At Buffalo Tungsten we measure our powdered tungsten’s particle size distribution (PSD) in multiple ways. The Malvern Mastersizer has been our choice as a laser diffraction instrument for the past 25 years because it provides consistently repeatable and reproducible results. We made a recent upgrade in order to provide us with improved technology and software. Our commitment to high quality powder is supported by having the best testing equipment available.
A description from Malvern’s website describes measuring particle size distribution by laser diffraction, saying “It does this by measuring the intensity of light scattered as a laser beam passes through a dispersed particulate sample. This data is then analyzed to calculate the size of the particles that created the scattering pattern. Three main elements enable the system to consistently and reliably deliver the accurate, robust particle sizing data that is central to the effective operation of so many industrial processes.”
The Feedback Loop
At Buffalo Tungsten, frequent samples during our production process provide regular feedback. We measure all of the critical properties of the material. The Malvern Mastersizer can run samples dry, which reduces the time for sample preparation. Therefore, we can get fast results, which is essential for quality assurance.
The software is on our network to give our production team access to the data. This allows them to adjust furnace conditions as necessary. Doing so allows us to maintain the proper particle size and distribution in our finished powders. The faster we are able to change furnace conditions, the better the quality of the finished powder.
Not all tungsten powder applications have specifications for particle size distribution. For some the average size is specified but the distribution is not important. Some of our customers require a narrow monomodal tungsten particle size distribution around the mean for their material. However, some tungsten powder applications require bimodal or even trimodal distributions. The Malvern Mastersizer plays an important part in helping us meet these specifications.
Buffalo Tungsten’s powdered metallurgy lab provides a complete certificate of analysis with each shipment of material. This assures that the tungsten metal powders we ship meet all customer requirements.