Powders are nowadays used as an input material not only for conventional powder metallurgy technologies, but increasingly also for additive technologies. Powder producers usually limit their description to an average chemical composition and typical particle size. However, the real particle size distribution might be much more complex than the one declared by producers and chemical composition of an individual particle also does not have to be homogeneous.Three different powders destined for additive manufacturing were analysed, 1.2709 maraging steel, stainless steel 316L and Inconel 718. Morphology and surface appearance of particles were evaluated from scanning electron micrographs. Metallographic cross sections of powders were prepared for subsequent microstructure analysis by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and micro-hardness measurement. Surface chemical composition of individual particles and local chemical composition of powder cross sections were checked by energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). Average particle size and particle size distribution were established by image analysis of SEM images of randomly chosen samples of new powders.Keywords: Selective laser melting, maraging steel, stainless steel, Inconel
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