Iver E. Anderson PhD, Senior Metallurgist, Ames Lab (USDOE)
Emma M. White PhD, Associate Scientist, Ames Laboratory of USDOE
By significantly increasing quality and yield of metallic alloy powders, the pace for design, development, and deployment of the most promising Additive Manufacturing (AM) methods will be greatly accelerated. Major strides toward gaining the missing fundamental knowledge of AM and ideal use of this promising technology for advanced manufacturing could be achieved by solving several technical challenges for powder feedstock. These challenges include the need for improved powder surface quality, i.e., minimizing oxide coatings without sacrificing surface passivation, particularly in fine powders with high surface area. In addition to improved powders, many certified feedstock powders have excessive cost and limited availability due to the narrow powder size distribution that is optimal for each specific AM process. This is especially true for new experimental alloys where off-size powder size fractions (perhaps 80-90%) and the size classification work needed to separate it from the broad size distribution of a typical atomization batch lead to unacceptable costs. Progress on new efforts in gas atomization process research to mitigate both of these issues for Al and Al alloy powders will be reported. Supported by USDOE-EERE-Advanced Manufacturing Office through Ames lab contract DE-AC02-07CH11358.