Element invests in powder characterization for 3D printing


Aerospace testing services provider Element Materials Technology has invested in a dedicated powder characterization site for additive manufacturing at its Huntington Beach, California laboratory.

The investment has been made in response to the growth in the 3D printing industry and increasing customer demand, said Element.

The new tests available at Huntington Beach include chemical composition analysis, powder sieve analysis, particle size distribution, flow rate, apparent density, tap density and gas pycnometry. The full suite of powder characterization testing expands its offering to cater for customers with more technically demanding options. 

Powder characterization is used at the front end of the 3D printing manufacturing process and ensures the powder is authentic, pure, uniform and ready for processing. Once printed Element can also perform mechanical, dynamic, chemical and metallurgical testing on the materials that are produced.

Rick Sluiters, executive vice president of aerospace at Element said, “3D printing is well beyond an emerging market now, and is an increasingly important space for us to be working and investing in.

“Powder characterization has applications in multiple industries, including aerospace and medical devices, which are key sectors for Element. Broadening our offering ensures that we are at the forefront of technical advancement, and we can provide a full suite of services to both new and existing customers.”

Element’s Huntington Beach laboratory has been providing materials testing and consulting for customers worldwide since 1982 and employs more than 250 engineers, the Nadcap-accredited laboratory supports a range of quality requirements, from routine high-volume testing to complex materials analysis and failure investigations.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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