Equispheres’ patent-pending atomization technique produces a nearly-perfect powder. Its uniform size, sphericity, and consistent microstructure — as well as smoother surface and thinner oxide layer — result in more-reliably manufactured metal parts with superior mechanical properties.
The Equispheres advantages:
In powder bed additive manufacturing, round and smooth particles move more freely than the irregular shaped particles with unwanted microscopic fines (ø: 0.1–5µm) found in standard atomized powder that tend to clump and prevent uniform layer deposition. Equispheres’ powder is spherical, agglomerate- and fine-free, and rolls smoothly under the powder bed blade/roller for greatly improved spreadability. The result: a final product with superior surface finish and better mechanical properties.
The minimal fines in our powders significantly increase flowability. Recent testing conducted by McGill University identified that Equispheres’ powder flows 2.5 times faster than competitive powders (using standard flow test techniques).
Irregular particles and “fines” interfere with packing density. Equispheres’ powders pack much more densely and uniformly than those of competitors. Because Equispheres’ powder is highly flowable, achieved density in “real-world” powder bed (i.e. spread density) is virtually identical to “tap” density achieved in the laboratory and 30% better than competitive powders. This allows the production of denser parts with smoother as-built surfaces.
A common problem with metal powders has been the thickness of the oxide layer. While a thicker oxide layer results in poor mechanical properties in the final manufactured part, a powder with thinner oxide layers tends to adsorb water, which also has a negative impact on part performance.
However, Equispheres’ powders have both a thin oxide layer and low water adsorption — a direct result of the superior morphology of our powder.
Independent lab testing by McGill University has shown that Equispheres’ powders have an oxide layer half as thick as its competitors, but with one-third the water adsorption.
The result is less powder preparation prior to printing and superior product performance.
Equispheres’ novel atomization process is highly controlled and generates a very fine microstructure, with uniform particle sizes. Competing powders include particles of various sizes. When their powders are melted by the laser used in additive manufacturing, the smaller particles cool faster than the larger ones, producing an inconsistent microstructure.
Equispheres’ powder melts and solidifies uniformly and predictably. The result is a final product with consistent and superior mechanical properties.
Perhaps the most exciting advantage of Equispheres’ advanced metal powders is the increase in design-allowable performance. The physical properties of Equispheres’ powders increase the mean performance of manufactured parts in standard mechanical tests. More importantly, the predictability of the near-perfect powder narrows the distribution curve of results and significantly increases minimum performance. As a result, you can engineer metal parts for higher design-allowable performance, and count on greater consistency in all builds, which will enable the manufacture of lighter, stronger, high-performance components. Imagine the possibilities!
Fine metal powder particles are more than just a nuisance in the manufacturing process — they can be dangerously explosive. Equispheres’ powders have a minimal quantity of fines and are therefore much safer to handle. This can simplify the complexity and reduce the costs of safety equipment normally required when dealing with certain metal powder alloys.
See the proof of our performance
Equispheres is working with leading academic and research organizations to verify and quantify the impact of the key powder features discussed above. Contact us for the latest studies, tests, and data.