Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
A METHOD FOR EVACUATION OF POWDER PRODUCED BY ULTRASONIC ATOMIZATION AND A DEVICE FOR IMPLEMENTING THIS METHOD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/009708
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The subject of the invention is a device for removing powder produced in the process of ultrasonic atomization, comprising an atomization chamber (1) equipped with an inlet (6) and a gas outlet (8) and a directing element (7) for gas distribution and gas velocity profile in the chamber. The invention also relates to a method of removing powder produced in the process of ultrasonic atomization, in which a stream of the inert gas inert is directed into the atomization zone of the chamber (1) at controlled pressure, velocity and temperature.

Inventors:
KACZYNSKI KONRAD (PL)
RALOWICZ ROBERT (PL)
BIELECKI MARCIN (PL)
Application Number:
PCT/IB2020/056702
Publication Date:
January 21, 2021
Filing Date:
July 16, 2020
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
3D LAB SP Z O O (PL)
International Classes:
B22F9/08
Domestic Patent References:
WO2019092641A12019-05-16
Foreign References:
CN108436093A2018-08-24
CN105855558A2016-08-17
GB2187762A1987-09-16
CN109317687A2019-02-12
CN106513692A2017-03-22
GB1528964A1978-10-18
CN107138733B2019-07-02
CN103433499A2013-12-11
DE3019047A11980-12-18
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WOJAKIEWICZ, Aleksandra (PL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Patent claims

1. A device for removing powder produced in the process of ultrasonic atomization, in which a sonotrode ejects drops of molten metal using the energy of vibrations, characterized in that it comprises an atomization chamber (1) equipped with an inlet (6) and a gas outlet (8) and a directing element (7) for gas distribution and stabilizing gas velocity profile in the chamber (1).

2. The device according to claim 1, characterized in that the directing element (7) is adapted to distribute the gas substantially perpendicular to the direction of melted material ejection from the sonotrode (2).

3. The device according to claim 1 or 2, characterized in that the device is configured such that the velocity profile of the gas flowing through the chamber (1) is such that its maximum velocity in any point downstream the cross-section A-A up to the outlet (8) is less than 5 times, preferably less than 2 times, of average velocity on the cross-section.

4. The device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the outflow from the directing element (7) is larger in the lower part, in order to provide an additional upward vector for the aerodynamic drag forces on the droplets.

5. The device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the maximum height of the chamber H is 600 mm and the maximum width of the chamber s is 600 mm.

6. The device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the angle of inclination of the main axis of the chamber (1) is adjustable in the range from a = +45° to a = - 5° from horizontal.

7. The device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the volume of the chamber from the inlet (6) to the outlet (8) does not exceed 0.5 m3.

8. The device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises an external port for the sonotrode (2), preferably at the bottom of the chamber, preferably installed adjustable, in such a way that it allows ejection of melted material upwards within the angle range b = +/- 30° from the vertical direction.

9. The device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises an external supply of the raw material, preferably wire or rod, from at least one or more feeders (3).

10. A device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises a heat source (5) for melting the raw material, preferably using electric energy (4).

11. The device according to claims 8 or 9, characterized in that the additional gas inlet is combined in the raw material feeder (3) and/or in the heat source supply (5) and/or a separate port and/or in any combination of the above.

12. The device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the chamber (1) and/or outlet (8) is configured to be liquid-cooled, preferably heat exchange taking place in the water jacket around the chamber (1), outlet (8) and sonotrode (2).

13. The device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the chamber outlet (8) is narrowed directed downwards, preferably to a powder separation and gas filtration system.

14. A method of removing powder produced in the process of ultrasonic atomization, in which a sonotrode ejects drops of molten metal using the energy of vibrations, characterized in that a stream of the inert gas (11) inert to the atomized material is directed into the atomization zone in the atomization chamber (1), at the pressure range from 10 kPa to 600 kPa (absolute) and at average velocity from 0.2 to 25 m/s in cross-sections perpendicular to the gas path (11), the gas being distributed substantially perpendicular to the ejection direction of the melted material from the sonotrode (2) in such a way that the droplets are entrained and taken away by the gas in atomization chamber (1) towards the outlet (8), preferably along trajectories (10) close to the chamber main axis, and at the same time are cooled down in flight by convection and radiation with the inert gas, gas until a solid state is obtained i.e. powder.

15. The method according to claim 14, characterized in that the dimensions of the chamber (1), the configuration and flow of gas and its parameters are designed, so that the droplets do not collide with the walls of the chamber (1) and outlet (8) before their temperature drops below 90% of the melting temperature expressed in the Kelvin degrees.

16. The method according to claims 14 or 15, characterized in that the inert gas temperature is controlled, preferably gas is cooled upstream of inlet to the chamber.

17. The method according to claim 14 or 15 or 16, characterized in that the gas stream (11) flowing into the sonotrode is spatially uniform or swirled, the swirl being achieved by means of the angle of discharge from the directing element (7), the asymmetrical position of the ports in the chamber (1) or mixing gas streams from the directing element (7), heat source (5), raw material feeder (3) and / or other points.

18. The method according to any of claims from 13 to 17, characterized in that the velocity profile of the gas flowing through the chamber (1) is such that its maximum velocity in any point downstream the cross-section A-A up to the outlet (8) is less than 5 times, preferably less than 2 times, of average velocity on the cross-section.

AMENDED CLAIMS

received by the International Bureau on 08 December 2020 (08.12.2020)

1. A device for removing powder produced in the process of ultrasonic atomization, in which a sonotrode ejects drops of molten metal using the energy of vibrations, characterized in that it comprises an atomization chamber (1) equipped with an inlet (6) and a gas outlet (8) and a directing element (7), which is adapted to distribute the gas substantially perpendicular to the direction of melted material ejection from the sonotrode (2) in order to provide gas distribution and stabilization of gas velocity profile in the chamber (1), and wherein the stream of said gas (11) is directed from directing element (7) to the atomization zone in the chamber (1), where it entrains the droplets of molten metal, and blows them further to the outlet (8).

2. The device according to claim 1, characterized in that the device is configured such that the velocity profile of the gas flowing through the chamber (1) is such that its maximum velocity in any point downstream the cross-section A-A up to the outlet (8) is less than 5 times, of average velocity on the cross-section.

3. The device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the outflow from the directing element (7) is larger in the lower part, in order to provide an additional upward vector for the aerodynamic drag forces on the droplets.

4. The device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the maximum height of the chamber H is 600 mm and the maximum width of the chamber S is 600 mm.

5. The device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the angle of inclination of the main axis of the chamber (1) is adjustable in the range from a = +45° to a = - 5° from horizontal.

6. The device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the volume of the chamber from the inlet (6) to the outlet (8) does not exceed 0.5 m3.

7. The device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises an external port for the sonotrode (2) at the bottom of the chamber .

8. The device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises an external supply of the raw material from at least one or more feeders (3).

9. A device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises a heat source (5) for melting the raw material, using electric energy (4).

10. The device according to claims 7 or 8, characterized in that the additional gas inlet is combined in the raw material feeder (3) and/or in the heat source supply (5) and/or a separate port and/or in any combination of the above.

11. The device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the chamber (1) and/or outlet (8) is configured to be liquid-cooled, preferably heat exchange taking place in the water jacket around the chamber (1), outlet (8) and sonotrode (2).

12. The device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the chamber outlet (8) is narrowed directed downwards, preferably to a powder separation and gas filtration system.

13. A method of removing powder produced in the process of ultrasonic atomization, in which a sonotrode ejects drops of molten metal using the energy of vibrations, characterized in that a stream of the inert gas (11) inert to the atomized material is directed into the atomization zone in the atomization chamber (1), at the absolute pressure range from 10 kPa to 600 kPa and at average velocity from 0.2 to 25 m/s in cross-sections perpendicular to the gas path (11), the gas being distributed substantially perpendicular to the ejection direction of the melted material from the sonotrode (2) in such a way that the droplets are entrained and taken away by the gas in atomization chamber (1) towards the outlet (8), preferably along trajectories (10) close to the chamber main axis, and at the same time are cooled down in flight by convection and radiation with the inert gas, gas until a solid state is obtained i.e. powder.

14. The method according to claim 13, characterized in that the dimensions of the chamber (1), the configuration and flow of gas and its parameters are designed, so that the droplets do not collide with the walls of the chamber (1) and outlet (8) before their temperature drops below 90% of the melting temperature expressed in the Kelvin degrees.

15. The method according to claims 13 or 14, characterized in that the inert gas temperature is controlled, preferably gas is cooled upstream of inlet to the chamber.

16. The method according to claim IB or 14 or 15, characterized in that the gas stream (11) flowing into the sonotrode is spatially uniform or swirled, the swirl being achieved by means of the angle of discharge from the directing element (7), the asymmetrical position of the ports in the chamber (1) or mixing gas streams from the directing element (7), heat source (5), raw material feeder (3) and / or other points.

17. The method according to any of claims from 13 to 16, characterized in that the velocity profile of the gas flowing through the chamber (1) is such that its maximum velocity in any point downstream the cross-section A-A up to the outlet (8) is less than 5 times, preferably less than 2 times, of average velocity on the cross-section.

Description:
A method for evacuation of powder produced by ultrasonic atomization and a device for implementing this method

The present invention relates to a device for a gas-driven transport of material in form of droplets and powder as produced by an ultrasonic atomization.

One of the methods of producing high-quality metallic powders is the method of ultrasonic atomization. Such powders are used as a raw material for SD printing in additive technologies, powder metallurgy (sintering) and metallic coatings. In this method, the metal melts on a sonotrode connected to a source of ultrasonic vibrations. The sonotrode ejects drops of molten metal using the energy of vibrations supplied from the outside, and further the liquid is broken by the capillary waves formed under the stimulus of ultrasound in the molten metal pool.

The atomization occurs due to the instability of the standing wave in the liquid after exceeding the critical level of vibration amplitude specific to the atomized material. After overcoming the forces of viscosity and surface tension, a single drop is ejected, and then the process is repeated after achieving instability again.

In other atomization devices (e.g. DE3150221A1 from Leybold-Heraeus GmbH, US3275787A from General Electric, CN1422718A), the produced powder is dropped by the gravity under the sonotrode. The disadvantage of this solution is the large size of the atomization chamber and thus a large volume under controlled pressure and purity. Moreover, there is a risk of flooding the powder container with molten metal in the event of disturbances in melting of the raw material, e.g. as a result of uneven feed or variation of thermal energy supply.

This invention is to reveal a system for the droplets ejection and then blowing them under a controlled trajectory until they solidify to powder form. The disclosed solution allows optimization of its cooling time for specific material properties, which is usually related to the raw material enthalpy and melting temperature, as well as the 1 st step classification of the powder to maximize the output of the demanded grain size. Typically powders preferred for additive manufacturing are in the particle size distribution D10-D90 of 20-80 microns, while the atomization parameter is set up for a specific raw material, in order to get the average grain size D50 between 30 and 60 microns.

The subject of the invention is a device for removing powder produced in the process of ultrasonic atomization, characterized in that it comprises an atomization chamber equipped with a gas inlet, gas outlet and a directing element for spreading the inert gas in the chamber and stabilizing its gas velocity profile there.

Preferably the directing element is suitable for distributing the gas primarily perpendicular to the direction of ejection of the melt from the sonotrode.

Preferably the device is configured such that the velocity profile of the gas flowing through the chamber is such that its maximum velocity in any point downstream the cross-section A-A up to the outlet is less than 5 times, preferably less than 2 times, of average velocity on the cross-section.

Preferably the outflow from the directing element is larger in the lower part, in order to provide an additional upward vector for the aerodynamic drag forces on the droplets downstream of the sonotrode (i.e. behind cross-section A-A).

Preferably the directing element is suitable for distributing the gas in the pressure range from 10 kPa to 600 kPa (absolute) and at average velocity from 0.2 up to 25 m/s in cross-sections perpendicular to the gas path.

Preferably, the maximum height of the chamber H is 600 mm and the maximum width of the chamber S is 600 mm.

Preferably, the angle of inclination of the main axis of the chamber is adjustable in the range from a = +45° to a = -5° from horizontal.

Preferably, the volume of the chamber from inlet to outlet does not exceed 0.5 m 3 .

Preferably, the chamber comprises a port for the sonotrode, preferably in the lower part of the chamber, preferably adjusted in such a way that it allows the molten metal to be ejected upwards within the angle b = +/- 30° from the vertical. Preferably the chamber comprises ports for an external supply of at least one or more material feeders.

Preferably, the device comprises providing a heat source to melt the feed material, preferably using electricity.

Preferably, the gas inlet is provided in the material feeder and/or in the heat source inlet and/or as an independent port and/or in any combination of the above.

Preferably the chamber and/or its outlet is configured to be liquid-cooled, preferably heat exchange takes place in a water jacket around the chamber, outlet and sonotrode.

Preferably the tapered outlet is directed down, preferably leading the accelerated gas to the powder separation (e.g. cyclone) and then gas filtration system.

The invention also relates to a method of removing powder produced in the process of ultrasonic atomization, characterized in that a stream of inert gas is directed into the atomization zone in the chamber, in the pressure range from 0.1 barA to 6 barA and at average velocity from 0.2 up to 25 m/s in cross-sections perpendicular to the gas path. The gas being distributed substantially perpendicular to the direction of the droplet ejection, in such a way that the droplets are entrained and blown by the gas in the atomization chamber towards its outlet, preferably along trajectories horizontal, and at the same time they are cooled in flight by heat exchange with cold inbound gas, until a solid state obtained (powder).

Preferably, the chamber dimensions, gas configuration and flow and its parameters are selected so that the droplets do not collide with the chamber and outlet walls until their temperature drops below 90% of the melting point expressed in the Kelvin degrees.

Preferably the inlet temperature of the inert gas is controlled by an external cooling device.

Preferably the gas stream flowing downstream of the sonotrode is spatially uniform or swirled, where the swirl is generated from an inclined directing element and/or the asymmetrical position of the ports in the chamber and/or by mixing gas streams from the directing element, heat source, feeder and/or other points. Preferably the velocity profile of the gas flowing through the chamber (1) is such that its maximum velocity in any point downstream the cross-section A-A up to the outlet (8) is less than 5 times, preferably less than 2 times, of average velocity on the cross-section.

Advantages of the invention:

• The small volume of the chamber reduces the amount of inert gas in the system and reduces the start-up time necessary to exchange the atmosphere from air to clean (i.e. oxygen free). The device has small dimensions and can be used both in laboratory and industrial applications.

• Cooling time of droplets is controlled by the flight distance of the droplets, until they cool down into powder; Parameters such as: increasing/decreasing gas velocity, pressure and temperature allow to obtain the powder at the desired location within the chamber volume and its outlet.

• The chamber is universal for various metals and their alloys - by choosing the amplitude on the sonotrode and gas velocity profiles (optionally its temperature and pressure), one can easily control the droplet/powder trajectory in the range from very light or low-melting metals (and also low enthalpy) e.g. aluminum up to heavy (e.g. steel, brass) or with high melting point and enthalpy (e.g. for titanium alloys, nickel and cobalt super-alloys over 1600 deg C)

• In a preferred example, the side walls of the chamber and the outlet channel can be additionally cooled, e.g. with a water jacket, to receive heat from the gas and accelerate the process of cooling the droplets.

The invention will now be illustrated in the embodiment with reference to the drawing, in which:

Fig. 1 schematically shows the chamber cross-section according to the invention as well as the view on the section (A) to the main axis of the chamber.

Fig. 2 is a diagram of the chamber with the dimensions and angles marked,

Fig. 3 shows an example of a directing element installed on the chamber inlet.

Fig. 4 is a chart with dimensionless velocity profile of the gas (6) perpendicular to the cross-section A-A in the chamber part downstream of A-A. The chamber (1) is substantially longer in a direction perpendicular to the direction of the ejection from the sonotrode (2). On the one end, the inert gas inlet (6) is built-in, and on the other a narrowing (tapered) outlet (8), preferably joined by connection (9) to the powder and gas separating device. The chamber is equipped with a directing element (7), which is used to distribute clean and cool gas (6) within the chamber (1) and which stabilizes the velocity profile in the chamber. The inert gas path (11) is substantially perpendicular to the ejection direction of molten metal from the sonotrode (2).

The function of the directing element (deflector feature) (7) is to uniform the gas flow profile around the sonotrode (2), which reduces turbulence and temperature above the molten metal pool, stabilizes the atomization process and helps maintain the desired temperature in the pool. The velocity profile of the gas flowing through the chamber (1) shall be, that its maximum velocity in any point downstream the cross-section A-A up to the outlet (8) is less than 5 times (preferably less than 2 times) of average velocity on the cross-section, while lowest velocity is kept in the chamber center and larger in proximity to chamber walls, preferably highest on the chamber bottom.

The optimal velocity profile is shown on the chart from Fig 4, where dimensionless velocity is referenced to average velocity perpendicular to cross-section A-A. Due to the fact that the gas velocity is higher more closely to the walls, the droplets are entrained there more by aerodynamic drag forces, hence they are less likely to hit the walls and stick to walls, as droplets flow direction is deflected more forcefully by the gas stream of higher velocity. As result such velocity profile minimizes the losses of the powder on the length between ejection from the sonotrode and a powder container placed downstream the outlet (8). To achieve such velocity profile, the inert gas (6) is injected from the side or cold end of the chamber (1) to the directing element (7), where the inflowing stream can be divided between several channels (6) to the chamber (1).

The directing element (7) can take the form of a ring with at least six holes on its circumference. Preferably, the outflow from the directing element is larger in the lower part - as shown on the chart of Fig 4 for the dotted line with the velocity profile in vertical path (H) - in order to provide an additional upward vector for the aerodynamic drag forces on the droplets, reduce temperature around the sonotrode support and to extend descent path and cooling time for droplets. By choosing different spacing and diameter of the channels, one can adapt the chamber (1) operation to atomization of metals of different density (e.g. from aluminum to silver). An embodiment is shown in Fig. 3 - view from the inside of the chamber.

The sonotrode (2) is installed in the lower part of the atomization chamber (1), ejecting drops of molten metal above its surface, where the drop ejection direction has an angle b = +/- 30° from a vertical direction. The metal drops cool in the working gas, maintaining a spherical shape as a result of gas movement and heat exchange with it. Drops of molten material are transported along trajectories (10) close to horizontal and at the same time cooled in flight by convection and radiation with the inert gas until the solid state (powder) is obtained. The metal drops cool in the inert gas, while maintaining their spherical shape due to the energy of the surface tension in droplets.

The chamber (1) is adjustable in such a way that the main axis of the chamber can form an angle a in reference to the horizontal direction from +45 0 do -5 °. The slope of the chamber a can be changed on the device to adapt, to the characteristics of the trajectory of powders with a larger or smaller grain density or diameter.

The cross-section of the chamber (relative to the resultant gas flow axis) is can be of any form, e.g. circular, elliptical, rectangular and can be modified along the direction of gas flow.

In the chamber (1) there are external connections (ports) for:

• sonotrode (2),

• one or more material feeders (3) from the outside (e.g. wire or bar feeder),

• heat sources (5) for melting the material, preferably using electricity (4), e.g. arc torch (GTAW, GMAW), plasma torch (PTAW), induction heater,

• inert gas (e.g. nitrogen, argon, helium) with optional additives for a special purpose (e.g. for reducing surface tension and droplet size, reduction of oxygen present in raw material, fire protection in case of oxidizing alloys like magnesium, etc.), in the pressure range from 10 kPa to 600 kPa (absolute) and at medium speeds from 0.2 to 25 m/s in cross-sections perpendicular to the gas path, where gas can be supplied from independent ports (single or several), heat source port (5) or melt feeder port (3) or using any combination of these ports, • water or other cooling medium, with heat exchange taking place in the water jacket around the chamber, outlet and sonotrode.