base alloys and cobalt base alloys. Atomization is generally viewed as the best way due to the geometrical properties of the powder particles that can be achieved and thus is ideal for further usage in additive manufacturing. For gas atomization, water atomization and direct reduction, appropriate gases and gas technologies are required:
- Gas atomization: argon and nitrogen
- Water atomization followed by oxide reduction under hydrogen atmosphere
Making quality metal powder
In the atomization process the metal melted alloys are first refined and degassed, then poured into a gas nozzle, where the liquid material is disintegrated into metal powder by a high-pressure gas stream. Gases such as argon, nitrogen and helium are necessary to prevent excessive oxidation. Linde’s high-pressure gas supply schemes and technologies are used to atomize high-alloyed metals to powder particles that are spherical in size and uniform in density.