Pigments & Powder
Aluminum powder, found in products ranging from suntan lotion to lightweight concrete to solar panels, is produced by melting aluminum ingot in a gas furnace and spraying the molten metal under high pressure into a fine granular powder. Two types of powder can be produced from this process, depending on the atomizing gas used to "blow" the molten aluminum from a nozzle tip. Aluminum pigments are used in applications ranging from graphic arts and inks, to automotive paints and protective coating for bridges and buildings. Pigments are produced from aluminum powder and almost exclusively manufactured through a wet-milling process. Mineral spirits, an acid lubricant and aluminum powder are placed in a mill. When the mill is rotated, balls within the rotation chamber cascade the aluminum slurry in a manner that flattens and breaks the resultant flakes on impact.