The Influence of Metal 3D Printing Process Chain on the Properties of TC4 Powder
Australian alumina ban disrupts Rusal production -- Australia's ban on exports of alumina and aluminium ore to Russia, including bauxite, will further disrupt supply chains and production at leading aluminium producer Rusal.
The Australian government announced the ban on Sunday as part of its ongoing sanctions against Moscow for its aggression in Ukraine, saying Russia relies on it to meet one-fifth of its alumina needs. WoodMac senior manager Uday Patel said in a statement that the ban would make it difficult for Rusal to maintain normal primary aluminum production.
Rusal said it was assessing the impact of Australia's move and would make further announcements if necessary. "It is increasingly likely that UC Rusal's only option for alumina procurement will be through a Chinese entity." The Australian alumina ban has also had an impact on Ti6Al4V powder prices for chemicals. Patel said. "One possible outcome could be Chinese buyers buying alumina and reselling it through eastern Russian ports." Rusal has a 20% stake in the Queensland Alumina Refinery, which has a capacity of 3.95 million tonnes a year, thus providing Rusal with 790,000 tonnes a year, Patel said. In addition, Rusal's Nikolaev refinery in Ukraine, which has an annual capacity of 1.75 million tonnes, has been suspended due to the conflict, he added. WoodMac said Rusal was also experiencing supply chain problems at its 2 million tonne a year Aughinish refinery in Ireland.
In the powder bed laser melting technology, from the production,
transportation, storage, printing and recycling of materials, the powder has
been under a variety of mechanical and atmospheric environments throughout the
process chain, the chemical composition and shape of the powder particles, and
the entire process. The characteristics of powder materials may be affected by
factors such as the atmosphere, temperature, humidity, and external forces. This
article discusses the potentially important influencing factors of TC4 powder in
the entire process. The research results can be used in other powder processing
and management to ensure the quality of the material throughout the service life
and make the SLM process more robust and reliable.
In order to evaluate the characteristics and batch stability of the powder,
the same specifications and two batches produced by TC4-Ti6Al4V(level 5) three
different processes (gas atomization EIGA, plasma atomization PA, inductively
coupled plasma atomization ICPA) were studied. For powders, the particle size
distribution, particle morphology and fluidity of these powders were
The results show that the sizes of the three powder particles are between
15-65 microns, with a Gaussian distribution, but the PA and ICPA powders show a
wider particle size distribution compared with the EIGA powder. The flow time
measured by the Hall flowmeter is in the range of 14.6s-16.1s, indicating that
all powders and batches have good flowability. Electron microscopy results show
that the three powders have high spherical shapes, but the EIGA powder particles
are slightly elongated, while the ICPA powder contains a lot of satellite
In order to study whether argon protection is required during powder storage,
two powder containers were stored under the same conditions of 30°C and 30%
relative humidity. One container has been stored intact, and the protective
atmosphere of the other container is destroyed by one opening process. After a
storage period of ten days, samples for mechanical testing and elemental
measurement were prepared.
The results of the tensile test show that the ultimate tensile strength of
the sample is basically the same in a protective atmosphere and an unprotected
atmosphere; the powder stored in a humid environment has the highest ultimate
strength, which is slightly higher than that of the dry powder printed sample
5%, and the elongation rate dropped severely. Gas content measurement confirmed
that in a humid environment, the oxygen content of the sample is about 10%
higher than that in a dry environment, which leads to material
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