Fabrication of parts with high mechanical properties heavily depend on the quality of powder deployed in the fabrication process. Copper powder in three different powder types were spheroidized using radio-frequency inductively coupled plasma (ICP) spheroidization process (TekSphero-15 system). The characterized powders include virgin powder as purchased from the powder manufacturer, powder used in electron beam powder bed fusion (EB-PBF) process, and reconditioned powder, which was used powder that underwent an oxygen-reduction treatment. The goal of spheroidizing these powder types was to evaluate the change in powder morphology, the possibility of enhancing the powder properties back to their as-received conditions, and assess oxygen reduction of the powder lots given their initial oxygen contents. Also, to investigate the impact of re-spheroidization on powder properties, the second round of spheroidization was performed on the already used-spheroidized powder. The impact of powder type on powder sphericity and particle size distribution was evaluated using the image analysis of scanning electron microscope (SEM) micrographs and laser diffraction, respectively. The spheroidized powder showed higher sphericity and more uniform particle size distribution overall. Depending on the powder collection bin, second round of spheroidization affected the powder sphericity differently. The possibility of deploying the plasma spheroidization process as an alternative oxygen-reduction technique was also investigated through tracking the powders' oxygen content using inert gas fusion method before and after the spheroidization. The plasma spheroidized powder showed less oxygen content than the hydrogen-treated powder. The second round of spheroidization caused no change in oxygen content. The correlation between oxygen-reduction and created cracks was discussed and compared between plasma spheroidization and hydrogen-treatment. The plasma spheroidization process created a powder with higher sphericity, uniform particle size, and less oxygen content.


Materials Science and Engineering


U.S. Department of Energy, Grant DE-NA0002839

Keywords and Phrases

Additive Manufacturing; Copper Powder; Electron Beam Powder Bed Fusion; Hydrogen Treatment; Oxygen Reduction; Plasma Spheroidization; Sphericity

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1568-5527; 0921-8831

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2023 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2023

Included in

Metallurgy Commons