Apparatus and method for making powder from a metallic melt by atomizing the melt to form droplets and reacting the droplets downstream of the atomizing location with a reactive gas. The droplets are reacted with the gas at a temperature where a solidified exterior surface is formed thereon and where a protective refractory barrier layer (reaction layer) is formed whose penetration into the droplets is limited by the presence of the solidified surface so as to avoid selective reduction of key reactive alloyants needed to achieve desired powder end use properties. The barrier layer protects the reactive powder particles from environmental constituents such as air and water in the liquid or vapor form during subsequent fabrication of the powder to end-use shapes and during use in the intended service environment.
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF REFERENCE AND GRANT REFERENCE
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to the 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. The research leading to the invention was supported in part by U.S. Department of Commerce Grant ITA 87-02.