A new powder production method has been developed to speed up the search for novel alloys for additive manufacturing. The technique involves an ultrasonically agitated cold crucible installed at the top of a 20 kHz ultrasonic sonotrode. The material is melted with an electric arc and undergoes pulverization with standing wave vibrations. Several different alloys in various forms, including noble and metallic glass alloys, were chosen to test the process. The atomized particles showed exceptional sphericity, while powder output suitable for additive manufacturing reached up to 60%. The AMZ4 metallic glass powder remained amorphous below the 50 μm fraction, while tungsten addition led to crystallization in each fraction. Minor contamination and high Mn and Zn evaporation, especially in the finest particles, was observed in atomized powders. The innovative ultrasonic atomization method appears as a promising tool for material scientists to develop powders with tailored chemical composition, size and structure.
Keywords: additive manufacturing; cold crucible; powder atomization; powder metallurgy; recycling; ultrasonic.