Metal Alloy Powders

Table of Contents

Metal alloy powders comprise diverse precise blends of metal elements produced through atomization processing into fine spherical particles ideal for advanced fabrication techniques. This guide serves technical professionals a comprehensive reference on metal powder alloy grades spanning typical compositions, mechanical properties data, manufacturing methods, key applications, and leading global suppliers.

Overview of Metal Alloy Powders

Metal powders produced from alloys of iron, nickel, cobalt, aluminum, titanium, copper, and other base metals represent versatile engineering materials conferring tailored properties from their controlled compositions.

Common Metal Powder Types

Alloy SystemDescription
Stainless steelsCorrosion resistant, high strength
Tool and low alloy steelsHardened, temperature resistant
Nickel superalloysExtreme heat/chemical resistance
Cobalt superalloysBiocompatible, wear resistant
Titanium alloysLightweight, strong for aerospace
Copper and bronzesElectrical/thermal conductivity
Precious metal alloysPure, inert, specialized applications

Balancing constituents enables optimizing for key requirements like hardness, strength, durability, conductivity, magnetism or cost targets.

Typical Composition Ranges

Alloying ElementRoleWt% Range
Iron, Cobalt, NickelBase metal matrix50-99%
ChromiumCorrosion + oxidation resistance5-35%
MolybdenumStrength, creep resistance0-30%
TungstenHeat resistance, density0-18%
ManganeseDeoxidizer, strength0-15%
CarbonHardening, wear resistance0-6%
metal alloy powder

Metal Alloy Powder Specifications

Size Distributions

Mesh SizeMicrometers
-325<45 μm
-100/+32545-150 μm
+100>150 μm

Morphology and Flow Characteristics

AttributeTypical Range
Particle shapeSpherical
Apparent density2 – 6 g/cm3
Tap density4 – 8 g/cm3
Hausner ratio<1.25
Flow rate20-35 s/50g
Friction coefficient0.4-0.9

Chemistry and Contamination Levels

ElementMax ppm

Metal Powder Production Methods

Water Atomization

  • High purity inert gas atomization
  • Protects reactive alloy chemistries
  • Enables small size distributions

Gas Atomization

  • Air melt spinning
  • Narrowest size distributions
  • Spheroidal particle shapes

Plasma Rotating Electrode Process (PREP)

  • Custom alloys, research quantities
  • Controlled microstructures
  • Rapid solidification rates

Mechanical Alloying

  • Ball milling elemental blends
  • Lower cost than atomization
  • Broad size distributions

Other Methods

  • Electrolysis
  • Chemical reduction

Properties of Metal Alloy Powders

Balancing key attributes determines suitable applications:

Mechanical Properties

Alloy SystemYield StrengthTensile StrengthElongation
Stainless Steels200-1400 MPa500-1600 MPa10-50%
Tool Steels600-1900 MPa1000-2100 MPa5-15%
Nickel Superalloys500-1400 MPa700-1700 MPa10-50%
Titanium Alloys750-1100 MPa900-1200 MPa15-25%
Copper/Bronzes70-450 MPa200-600 MPa5-60%

Thermal Properties

Alloy SystemMelting PointThermal Conductivity
Stainless Steels1400-1500°C10-30 W/m-°K
Tool Steels1350-1450°C20-35 W/m-°K
Nickel Superalloys1200-1400°C5-50 W/m-°K
Titanium Alloys1600-1700°C5-20 W/m-°K
Copper/Bronzes900-1300°C50-400 W/m-°K

Metal Alloy Powder Applications

Additive Manufacturing

  • Aerospace components
  • Medical implants
  • Automotive hardware
  • Tooling and molds
  • Exotic architecture

Powder Metallurgy

  • Oil and gas bearings
  • Automotive bushings
  • Appliance hardware
  • Cost-effective net shapes

Thermal Spray Coatings

  • Corrosion resistant overlays
  • Friction reducing films
  • Dimensional restoration

Electronics and Magnetics

  • Conductive adhesives
  • Inductor cores
  • Thermal management
  • Surface mount devices

Emerging Applications

  • Batteries and energy storage
  • 3D printed electronics
  • Exotic alloys and prototypes
  • Micro-scale components

Leading Metal Alloy Powder Manufacturers

Sandvik OspreyUnited Kingdom
Carpenter Powder ProductsUnited States
Praxair Surface TechnologiesUnited States
Rio Tinto Metal PowdersCanada
ATI Powder MetalsUnited States

Custom Toll Processing Partners

  • Extensive alloy development expertise
  • Specialize in research scale production
  • Shorten development timelines
  • Protect intellectual property

Cost Estimates

Stainless Steel Powders

Alloy GradeCost Per Kg
304, 316, 303$12-30
17-4PH, 15-5PH$40-90
Custom duplex/superaustentics$70-150

Tool and High Alloy Steel Powders

Alloy GradeCost Per Kg
H13, M2, M4$20-45
Custom PM tool steel$45-100

Nickel Superalloy Powders

Alloy GradeCost Per Kg
Inconel 718$90-180
Custom Waspaloy, Rene alloys$250-1000+

Titanium and Exotic Alloy Powders

Alloy GradeCost Per Kg
Custom titanium$450-1000+

Pros vs Cons

Properties surpassing wrought alloysRequires protective processing
Custom alloys and microstructuresLimited size capabilities
Complex geometry enabledNeeds post-consolidation
Lower buy-to-fly ratiosQualification testing
Reduced production lead timesHandling and storage precautions

Weigh trade-offs carefully against performance targets and budgets when selecting specialized grades.

refractory powder


Q: What is the benefit of metal alloy over pure elemental powders?

A: Alloying enables significantly enhancing key attributes like strength, corrosion resistance, hardness, conductivity etc over any single element’s intrinsic limitations through metallurgical mechanisms and Second Phase control.

Q: How small can metal alloy powder sizes get produced?

A: Inert gas atomization can generate nano-scale metal powders down below 10 nanometers at the leading edge of current commercial capabilities. Chemistries and morphologies remain an intense R&D area as new methods get pioneered.

Q: Is post-processing of powders mandatory before part fabrication?

A: Besides sieving into precise size fractions, additional conditioning like deoxidation, annealing, coating and blending can get utilized to modify powder characteristics assisting fabrication process performance, densification behavior and final component property targets.

Q: What dictates the cost difference between grades?

A: Processing intricacy, alloying elements pricing, R&D investments, production volume and specification requirements control pricing – exotic highly engineered powders prove far more expensive than common workhorse varieties.


This guide presented a holistic overview of metal alloy powder engineering materials capable of realizing next generation component performance far surpassing conventional metallurgical constraints through tailored chemistry and optimized processing. Please connect with an industry expert to discuss aligning specialized grades’ unique advantages to your targeted application requirements.

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