Producing Metal Powder from Machining Chips Using Ball Milling Process: A Review

Materials (Basel). 2023 Jun 27;16(13):4635. doi: 10.3390/ma16134635.


In the pursuit of achieving zero emissions, exploring the concept of recycling metal waste from industries and workshops (i.e., waste-free) is essential. This is because metal recycling not only helps conserve natural resources but also requires less energy as compared to the production of new products from virgin raw materials. The use of metal scrap in rapid tooling (RT) for injection molding is an interesting and viable approach. Recycling methods enable the recovery of valuable metal powders from various sources, such as electronic, industrial, and automobile scrap. Mechanical alloying is a potential opportunity for sustainable powder production as it has the capability to convert various starting materials with different initial sizes into powder particles through the ball milling process. Nevertheless, parameter factors, such as the type of ball milling, ball-to-powder ratio (BPR), rotation speed, grinding period, size and shape of the milling media, and process control agent (PCA), can influence the quality and characteristics of the metal powders produced. Despite potential drawbacks and environmental impacts, this process can still be a valuable method for recycling metals into powders. Further research is required to optimize the process. Furthermore, ball milling has been widely used in various industries, including recycling and metal mold production, to improve product properties in an environmentally friendly way. This review found that ball milling is the best tool for reducing the particle size of recycled metal chips and creating new metal powders to enhance mechanical properties and novelty for mold additive manufacturing (MAM) applications. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct further research on various parameters associated with ball milling to optimize the process of converting recycled copper chips into powder. This research will assist in attaining the highest level of efficiency and effectiveness in particle size reduction and powder quality. Lastly, this review also presents potential avenues for future research by exploring the application of RT in the ball milling technique.

Keywords: ball milling; mechanical alloying; mechanical properties; milling parameters; mould additive manufacturing; rapid tooling; recycling metals.

Publication types

  • Review