Till the hourglasses are flipped, and observers can compare how the powders move through the narrow necks of glass. The powder prepared by conventional manufacturing methods does not precisely. It begins and stops. It requires shaking and manipulating to get through. The other powder, produced at the high-pressure of laboratory gas atomization facility, pulses smoothly through the hourglass of its own accord.
It is all because of the smooth spherical particles released by Ames laboratory’s gas atomization technique, an enhancement over conventionally manufactured powders.
“You can witness they are chunky, randomly sized with rough edges,” says White of the conventionally-made powder particles, comparing scanning electron microscope images of the two. “They do not move past each other, and that is going to need a pulsing mechanism or an alligator in the process of manufacturing. That is going to cost the manufacturer more in energy to operate their production line.”
It is just one of the numerous benefits of powders prepared by the gas atomization process, which has garnered the lab at least 16 patents over the last two decades, and prepared a spin-off company, IPAT, recently obtained by Praxair, which exclusively licenses Ames Laboratory’s titanium atomization patents and is racing to discover to an eager marketplace.
The Laboratory gas from Ames atomization method releases powders that are consistently sized, customizable and smoothly spherical. The benefits of a perfectly formed powder flow already mentioned, the individual round particles have little internal porosity and group together optimally in bulk. Both qualities reduce dead air space and enhance the quality of parts produced utilizing these powders.
Employing gas atomization, Ames laboratory had released powders of aluminium, iron, tin, copper, magnesium, nickel and numerous other alloys and metals, in addition to titanium, one its core research accomplishments.
“The titanium industry is exceedingly interested in powder metallurgy and eventual shape consolidation techniques,” says White. “Titanium is costly and the huge volume of waste titanium produced during machining cast parts into final shapes vitally increases their expenditures. They witness advances in powder metallurgy as an efficient cost control strategy by making parts into near final shapes and reducing waste titanium.”
The powders manufactured through this method have also been employed in the production of robust alnico permanent magnets, and in the production of an experimental power transmitting engineered out of a calcium and aluminium composite. And the possibilities of such metal powders don’t just look to the future, but might also redeem substances from the past that had been abandoned by scientists and industry as impossible to work with.
“You can prepare an alloy with incredible properties, but if you cannot make something useful out of it, then it will never get off the lab’s bench. This technique allows us to replant substances that have been around a long time,” says Anderson
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