November 22nd, 2021
Creating high-quality powder metal feed is a challenge facing many producers today. Crucial quality characteristics for these producers include high atomization yield with tight particle size distributions (PSD) as well as consistent particle shape for best performance. This becomes even more difficult when producing high-end alloyed metal powders. Saint-Gobain Combat Boron Nitride Solids have proven success in providing these critical characteristics dispensing the molten metals through boron nitride atomization nozzles.
Saint-Gobain offers unique compositions of boron nitride solids that are well suited for dispensing molten metals. Boron nitride is intrinsically inert, making it stable at high temperatures and resistant to corrosion. Its low surface energy creates a non-wetting surface that, in combination with its low coefficient of friction, provide stable dimensional tolerances for longer periods of time. This offers enhanced atomization yield, improved PSD and particle shape control when compared to traditional nozzles, typically composed of pressed and sintered zirconia. This is most evident when processing more exotic alloys which present very difficult processing conditions as well as increased costs for poor quality. Saint-Gobain Boron Nitride nozzles can also reduce operational bottlenecks due to clogging as well as uptime for the producers.
The Potential of Boron Nitride in 3D Printing
The properties that have enabled Saint-Gobain Boron Nitride success in dispensing molten metals for powder metal production also translate to the newer technology of 3D printing. The field of additive manufacturing has been propelled by new technologies which have continuously driven 3D printing innovations over the past several years. Powdered metal remains the most common feedstock for most of these technologies, but deposition and forming techniques are changing. The benefits that boron nitride brings to metal atomization are increasingly relevant to these new 3D printing techniques.
Some manufacturers are currently seeking ways to manipulate molten metal, which naturally requires higher process temperatures. This can put a significant thermal strain on the mechanical components, thus leading to novel challenges in printer design, like which materials to select for optimal heat resistance and negligible reactivity to molten metals.
Precision-machined boron nitride nozzles can ensure consistent results where molten metal dispensing is under consideration. Its high thermal shock resistance and low coefficient of thermal expansion allow it to withstand high heat gradients, and its high thermal conductivity facilitates faster solidification of metal after deposition.
Boron Nitride Products from Saint-Gobain
Saint-Gobain Boron Nitride specializes in applying the chemical and physical properties of boron nitride to help resolve metal dispensing challenges in the world’s most advanced science and technology industries. We tailor our boron nitride ceramic products to be customized solutions to unique challenges including high-temperature durability, shock resistance, conductivity, and electrical resistibility.