Experimental study of the influence of operational and geometric variables on the powders produced by close-coupled gas atomisation
The effect of several operational and geometric variables on the particle size distribution of powders produced by close-coupled gas atomisation is analysed from a total of 66 experiments. Powders of three pure metals (copper, tin and iron) and two alloys (bronze Cu-15 wt% Sn and stainless steel SS 316 L) have been produced. Nitrogen, argon and helium were used as atomising gases. It is shown that the gas-to-metal ratio of volume flow rates (GMRV) is more relevant than the ratio of mass flow rates (GMR) in order to analyse the effect of atomisation variables on the particle size. Kishidaka's equation, originally proposed for water atomisation, is modified to predict the median particle size in gas atomisation. The accuracy of the new equation is compared with that of Lubanska, and Rao and Mehrotra. Kishidaka's modified empirical correlation is the most accurate in predicting the median particle size of the powders produced in this work. The morphology of the produced powders is studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and it is observed that the melt superheat can play an important role in the aggregation of fine particles (< 10 mu m), which increases the fraction of large particles (> 100 mu m). (C) 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).