Water atomised steel powder

A New Steel Powder for 3D Printing

Something infinitely small is making a big change


Scientists at our Critical Minerals and Technology Centre in Sorel-Tracy, Canada, have developed a new kind of steel powder for 3D printing.

It’s called water atomised steel powder, and it’s made by spraying liquid metal through a special nozzle at high pressure, transforming it into tiny particles – much smaller than a grain of sand. The metal powder delivers mechanical properties superior to conventional metal manufacturing techniques – from the shapes you can create to a lighter-weight finished product – and can be used across many industries.

And because it’s made using North America’s largest water atomiser, we can make the powder at the volume needed for industrial use.

Now the team are working on a range of other powders with specialist properties to support customers’ different 3D printing needs.

3D part created using water atomised steel powder

What's special about our water-atomised technology?

For years, only high-cost gas and plasma atomisation were used to make powders for 3D printing metal parts. This made 3D printing powders too expensive and limited their use to specific industries.

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Our water atomised powder means 3D printing can be used in more ways – such as for spare parts or smaller scale production – and is accessible to more customers.

And it’s tried and tested by experts. We worked with KSB, one of the world's leading manufacturers of pumps and valves and a pioneer in industrial additive manufacturing, to test the new powder in 3D printing applications.

Here are some of the benefits of 3D printing using metal powders like ours:

You can make quality metal parts, quickly and reliably.

If you are based in a remote location and need a spare part, with a 3D printer and the right powder, you can make any parts you need on-site.

You can be your own supply chain.

Printing your own part is much quicker – and more sustainable – than ordering it from a supplier and waiting for it to be shipped. In many cases you may not be able to order just one part, and so then you need to store the extra parts in a warehouse. That costs time and money.

Less waste.

3D printing is an additive process, meaning it builds things by adding layer upon layer of material until it’s completed. So, you only ever use what you need. Conventional manufacturing techniques – like machining, where parts are cut out – leave leftover metal.

You have full design freedom.

Because you’re printing it yourself, you can make the part exactly as you need it. You’re able to create prototypes quickly, without first manufacturing multiple moulds. And you can print complex and intricate designs – even with moving parts – in one go, with no assembly needed.

Working with customers to create specialist products

We’re supplying Amaero, a leader in metal additive manufacturing, with a specialised aluminium-scandium alloy to create a 3D powder for use in industries like aerospace and defence. The alloy – made from our responsibly produced, low-carbon aluminium and our high purity scandium oxide – is lightweight, strong, and resistant to high temperatures.