Linde is developing a dedicated laboratory to advance the understanding of the parameters and behavior of atmospheric gases used in the manufacture of metal powders. The lab, which is scheduled to become operational mid-2022, will enable Linde to develop new technologies to improve the atomization process – particularly increasing yield and process stability. The facility’s focal point will be a much smaller-scale version (5.25 feet high) of a typical atomizer. Linde will also collaborate with powder manufacturers and OEMs to help them test specific gas behaviors on the test bench, allowing them to then scale up the results on their large atomizers.
For the atomization of metals to create powders for additive manufacturing, a key challenge is to maintain a large volume of gas (2,000 cubic meters per hour) under high pressure (60 bar or higher) and temperature (up to 400⁰C), even for a short period of time. When adding in factors such as metal type and gas composition, the variable parameters are immense. Analyzing them requires not only the most advanced equipment but also reliable gas supply and expertise. While some academic institutions can undertake research into gas behavior for the manufacture of metal powders, Linde has the capacity to draw on a readily available supply of gases.