Spherical powders: Control over the size and morphology of powders for additive manufacturing and enriched stable isotope nuclear targets
1 Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Stable Isotope Materials and Chemistry, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA
2 AMAZEMET | Warsaw University of Technology, 00-867 Warsaw, Poland
3 A3DM Technologies, Sarasota, Florida, USA
* Corresponding author: ZachMP@ornl.gov
Published online: 22 June 2023
Metal powders are a fundamental starting point for fabricating many types of nuclear targets. Elemental powder properties can differ drastically between batches, even when using the same method. Therefore, the variation in morphology and the size of metal powders can cause variable quality and produce inconsistent results with what are otherwise proven target manufacturing techniques. Additive manufacturing has additional requirements for higher quality and more uniform feedstock. The production of spheroidized powders with uniform, reproducible properties and a narrow size distribution represents unexplored opportunities for experiments. These opportunities include experimenting with solid metals that can now flow like liquids, new options for powder handling and dispensing, and new target fabrication methods using additive manufacturing. The Stable Isotope Materials and Chemistry Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory obtained an AMAZEMET rePowder ultrasonic metal atomization tool for creating limited batches of fully dense, free flowing, spherical powders with a narrow size distribution of extremely rare materials. Early results are presented with materials that were produced. The team explores the anticipated limits of this instrument with extremely rare materials (e.g., enriched stable isotopes) and highlights research into new fabrication techniques that provide additional options benefitting the international nuclear target community.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2023
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