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1. US20180214956 - PLASMA ATOMIZATION METAL POWDER MANUFACTURING PROCESSES AND SYSTEM THEREFOR

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[ EN ]

Claims

1. A plasma atomization metal powder manufacturing process comprising:
providing a heated metal source;
aligning the heated metal source with a plasma of at least one plasma source, the aligning comprising positioning the heated metal source within at most 5 centimeters from an outlet nozzle of the at least one plasma source; and
contacting said heated metal source with the plasma of the at least one plasma source under conditions effective for causing atomization of said heated metal source, wherein said atomization is carried out by using a total gas to metal mass ratio of less than about 20, thereby obtaining a raw metal powder having a 0-106 μm particle size distribution yield of at least 80%, measured according to ASTM B214.
2. The manufacturing process of claim 1, wherein the total gas to metal mass ratio is of less than about 17.
3. The manufacturing process of claim 1, wherein the total gas to metal mass ratio is of about 5 to about 15.
4- 6. (canceled)
7. The manufacturing process of claim 1, wherein the total gas to metal mass ratio is of about 10 to about 15.
8. The manufacturing process of claim 1, wherein the raw metal powder has a 0-106 μm particle size distribution yield of at least 90%, measured according to ASTM B214.
9. The manufacturing process of claim 1, wherein the raw metal powder has a 0-75 μm particle size distribution yield of at least 85%, measured according to ASTM B214.
10. The manufacturing process of claim 1, wherein the raw metal powder has a 0-45 μm particle size distribution yield of at least 50%, measured according to ASTM B214.
11- 13. (canceled)
14. The manufacturing process of claim 1, wherein the plasma is emitted from a plurality of discrete nozzles of the at least one plasma source, the discrete nozzles being positioned angularly about the heated metal source.
15. (canceled)
16. The manufacturing process of claim 1, wherein the heated metal source is chosen from a wire, a rod and a melt stream.
17- 19. (canceled)
20. The manufacturing process of claim 1, wherein the heated metal source comprises at least one member chosen from one of titanium, titanium alloys, zirconium, zirconium alloys, cobalt superalloys, nickel superalloys, magnesium, magnesium alloys, niobium, niobium alloys, aluminum, aluminum alloys, molybdenum, molybdenum alloys, tungsten, tungsten alloys, oxygen-reactive metals, and nitrogen-reactive metals.
21- 26. (canceled)
27. The manufacturing process of claim 1, wherein aligning the heated metal source with the plasma of the at least one plasma source comprises positioning the heated metal source within at most 2.5 centimeters from the outlet nozzle of the at least one plasma source.
28. (canceled)
29. A plasma atomization metal powder manufacturing process comprising:
providing a heated metal source; and
contacting the heated metal source with a plasma of at least one plasma source under conditions effective for causing atomization of said heated metal source; and
aligning, during the atomization, the heated metal source by means of a guide member receiving the heated metal source therethrough, the aligning comprising adjusting an orientation of the heated metal source to maintain alignment of the heated metal source with the plasma of the at least one plasma source by adjusting an orientation of the guide with a displacable member coupled thereto.
30. The manufacturing process of claim 29, wherein the heated metal source is one of a metal wire or metal rod.
31. The manufacturing process of claim 29, wherein the heated metal source is aligned with an apex of the plasma of the at least one plasma source.
32. The manufacturing process of claim 29, wherein aligning the heated metal source with the plasma of the at least one plasma source comprises positioning the heated metal source within at most 5 centimeters from an outlet nozzle of the at least one plasma source.
33- 34. (canceled)
35. The manufacturing process of claim 29, wherein the adjusting of the orientation of the heated metal source comprises pivoting the heated metal source about a pivot point positioned upstream and remote of the plasma of the at least one plasma source.
36- 63. (canceled)
64. An atomizing system comprising:
at least one heating system for heating a metal source;
at least one plasma source configured for contacting the heated metal source after heating with plasma under conditions effective for causing atomization of the heated metal source; and
an alignment system positioned upstream of the at least one plasma source for causing a change in orientation of the heated metal source relative to the plasma during said atomization, the alignment system comprising a displaceable member coupled to the heated metal source and a pivot point coupled to the heated metal source, a displacement of the displaceable member causing the heated metal source to rotate about the pivot point.
65. The atomizing system of claim 64, wherein the alignment system comprises a guide member defining a channel upstream of the plasma, the channel further defining a displacement path of the heated metal source.
66. The atomizing system of claim 65, wherein the alignment system further comprises an inlet for receiving at least one of a gas source and liquid source for cooling the guide member.
67- 74. (canceled)
75. The atomizing system of claim 64, wherein the plasma is emitted from a plurality of discrete nozzles of the at least one plasma source, the discrete nozzles being positioned angularly about the heated metal source.
76- 112. (canceled)