Laboratory flowability testing of metallic and ceramic powders

Your needs: to use high performance powders and fluids in your production processes

Flowability describes the ability a powder has to freely flow at a constant rate as individual particles. This type of analysis measures the time it takes for a given quantity of powder to pass through a funnel, calibrated in accordance with standards.

As one of a powder’s main behavioral properties, flowability is what most industrialists are interested in. A powder’s flowability performance will dictate the quality of the final product. A powder that flows easily and naturally will not need outside intervention (ex. vibrations) which would add costs and take time.

Performing flowability tests with help from an expert laboratory will allow you to determine the overall performance of your powders before using them in your production process.

Our solution: to conduct flowability testing to verify that your powders comply with standards

In accordance with ASTM B213 and ISO 4490 standards, FILAB laboratory provides industrialists with custom flowability testing services for metallic and ceramic powders adapted to simulate real production conditions. Using a Hall Funnel, FILAB can conduct tests on powder samples to determine the average flow time.

If the powder does not properly flow through the Hall Funnel, FILAB laboratory can also conduct testing with a Carney funnel in accordance with the ASTM B964 standard.

Flowability is usually mentioned as one of the criteria of a scope statement for metallic parts made using additive manufacturing, mostly in the aeronautics or Medical Device industries. Powder residue can be reused multiple times in production processes; however, their performance will degrade with each use, which consequently calls for regular inspections.

Relying on its expertise in materials science, FILAB can assist industrialists using additive manufacturing as part of their project by conducting flowability testing.

The positive aspects of FILAB

  • A highly qualified team

  • Responsiveness in responding to and processing requests

  • A complete analytical park of 2100m²

  • Tailor-made support

The angle of repose of a powder is defined as the maximum angle at which a material can be stacked without it sliding down or collapsing. It is determined by measuring the angle between the horizontal plane and the surface of the stack. In general, this angle depends on several factors such as the size and shape of the particles and the inter-particle forces. It is an important parameter for determining various powder characteristics such as flowability, compressibility and storage stability. Angle of repose analysis also provides useful information for process design in industries dealing with bulk materials such as pharmaceuticals and food processing. The measurement of the angle of repose uses a variety of techniques, including plotting data points on graph paper after sieving particles smaller than 0.5 mm.

The analysis of the angle of repose of a powder is important because it helps to determine the flowability, compressibility and storage stability of the material. A low angle of repose means that the material can be easily poured or retrieved at any angle, while a high angle indicates that it is more difficult to move. Knowing this information can help industries dealing with bulk materials, such as pharmaceuticals and the food industry, to design efficient processes for their products. Understanding how different particles interact with each other and their individual characteristics allows engineers to find better solutions for managing and storing powders. For example, analysing the slip angle of a powder provides valuable information on many aspects of bulk material handling.

Yes, there is a difference between powder angle of repose analysis and powder angle of repose analysis. Powder angle of repose analysis measures the internal friction of a stack by measuring the maximum angle at which particles can be stacked without slipping or collapsing. The powder angle of repose analysis examines how particles flow when pushed from one point to another and assesses their ability to move as a solid mass. It is important to note that the two tests measure different things, so it is essential to perform both tests to get an accurate assessment of the material's properties. Some materials have different angles depending on their orientation; for example, sugar has a higher angle in its horizontal position than in its vertical position.

Thomas GAUTIER Head of Materials Department
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