Method for making polymer particulates, such as spherical powder and whiskers, by melting a polymer material under conditions to avoid thermal degradation of the polymer material, atomizing the melt using gas jet means in a manner to form atomized droplets, and cooling the droplets to form polymer particulates, which are collected for further processing. Atomization parameters can be controlled to produce polymer particulates with controlled particle shape, particle size, and particle size distribution. For example, atomization parameters can be controlled to produce spherical polymer powders, polymer whiskers, and combinations of spherical powders and whiskers. Atomizing apparatus also is provided for atoomizing polymer and metallic materials.
CONTRACTURAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION
The U.S. Government has rights in the invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-82 between the U.S. Department of Energy and Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, which contract grants to Iowa State University Research Foundation, Inc. the right to apply for this patent.