High Temperature Iron Powder

Table of Contents


High temperature iron powders are specialized metallic powders made from iron-based alloys designed to operate at elevated temperatures exceeding 850°C without rapidly losing strength. Conventional iron and steel powders oxidize and deteriorate faster beyond this threshold.

By carefully tailoring powder chemistry and processing treatments, high temperature strength and environmental resistance is enhanced. Key application areas demanding such extreme thermal structural materials include automotive, aerospace, power generation equipment and chemical processing industries.

Types of High Temperature Iron Powders

Various alloying additions can improve high heat properties:

Alloy TypeMain Alloying ElementsMax Use Temperature
Austenitic stainless steelsNi, Cr, Mn950°C – 1050°C
High nickel iron alloysNi, Co, Mo1000°C – 1200°C
Oxide dispersion strengthenedY2O3 additions1050°C – 1150°C
Iron-aluminidesAl, Cr, Ti, Si750°C – 950°C

Production Methods for High Temperature Powders

  • Gas atomization with controlled rapid cooling
  • Water atomization
  • Plasma spheroidization to round irregular powders
  • Carbonyl iron process for stainless steel powders
high temperature iron powder

Alloy Types and Compositions

There are four primary categories of specialty iron alloy powders designed for prolonged use at temperatures exceeding 850°C:

Austenitic Stainless Steel Powders

Alloys like 316L, 304L, and 301L stainless steels contain nickel to maintain an austenitic FCC crystal structure up to 1100°C and chromium for oxidation resistance through protective chromia (Cr2O3) surface films at high temperatures.

Alloying ElementRoleWeight % Range
Nickel (Ni)Austenite stabilizer8 – 12%
Chromium (Cr)Oxidation resistance16 – 18%
Manganese (Mn)Strength and grain refinementUp to 2%
Nitrogen (N)Strengthening0.1 – 0.25%

Benefits: Excellent “hot strength”, ease of compaction and sintering, lower cost than superalloys.

Limitations: Prone to creep above 1000°C, not suitable for load bearing dynamic applications.

High Nickel Iron Alloys

Nickel-iron alloys containing 25 – 60 wt% nickel offer the optimum combination of high temperature strength, toughness and corrosion resistance. Nickel additions dramatically slow down diffusion rates and reduce detrimental microstructural changes up to 1150°C.

Other key alloying elements are:

Alloying ElementRoleWeight % Range
Nickel (Ni)Solid solution strengthening25 – 60%
Chromium (Cr)Oxidation resistance10 – 25%
Cobalt (Co)Enhances high temperature mechanical properties10 – 25%
Molybdenum (Mo)Creep resistance2 – 6%

Benefits: Unmatched mechanical performance at 1100°C+, slower degradation kinetics. Thermally stable microstructure.

Limitations: Very high alloy prices, porosity control difficulties, requiring HIP densification.

Oxide Dispersion Strengthened Iron Alloys

In oxide dispersion strengthened alloys, very fine (50-100 nm) inert yttrium oxide particles are embedded within the material matrix. These nano-scale oxides hinder dislocation motion thereby maintaining strength above 1000°C.

Alloying ElementRoleWeight % Range
Yttrium oxide (Y2O3)Nano-oxide particles providing thermal stability0.25% – 1%
Chromium (Cr)Environmental resistanceUp to 20%
Aluminum (Al)Enhances oxide dispersionUp to 4%

Benefits: Exceptional microstructural stability and creep strength at 1100°C+ operating conditions.

Limitations: Very high cost, processing difficulties – traditionally made through mechanical alloying and consolidation.

Iron Aluminide (FeAl) Alloys

Iron aluminide alloys having 10- 40% aluminum content offer excellent oxidation and sulfidation resistance up to 900°C through the formation of a durable alumina (Al2O3) protective top layer. Chromium aids surface protection.

Alloying ElementRoleWeight % Range
Aluminum (Al)Oxidation resistance10 – 40%
Chromium (Cr)Enhances environmental resistance5 – 10%
Carbon, Zr (C, Zr)Carbide strengthenersUp to 0.5%

Benefits: Great environmental stability, lower densities than steels, ease of fabrication relative to superalloys.

Limitations: Strength loss above 750°C, poor creep resistance, applied stresses increase pest phenomena.

Production Methods

Special techniques are utilized to produce tailored high temperature iron alloy powders with suitable characteristics:

Gas Atomization

  • Controlled rapid cooling of the molten metal stream enables retention of alloying elements in solution rather than formation of precipitates

Plasma Spheroidization

  • Irregular powders from water atomization processes are re-melted using a plasma torch and re-solidified into spherical powders ideal for AM methods

Multiple Cycles Sinter-Crush

  • Powders are repeatedly compacted at high temperatures, crushed and sieved to refine powder distribution ideal for MIM processability

Mechanical Alloying

  • Ball milling elemental metal powders creates nano-dispersed particle and cluster distributions in ODS alloys

Carbonyl Refining

  • Produces extremely high purity metal powders when lower cost production methods yield contamination

Comparison of Production Methods

MethodPurity LevelsOxygen ContentMorphology OptionsThroughput (tons/year)
Gas AtomizationModerate<1000 ppmMostly sphericalHigh >20,000
Water AtomizationLow2000-4000 ppmIrregularVery high >50,000
Plasma SpheroidizationMedium500-2000 ppmSphericalLow <5,000
Mechanical AlloyingHigh<1500 ppmVariable particle shapesLow hundreds
Carbonyl ProcessExtremely High<200 ppmSpherical/nodularHigh >25,000

Characterization Methods

Several analytical methods are vital for qualifying high temperature powder alloys:

Chemical Composition

  • Spectrographic and wet chemistry techniques identify elemental constituents and quantities – necessary for alloy design verification
  • Carbon, sulfur, oxygen, nitrogen contents show process-induced contamination that impacts material performance

Particle Size and Morphology

  • Laser diffraction particle size analyzers determine full granulometry from 10 nm to 3 mm sizes
  • SEM imaging visualizes shape, surface features, satellite particles, porosity useful for build process suitability assessments and defect analysis


  • XRD shows phases present, precipitation states, quantitative analysis of crystalline properties
  • Assesses effects of thermal exposure on phase fractions by microstructural evolution

Powder Properties Testing

  • Hall flowmetry, apparent density and compressibility quantify powder behavior for ease of handling and consolidation

Applications and Uses

The unique high strength, creep resistance and slow degradation kinetics of designed high temperature iron alloys powders make them critical for harsh prolonged thermal loading situations like:

Jet Engine and Land Based Turbine Components

  • Stainless steels or high nickel alloy discs, shafts, casings, gears, valves facing 900 – 1200°C

Nuclear and Solar Power Plant Parts

  • High nickel steel bolts, heat shields, headers, tubing, collector panels resisting temperatures exceeding 1000°C + corrosion

Automotive and Aerospace Components

  • Stainless steel turbocharger wheels boosting performance in internal combustion engines

Petrochemical Refining and Cracking Equipment

  • Stainless steel heat exchangers, recuperators, furnace trays resisting warping and failure up to 1100°C

In addition, iron aluminides present excellent candidates for replacing stainless steels and superalloys by offering unique environmental resistance benefits over conventional alloys in biological, chemical processing or electrical systems facing aggressive oxidation, carburization and chloride induced corrosion attack mechanisms.

Specifications and Grades

High temperature powder alloys must meet minimum specifications for chemistry, cleanliness, particle characteristics and properties:

Alloy Grade Compositions

Alloy TypeApplicable SpecificationsGrade Examples
Austenitic Stainless SteelsAMS 5759, ASTM B898Custom 316L, 301L, 310L
High Nickel Iron AlloysAMS 5383, ASTM B162IN625, HastelloyTM X , Nimonic® 80A
Oxide Dispersion StrengthenedASTM B937, B934MA956, PM2000
Iron AluminidesASTM C1072Custom FeAl grades

Critical Parameters and Thresholds

ParameterThresholdsTest Methods
Oxygen content<4000 ppmInert gas fusion
Nitrogen content<1500 ppmInert gas fusion
Mean particle sizeApplication specific, customizedLaser diffraction
Apparent density>2.5 g/cm3Hall flowmeter funnels
Tap density>3.5 g/cm3Scott volumeter tests
Flow rate>23 s/50 gHall flowmeter tests

Purchasers work with reputable powder producers to define application-specific characterization needs and property goals reflecting service conditions and production process requirements.

Cost Analysis

Prices for specialty high temperature iron alloy powders meant for service >850°C depend heavily on:

1. Base Material

  • Stainless steels offer lowest costs while superalloys are most expensive

2. Alloying Additions

  • Nickel, cobalt and specialized elements like rhenium drastically increase material expense

3. Production Method

  • Water atomization and carbonyl processes enable higher volumes and lower pricing

4. Additional Processing

  • Additional powder property enhancements increase cost

5. Order Quantities

  • Larger batch sizes can decrease unit pricing
Alloy GradePricing EstimateCost Factors
316L Stainless Steel$15 – $30 per kgLow alloy costs, high production rate processes
Custom High Nickel Alloys$50 – $250 per kgHigh value elements, lower volume production
Oxide Dispersion Strengthened$250 – $1000 per kgLow batch sizes, specialized mechanical alloying process
Iron Aluminides$30 – $100 per kgLower aluminum and chromium content versus superalloys

Contact reputable suppliers like Sandvik Osprey, Hoganas, Carpenter Technologies to request specific price quotations.

Pros and Cons of High Temperature Iron Alloys

Benefits and Advantages

Tunable Chemistry and Properties

  • Allows customization of powder composition and characteristics for given service needs

Economic Production Scalability

  • Mature large volume manufacturing methods available

Fabrication Route Flexibility

  • Compatible with metal AM, MIM and press and sinter techniques

Favorable Cost Economics

  • Avoid precious elements making superalloys considerably more expensive

Challenges and Disadvantages

Property Optimization Complexity

  • Improving one characteristic like high conductivity can negatively impact another like strength

Melting Point Limitations

  • Maximum capability typically capped at 1150°C for constituent particle stability

Post Processing Requirements

  • Nearly full density and superior properties demand hot isostatic pressing and heat treatments

Limited High Stress-Exposure Resilience

  • Creep resistance inferior to Ni, Co or ceramic-based alloys

Here is a comparison between high temperature stainless steel powders versus alternatives:

ParameterHigh Temp Stainless SteelsNickel SuperalloysCeramic Composites
Melting Point1400°C1350°C>1800°C
Density7.5 – 8 g/cm38 – 9 g/cm3>4 g/cm3
Thermal ConductivityBetterWorseSimilar
Environmental ResistanceGoodBetterBest
Ease of FabricationExcellentModeratePoor
high temperature iron powder


Q: What is the typical particle size distribution used for high temperature stainless steel powders in metal AM?

A: For powder bed fusion processes like selective laser melting (SLM) and electron beam melting (EBM), the common range is 15 μm – 45 μm size fractions. Finer distributions can improve resolution but impair powder spreading during layer deposition and reduce flow characteristics.

Q: What gas atomization cooling rates preserve optimal alloy powder compositions?

A: For the best combination of chemistry retention and appropriate powder morphology, solidification rates between 1000 – 3000°C per second are widely used for high temperature stainless steel and superalloy powders.

Q: Why are high levels of oxide particles detrimental in high temperature iron alloys?

A: During service, oxides present can coarsen and migrate forming less protective and less stable oxide populations resulting in accelerated attack from oxidizing, sulfidizing, carburizing or chlorinating environments – reducing component life. Careful determination and control of oxygen levels based on maximum exposure temperatures and operating conditions is necessary in alloy development.

Q: What methods can be used to increase powder densities to >95% theoretical?

A: Hot isostatic pressing is commonly applied on high temperature stainless steel or superalloy components after initial AM or MIM fabrication to eliminate residual pores, creating material performance close to that of wrought alloys in the same strengthened heat treated states. Near theoretical densities ensure mechanical robustness.

Q: Why is nitrogen control below 1000 ppm critical in high strength high conductivity copper alloys?

A: Nitrogen pickup deleteriously forms very hard, brittle nitride phases that drastically lower thermal and electrical conductivities reducing functionality in thermal management applications, while also decreasing formability and ductility during manufacture.

know more 3D printing processes

Share On

metal 3dp logo small

Metal3DP Technology Co., LTD is a leading provider of additive manufacturing solutions headquartered in Qingdao, China. Our company specializes in 3D printing equipment and high-performance metal powders for industrial applications.

Inquiry to get best price and customized Solution for your business!

Related Articles

About Met3DP

Play Video

Recent Update

Our Product


Any questions? Send us message now! We’ll serve your request with a whole team after receiving your message. 

Get Metal3DP's
Product Brochure

Get The Latest Technology, Innovations And Company’s News Delivered.