Gas Atomizer Equipment

Table of Contents

gas atomizer equipment produces fine spherical metal powders with controlled particle size distribution critical across metal AM, thermal spray, MIM and other powder metallurgy applications. This guide covers process principles, atomizer types, system components, operating parameters, manufacturers and comparative assessment.

gas atomizer equipment Process Overview

Gas atomization uses kinetic energy from high velocity gas jets to disintegrate molten metal streams into fine droplets rapidly solidifying into powder:

PrincipleBreakup of metal stream into fine droplets by gas impingement
Gas typesNitrogen, Argon
Metal typesNickel, Iron, Cobalt alloys
ScalesLab, Pilot, Industrial
Powder attributesControlled PSD, High sphericity, Surface chemistry uniformity
Particle sizes3 microns to 120 microns
ProductsAlloy powders, Master alloys
IndustriesMetal AM, MIM, Coatings

Gas atomized powders offer precise property control but require higher capital investment than other atomization techniques.

gas atomizer equipment

gas atomizer equipment Types

AtomizerDetails
Close-coupledNozzle and gas integration allows very fine 20 micron powders
Free-fallMolten metal stream falls through gas chamber for support-free operation
RotaryReliable performance for high alloy steels via rotating metal pour tubes

Emerging Designs

Multi-nozzle cluster atomization and centrifugal atomizers up productivity. Ultrasonic atomization and electrode induction gas atomizers simplify free-fall powder production.

System Components

Key modules in complete industrial gas atomization systems include:

ComponentRole
Melting furnaceInduction melting of metals to superheat state
Nozzle assemblyControls molten metal stream injection into gas chamber
Gas controlRegulates gas type, pressure and flow dynamics
Droplet solidificationRapid cooling transforms droplets into powders
Collection systemSieving separates powder by particle size
BaghouseCaptures ultrafine solidified particles from gas exhaust
RecyclingReintroduces unused gas and oversize particles

Precise monitoring and tightly integrated feedback control between above modules is critical for powder quality consistency.

Process Parameters

ParameterTypical RangeImpact
Metal temperature30-100°C superheatFluidity, surface oxidation
Nozzle orifice size2mm-6mmDroplet size, flow dynamics
Gas typeN2, ArCooling rate, surface chemistry
Gas pressure5-15 bargParticle size distribution
Gas flow rate0.1-3 m3/minAtomization efficiency and yield
Drop height2-10mSolidification time and powder characteristics

The interdependent relationships between these parameters necessitate empirical optimization guided by computational models to achieve powder requirements.

gas atomizer equipment Suppliers

CompanyCapacity RangeCost Estimate
AP&C10kg/hour – 300kg/hour$750,000-$4 million
PSI25kg/hour – 500kg/hour$950,000-$6 million
Gasbarre50kg/hour – 1000kg/hour$1.2 million – $8 million
Buhler Group500kg/hour – 35,000kg/hour$6 million+

Larger production scales carry exponentially higher price tags. Significant custom engineering required.

Comparative Assessment

Close-coupled AtomizerFree-fall Atomizer
Investment costHighMedium
ComplexityHigh – Integrated nozzle-gas designMedium – Decoupled components
MaintenanceChallenging – Entire vessel handlingEasier – Modular parts
Productivity for fine powdersHigherMedium
Material flexibilityMedium – Limited by nozzle clogging risksHigh – open architecture
Process monitoringTight process control enabledRelies more on characterization

Key Takeaways

  • Precision particle engineering with wide flexibility makes gas atomization a powerful but costly technique
  • Integrated modeling and monitoring enables quality powders with narrow specifications
  • Scalability remains a key limitation across small, medium and large gas atomizers
gas atomizer equipment

FAQs

Q: What size gas atomization systems are best suited for metal AM powder needs?

A: Benchtop lab atomizers from 1-5kg/hour scale are appropriate for R&D. For commercial metal AM production, 50-200kg/hour atomizers balance throughput, cost and powder quality needs.

Q: What gas pressure is typically used in atomization?

A: Most gas atomization relies on pressures from 5-12 barg. Higher pressures facilitate finer powders but require heavier duty vessels. Argon allows faster heat extraction than nitrogen.

Q: How small can gas atomizer particle size reach?

A: Leading edge close-coupled nozzle atomizers have demonstrated consistent production of metal powders approaching 15-20 microns while still maintaining reasonable yield percentages.

Q: What metals are not suitable for gas atomization?

A: Highly reactive alloys like titanium and aluminum alloys pose oxidation challenges and risk nozzle clogging. Induction skull melting helps alleviate these issues.

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