Powder Characterization and Testing

Reliable techniques for powder characterization and testing are required to evaluate the chemical and physical properties of metal powders, both as individual particles and in bulk form. This is important to ensure adequate control of powder production processes and to ensure that the required properties for parts manufacturing are met. This Section also features a series of articles on characterization and testing of powders.

The representativity of samples taken to test metal powders is key to the characterization process. The required sampling techniques that ensure such representativity are discussed. The various techniques for analyzing the chemical composition of metal powders are described, together with specific testing procedures that characterize the physical properties of powders. These include particle size distribution, particle shape, and surface area. Each of these parameters may have a significant effect on the physical and mechanical behavior of powders used for the manufacturing of P/M parts. Bulk properties of metal powders are also discussed in this Section.

A description of test methods for apparent density, a critical property for ensuring part-to-part weight consistency, and powder flow rate is included. Finally, an article describes test methods for determining the compacting behavior of metal powders. This includes compressibility, a key factor in reaching high part density, and green strength, which is a measurement of the mechanical strength of P/M parts in the aspressed condition.

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