Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Materials Science and Engineering
Iver E. Anderson
In recent years, the aluminum powder industry has expanded into non-aerospace applications. However, the alumina and aluminum hydroxide in the surface oxide film on aluminum powder require high cost powder processing routes. A driving force for this research is to broaden the knowledge base about aluminum powder metallurgy to provide ideas for fabricating low cost aluminum powder components. The objective of this dissertation is to explore the hypothesis that there is a strong linkage between gas atomization processing conditions, as-atomized aluminum powder characteristics, and the consolidation methodology required to make components from aluminum powder;The hypothesis was tested with pure aluminum powders produced by commercial air atomization commercial inert gas atomization and gas atomization reaction synthesis (GARS). The commercial atomization methods are bench marks of current aluminum powder technology. The GARS process is a laboratory scale inert gas atomization facility. A benefit of using pure aluminum powders is an unambiguous interpretation of the results without considering the effects of alloy elements;A comparison of the GARS aluminum powders with the commercial aluminum powders showed the former to exhibit superior powder characteristics. The powders were compared in terms of size and shape, bulk chemistry, surface oxide chemistry and structure, and oxide film thickness. Minimum explosive concentration measurements assessed the dependence of explosibility hazard on surface area, oxide film thickness, and gas atomization processing conditions. The GARS aluminum powders were exposed to different relative humidity levels, demonstrating the effect of atmospheric conditions on post-atomization oxidation of aluminum powder. An Al-Ti-Y GARS alloy exposed in ambient air at different temperatures revealed the effect of reactive alloy elements on post-atomization powder oxidation;The pure aluminum powders were consolidated by two different routes, a conventional consolidation process for fabricating aerospace components with aluminum powder and a proposed alternative. The consolidation procedures were compared by evaluating the consolidated microstructures and the corresponding mechanical properties. A low temperature solid state sintering experiment demonstrated that tap densified GARS aluminum powders can form sintering necks between contacting powder particles, unlike the total resistance to sintering of commercial air atomization aluminum powder.
Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/
Joel Fredrick Flumerfelt
Flumerfelt, Joel Fredrick, "Aluminum powder metallurgy processing " (1998). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 11918.