A new generation of particle analyses for metal powder
Swerea combines dynamic image analysis and measurement of powder rheology, enabling understanding of how metal powder characteristics influence the final product. A highly relevant application area is 3D printing.
In powder-based processes for manufacturing metallic components different metal powders behave in different ways. Effective production and optimal product quality require an understanding of how metal-powder particle shape and particle size distribution influence the process.
Important factors are powder rheology, powder compressibility and degree of friction between particles. Rapid, accurate quality assessment is crucial.
Powder analysis equipment
Swerea’s powder analysis equipment enables improved quality assurance of fine metal powders. Based on dynamic image analysis, the equipment can perform quality control within a much narrower range than ever before. Ultimately, companies can avoid major costs associated with quality deficiencies and rejects.
In parallel, the rheology of different powders in the dry state is assessed with an advanced powder rheometer, which measures parameters such as the energy required to overcome a powder’s resistance to flow, determines the friction between particles and assesses the powder’s compressibility.
A combination of dynamic image analysis and powder rheology is therefore a very effective means of assessing virtually all types of metal powders.
Powders for 3D-printing
“Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is a highly topical area seeing rapid expansion. Here, powder properties are decisive for function and final material properties. The method is used for manufacturing metallic components in the vehicle and aerospace industries, and in the bioimplant area,” says Annika Strondl.