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Average particle diameters (APDs) from alloyed aluminum powders were obtained by three methods including these instruments: (1) Fisher Sub-Siever Sizer®, (2) Elzone Particle Counter®, and (3) the Microtrac. Although each method was relatively fast and gave consistent results, when compared against each other the differences observed were significant. These differences were caused by the instrumentation and mathematical expressions used in each technique. Generally, the Microtrac and Elzone volume mode APD results were similar for the −325 mesh powders and were approximately double the Fisher APDs for the −270+325 and −325 mesh air-atomized powders. Fisher APDs for spherical powders can be estimated by using the Elzone surface area mode APD values. The Elzone could detect much larger (up to 380-µm) particle diameters than the Microtrac (176 µm) or the Fisher (50 µm) and, therefore, analyzed more accurately the coarser powders. Scanning electron micrographs showed surface roughness and particle size distribution of the powders.
Senior research engineer, Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp., Center for Technology, Pleasanton, CA
Stock #: JTE11574J