Elemental Analysis & Metrology for Powder Metallurgy

Powder Metallurgy

Additive Manufacturing (AM), Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP) and metal injection molding (MIM) all have one common critical component: metal powders. Typical powders are made through the atomization process of pure metals, such as titanium, aluminum, nickel, copper, or alloys, such as steel, Inconel, and metallic ceramic. Bruker offers the most comprehensive range of instruments for the elemental and compositional analyses of these advanced materials.

Metal Powder Analysis & Characterization

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The initial quality and the further treatment of the metal powders used for additive manufacturing processes plays an important role in the quality and properties of the final product. Parameters like particle size, distribution and particle morphology are established, but these represent only the “mechanical” part of the characterization, neglecting metallurgical and chemistry effects although particle chemistry impacts the fundamental performance of the final printed or molded parts.

To ensure that the final parts made with these techniques meet the rigorous requirements of medical, automotive, and aerospace applications, metal powders used as inputs must be fully characterized and monitored though out the production cycle: during the powder atomization/production process, upon incoming QA/QC at the part production facility, during storage and part production, and after powder recycling. Especially the powder recycling process on expensive high-end alloy like Ti64, AlSi10Mg is delicate but determines the number of recycling steps and therefore the yield of the entire process.



The content of light elements like O, N, H, Ar and C, S need to be tightly controlled along the process. Carbon impacts hardness, brittleness & melting point whereas sulfur is generally undesirable. Oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen strongly influence material properties and must constantly be monitored as content will change during processing. Argon remaining in metal powders after atomization, affects porosity and creates inclusions in final parts. Bruker’s Combustion (C, S) and Fusion instruments (O, N, H, Ar) are industry-proven to measure these critical elements to ensure finished part quality and durability.

Electron Microscope Analyzers

To extend your SEM/TEM analytical power, Bruker’s electron microscope analyzers EDS, WDS, EBSD and micro-XRF on SEM offer the most comprehensive compositional and structural analysis of materials, including analytical software for advanced materials research, process development and failure analysis.


Handheld XRF (hh-XRF) spectrometers bring the power of Energy Dispersive XRF (EDXRF) everywhere in the process. Their ultra-low weight in combination with the analytical versatility make them ideal tools for fast and flexible alloy determination on incoming metal powders or final products without further sample preparation.


Bruker’s industry leading Nano Indentation instruments are used during process development to characterize powder particle mechanical properties including single particle compression, fracture characterization & inhomogeneity mapping. Additionally, powder surface force and agglomeration force analyses are critical to prevent defects and voids.


Bruker’s X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyzers provide rapid, detailed, measurement of the powder’s elemental composition upon final inspection of metal powders and fast and accurate verification of material certification for incoming inspection.


Understanding the mechanical properties of the powder is also critical to these advanced manufacturing processes. Bruker’s high precision 3D X-ray microscopes (XRM) deliver extensive information about metal powder attributes that impact the final printed part including: sphere size distribution, sphericity, packing, porosity, and surface to volume ratio as well as particle surface roughness, convexity & form factor.