Request a quote

The Importance of Characterising Powders to Optimise Additive Manufacturing


In a series of articles with TCT Magazine, Jamie Clayton (Operations Director, Freeman Technology), discusses the ability of powder rheology to identify and quantify properties that directly influence spreadability and overall performance in an Additive Manufacturing (AM) process enabling improved feedstock specification and ultimately optimising performance and enhancing quality.

Pushing for Performance in Polymer Powders

Technology that can precisely and relevantly quantify flowability has an important role to play in the development of new materials.
As 3D printing becomes more established for finished part production, the demand for new feed materials intensifies.
Meeting the performance profile for demanding aerospace, automotive, and medical applications calls for the ability to tailor properties such as weight, strength, flexibility, heat resistance, colour and biocompatibility.

Click here to view.


Is There a Better Way to Specify Powders for Additive Manufacturing?

It would be great to think that that we could put in place specifications that define the performance of a given powder in a specific AM application. A specification that makes it possible to answer the question ‘Can I print with this?’ and that safeguards the defining attributes of a printed product. Such specifications would have considerable value for: 

  • supplier choice and supply chain optimisation
  • the assessment of new or alternative feeds for an established printer or application
  • the development of novel AM powder feedstocks

Click here to view.


Can Better Storage and Pre-Treatment Enhance Additive Manufacturing Metal Powder Performance?

The cost of metal powders for additive manufacturing (AM) is high and contributes an appreciable proportion to the manufactured cost of printed components.
While the capital investment associated with a printer is committed, and progressively offset over time, feedstock costs attract ongoing scrutiny.
Regular usage is a constant reminder that metal powder supplies attract a high price, particularly when compared to the price of the solid material (bar stock) and highlights the need to extract maximum performance from a feed.

Click here to view.


Is There a Reliable Way to Assess the Physical Impact of Powder Re-Use?

For many applications, AM is not economically viable without powder re-use. Powder bed fusion and binder jetting processes both have low ‘per pass’ incorporation rates and simply disposing of the residual powder is not an option, especially when using expensive metal powder feedstocks.

However, every pass through the printer can affect both chemical and physical properties of the powder. Physical changes that affect critical behaviours such as flowability and spreadability can be challenging to assess when establishing a robust re-use strategy.

Click here to view.


Can Powder Testing Accelerate the Development of New Feedstocks for AM?

Current commercial applications of powder-based AM predominantly use well-established materials such as polyamides, titanium, or stainless steel, in the form of feedstocks tailored for printing. However, flexibility is a defining feature of AM and there is almost limitless potential to print with new materials. Across the globe researchers are working with nanocomposites, filled and reinforced polymers, innovative alloys, and other materials, to add new functionality to AM parts and realise new applications for the technology.

Click here to view.