The high-pressure gas atomization is well known as one of the best powder manufacturing processes due to its controllability over powder size distribution. However, with the continuous improvement of new alloys, optimizing the operating parameters to maximize the yield is costly and time-consuming. Therefore, it is essential to understand the high-pressure gas atomization process and the effects of different operational parameters on the powder size distribution. Two-phase numerical simulations are performed to capture the interfacial dynamic during the atomization process and to obtain the effects of gas pressure, melt flow rate, and thermophysical properties of atomizing gas and the molten metal. The Volume of Fluid (VOF) model is used to capture the melt-gas interface, and in-house post-processing code is developed to obtain the droplet size distributions. Three-dimensional geometry of an annular-slit close-coupled gas atomizer is utilized to investigate the primary atomization process. The current grid resolution is sufficient for capturing primary atomization and some characteristics of the secondary atomization, but it is not adequate to capture all the length scales in secondary atomization. Qualitative comparisons of the cumulative volume graphs indicate that this numerical approach is capable of capturing the trends in the atomization process as in the experiments. It is found that a combination of several interfacial instabilities governs the atomization process. Simulations corresponding to different gas pressures show that the atomization characteristics remain unchanged irrespective of the gas pressure. However, it is found that the rate of the evolution and the effectiveness of the atomization process increases with the gas pressure. Three melts (aluminum, steel, and an artificial material with intermediate thermophysical properties) are used to investigate the effects of the molten metal properties and found that the rate of the atomization process decreases with increasing melt density, and the yield of the atomized powder is seen to increase. The flow characteristics remain unchanged for all three melts. The melt flow is strongly correlated with flow characteristics and interfacial instability.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Engineering and Computer Science
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Hanthanan Arachchilage, Kalpana, "Multiphase Flow Modeling of Molten Metal Atomization at High Gas Pressure" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6788.