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Production of Fine Aluminum Powder

from Metallic Aluminum


Hnin Yu Khaing
Department of Chemical Engineering, Mandalay Technological University
Room-63, Mann Thazin Hostel, Mandalay Technological University, Mandalay, Myanmar
eMail: hninyukhaing2007@gmail.com
Tint Tint Kywe
Department of Chemical Engineering, Mandalay Technological University
Mandalay Technological University, Mandalay, Myanmar
eMail: ttkywe@gmail.com
Abstract- This paper intend to produce
fine aluminum powder from metallic
aluminum by using hybrid atomization
technique. The hybrid atomization system
used in this experiment has three main
parts: melting unit, hybrid atomization
and powder collector. The characteristics
of aluminum metal were analyzed by Xray Diffraction (XRD) and wet assay
method. Experiments were carried out at
different gas pressures (0.5, 0.6, 0.7 MPa)
and temperatures (710C, 750C, 800C).
Aluminum powder with a mean particle
size of under 75 microns were obtained
from these experiments. The morphologies
of product aluminum powder were
determined by SEM and crystallization
phase structures were studied by XRD.
The product aluminum nano-particles
with the size range from 50 to 80 nm were
observed at 800C and 0.6 MPa.
Keywords- Aluminum Powder, Hybrid
Atomization, Melting Unit, Scanning
Electron Microscope
I. INTRODUCTION
Aluminum is found in many rock
minerals, usually combined with silicon and
oxygen in compounds called aluminosilicates. When such deposits are rich in
alumina, they comprise the mineral bauxite.
Aluminum is a lightweight, durable metal. It
is silvery in appearance when freshly cut, is a
good conductor of heat and electricity and is

easily shaped by moulding and extruding.


[1].Many uses have been purposed for
various application of the aluminum, such as
aerospace, architectural construction and
marine industries. Aluminum materials can
be produced by a variety of manufacturing
routes [2]. Atomization process is one of the
popular processes for making powder metal
[3]. The main advantage of gas atomization
is due to totally inert processing conditions
and the spherical the product homogeneity
and the absence of contamination shape of
the product powder. [4]. A new
powdermaking
technique,
hybrid
atomization was invented and developed
recently to produce very fine spherical
powders economically. This technology
combines low-pressure gas atomization with
centrifugal atomization effectively [5]. As an
advantage of this method, the powder with
low content oxygen can be easily produced
because the powder is produced in an inert
gas atmosphere [6]. This method is easy to
control the powder particle size, particle size
distribution, powder shape and other
characteristics by detail investigation of the
relation between the metal physical
properties and the rotational speed of the
rotary disk [7]. The suitable metals that can
be melted and is used commercially for
powder production are tin, lead, zinc and
aluminum [8]. The primary aim of this paper
was to apply for the production of solid
rocket propellant. The objectives were
carried out: to examine the characteristics of

The First International Conference on Interdisciplinary Research and Development, 31 May - 1 June 2011, Thailand

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Hnin Yu Khaing and Tint Tint Kywe

raw aluminum sample, to fabricate the


hybrid atomization structure and to explore
aluminum powder by using hybrid
atomization technique.

C. Specification of Atomizer Design


The dimensions of atomizer used in
this study were described in Table. 3.
TABLE 3
SPECIFICATION OF ATOMIZER DESIGN

II. MATERIALS AND METHOD


A. Analysis of Raw Material
In this paper, the raw material
aluminum metal wires were collected from a
local market. The crystalline phase structure
and composition of aluminum metal shown
in Fig.1 and Table.1 were analyzed by XRD
and wet assay. On viewing the XRD pattern
of aluminum, the detailed peaks were clearly
identified for the amount of aluminum in the
aluminum metal wire.

D. Fabrication of Hybrid Atomization


The required units for hybrid
atomization structure were constructed in the
local workshop and fabricated at laboratory
of Department of Chemical Engineering in
Mandalay Technological University.
The design of this structure has three
parts of units as shown in Fig. 2. The first
process of this structure is preparation of the
material and then was fabricated based on
drawing design. The melting unit is the
upper part of this system. Atomizer, disk and
gas supply system are the middle parts also.
The lower parts of this system are a high
speed motor, an air cleaner and powder
collector. The dimensions of the laboratory
scale hybrid atomizer are 45.7cm (width)
65cm (length) 118.1cm (height).

Fig. 1 X-ray Diffraction Pattern of Raw Aluminum


metal
TABLE 1
COMPOSITION OF ALUMINUM METAL

B. Specification of Melting Unit


The dimensions of melting unit used
in this study were described in Table. 2.
TABLE 2
SPECIFICATION OF MELTING UNIT

In this paper, confined type nozzle


was chosen to produce aluminum metal
powder.

In the upper part of the system, the


melting unit was made of fire brick, fire clay,
and asbestos. The crucible was placed into
the furnace. Moreover, there was a
temperature controller (0-1300C) inside the
crucible to indicate the temperature of liquid
metal. At the bottom of the crucible, feed
tube was attached. The end of the tube was
extended into an atomizing nozzle. The
diameter of nozzle was 3mm. In this system,
confined type nozzle was used.
In the middle part of the system, disk
actually was a basic element in the
centrifugal atomization process. The disk
was made of stainless steel. Disk was

Special Issue of the International Journal of the Computer, the Internet and Management, Vol. 19 No. SP1, June, 2011

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Production of Fine Aluminum Powder from Metallic Aluminum

attached with flexible wire from the high


speed motor. The motor rotating speed was
up to 23000 rpm. The spray distance was
100mm and the atomizing gas (nitrogen)
entered the furnace and atomizer. Nitrogen
gas was used as an atomizing medium.
This gas can be adjusted by using a
pressure regulator. The function of this gas
was to prevent the oxidation on the particle.
The atomizing chamber was divided by two
sides, a glass chamber at the upper side and
zinc chamber at the bottom side.
The lower part of the atomizer
involved an air cleaner and powder collector.

Fig. 3 Flow Diagram of Powder Production Procedure

B. Experimental Parameters
Hybrid atomization was carried out
with different gas pressures: 0.5, 0.6, and 0.7
MPa and melting temperatures: 710C,
750C, 800C. Other parameters were disk
diameter:
100mm,
rotational
speed:
23000rpm and spray distance: 100 mm
which were kept constant in this study.
IV.RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Fig.2 Schematic Diagram of Hybrid Atomization

A. Particle Size Distribution of Aluminum


Powder

III. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN


PROCEDURE
A. Experimental Procedure
Experimental procedure of aluminum
powder was shown in Fig. 3. Twenty grams
of aluminum metal wire was weighed and
placed in a crucible for the primary three
experiments. Six grams of aluminum metal
wire was used for other experiments. Then,
the crucible was placed into the furnace and
heated for 30 min at (710C, 750C and
800C). The melt was atomized by a gas
atomizer into coarse liquid droplets. After
that, the thin liquid film was centrifuged at
23000 rpm. The solidified powders were
collected by a powder collector. The
products at different gas pressures and
temperatures were weighed for particle size
distribution analysis and analyzed by SEM
for investigation of morphologies of product
aluminum powder.

According to the experimental


parameters, the data of particle size
distribution were given in Tables 4, 5, 6, 7,
8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. The results of particle
size distribution were shown in Figs 4, 5 and
6.
TABLE 4
PARTICLE SIZE DISTRIBUTION AT GAS
PRESSURE 0.5 MPA AND TEMPERATURE 710C

The First International Conference on Interdisciplinary Research and Development, 31 May - 1 June 2011, Thailand

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Hnin Yu Khaing and Tint Tint Kywe

TABLE 5
PARTICLE SIZE DISTRIBUTION AT GAS
PRESSURE 0.6 MPA AND TEMPERATURE 710C

TABLE 9
PARTICLE SIZE DISTRIBUTION AT GAS
PRESSURE 0.7 MPA AND TEMPERATURE 750C

TABLE 6
PARTICLE SIZE DISTRIBUTION AT GAS
PRESSURE 0.7 MPA AND TEMPERATURE 710C

TABLE 10
PARTICLE SIZE DISTRIBUTION AT GAS
PRESSURE 0.5 MPA AND TEMPERATURE 800C

TABLE 7
PARTICLE SIZE DISTRIBUTION AT GAS
PRESSURE 0.5 MPA AND TEMPERATURE 750C

TABLE 11
PARTICLE SIZE DISTRIBUTION AT GAS
PRESSURE 0.6 MPA AND TEMPERATURE 800C

TABLE 8
PARTICLE SIZE DISTRIBUTION AT GAS
PRESSURE 0.6 MPA AND TEMPERATURE 750C

TABLE 12
PARTICLE SIZE DISTRIBUTION AT GAS
PRESSURE 0.7 MPA AND TEMPERATURE 800C

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Production of Fine Aluminum Powder from Metallic Aluminum

aluminum powder (97.6%) at gas pressure


(0.7MPa)and temperature (800C) was higher
than that at other two conditions.
TABLE 13
YIELD PERCENT OF ALUMINUM POWDER

Fig. 4 Particle size distribution of powders under


different gas pressures and melting temperature 710C

B. Aluminum Powder Morphology


Fig. 5 Particle size distribution of powders under
different gas pressures and melting temperature 750C

The shape and microstructures of the


powders were observed by a scanning
electron microscope (SEM)(SEM JEOL JSL5610). Scanning electron microscope images
of the produced powders were shown in Figs
7. Most of the powder particles were nearly
spherical. Few particles were dumbbelled
shape or granular. According to the Figs, the
powder particles were more nearly spherical
at gas pressure 0.6 MPa and temperature
800C than that at other conditions.

Fig. 6 Particle Size Distribution of Powders under


different gas pressures and melting temperature 800C

For the particle size less than 75 m,


the yield of aluminum powder at 0.7 MPa is
more than that at other two pressures.
According to the experiment 1, yield of
aluminum powder under 75m was found to
be 20.6%. As for experiment 3, although it
gave 44.5% of yield, it had larger particle
size than experiment 2. In experiment 2,
product yield was lower than that of
experiment 3. When the metal temperature
reached a melt temperature (800C 5), yield
of powders was more than at that other
conditions. Table.13 summarizes the total
yield percent of aluminum powder obtained
during the present experiment work. The
result shows that pressure and temperature
variables have a strong influence on weight
of grams. By viewing from this experiments,
it was found that total yield percent of

Fig.7 SEM Analysis of Aluminum Powder at Gas


Pressure (0.5, 0.6, 0.7 MPa) and Temperature 800C

C. Analysis of Obtained Aluminum Powder


The crystal structure of the aluminum
powder was characterized by XRD
(RIGAKU model RINT 2000) diffractometer
using Cu/K radiation (=1.54056 A with
40kV, 40mA), scan speed of 4/min, in the
2 range of 10 to 70. The XRD patterns of
aluminum powder were observed at 2
angles of 38.720 (111), 45.020 (200),
65.420 (220). The typical XRD pattern of
product aluminum powder was shown in Fig.
8. The sizes of the particles were estimated
by calculation using Scherrers equation. The

The First International Conference on Interdisciplinary Research and Development, 31 May - 1 June 2011, Thailand

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Hnin Yu Khaing and Tint Tint Kywe

Scherrer constant (K=1.33) was calculated


for spherical powder. The result shows that
the distribution size is narrowest at 800C
with the minimum size of 50nm and
maximum of 80nm.

during novel atomization process, vol.17,


pp.1276-1281, September 2007.
[6] K. Minagawa, H. Kakisawa, H. Halada, Y.
Osawa and S. Takamori, Production of fine
spherical lead-free solder powders by hybrid
atomization, pp. 325-329, July 2005.
[7] K. Minagawa, H. Kakisawa, H. Halada, Y.
Osawa and S. Takamori, Hybrid atomization
method suitable for production of fine spherical
lead-free solder powder, pp. 8388, December
2005.
[8] H. Lubanska, Correlation of spray ring data for
gas atomization of liquid metal,. pp.45-49, 1970.

Fig. 8 X-ray Diffraction Pattern of Aluminum Powder

IV. CONCLUSIONS
In this research, hybrid atomization
unit for producing aluminum powder was
fabricated. By using the hybrid atomization
method, it can be produced fine, nearly
spherical aluminum powder with high yields.
Aluminum powders with the particle size of
under 75 m were obtained.These
atomization experiments confirm the strong
influence of two processing variables (gas
pressure and melting temperature) on particle
size distribution.The smallest size of 50nm
was obtained from powder synthesize at
800C. The product total yield (97.6%) can
be obtained at gas pressure 0.7 MPa and
temperature 800C.
REFERENCES
[1] S. K. Grjotheim and B. J. Welch, Aluminum
smelter technology- a pure and applied
approach, 1988, pp. 1-10.
[2] J. B. Verlinden and L. Froyen, Aluminum
powder metallurgy, 1994, pp. 1-26.
[3] S. E. Klar and J. W. Fesko, Gas and water
atomization, ASM Handbook , ASM
International, USA, 1984, pp.2539.
[4] J. J. Dunkley, Atomization, powder metal
technologies and applications, ASM Handbook,
ASM International, Ohio, 1998, pp. 35-52.
[5] Y.Z. LIU, K. Minagawa, H. Kakisawa and H.
Halada Melt film formation and disintregation

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