none

NEW MANUFACTURING TECHNIQUE COULD MAKE TITANIUM CHEAPER

09-03-2015
by 
in 

Titanium is often used where low weight and high strength are required and money is no object — because it’s extremely costly to produce.

Now, a new manufacturing technique could reduce the expense, and make the material as useful for cars as it is for fighter jets.

Titanium is usually made using the Kroll process.

It takes refined rutile or ilmenite from the original metal ore, then puts its through a process that sees temperatures reach over 1000ºC while it’s treated with chlorine gas, other volatile chlorides and liquid magnesium.

The various steps and high energy requirements are what make the process expensive, and the final product is a series of neat, solid titanium ingots.

The new process developed by SRI International, however, uses plasma arcs to cut out some of the processes.

The arcs — which SRI likens to lightning bolts — provide the energy required to split titanium-chlorine bonds in titanium chloride, which is derived from titanium ore.

That interaction produces a titanium vapour that then quickly solidifies, forming titanium powder.

The process uses less energy than the traditional technique, reports Technology Review.

It also produces an end product that could, for many applications, be rather more useful.

While existing manufacturing techniques produce solid lumps of titanium that then need to be machined, milled, rolled, or whatever, the titanium can be pressed into a shape that’s roughly comparable to the final product and then fused.

Using high temperatures, the metal is then formed into a rough-cut shape that can then be neatened up with further machining.

Indeed, that’s similar to the way titanium powder is currently used in laser-sintering 3D printers.

A cost-effective method for creating titanium powder could take the material from the exclusive to the (relatively) widespread.

Currently used in high-grade aircraft componentry, like turbine blades, it could instead be used for larger, less critical components or perhaps even in cars with more realistic budgets in mind.

That does, of course, require that SRI can take its small-scale demonstration process to the next level and ensure costs are kept low.

Taking a new metal production method to the market isn’t easy — but in this case, it could be worth its weight in titanium.

Related news & editorials

  1. Tanya Plibersek
    15.06.2021
    15.06.2021
    by      In
    Senior Federal Opposition Shadow Minister Tanya Plibersek visited leading Australianmanufacturer DECO Australia on Friday 21 May 2021. The Shadow Minister visited DECO tolearn about DECO’s innovative products and manufacturing, as well as gain a greaterunderstanding of Australian manufacturing... Read More
  2. palletiser
    15.06.2021
    15.06.2021
    by      In , In , In
    As iconic Australian brand Arnott’s has grown over the years and product lines have become increasingly complex, it became clear there was a need to upgrade to a next generation of smart palletising. 
    The 25-year-old Motoman palletiser that Arnott’s had installed in its NSW factory in Huntingwood... Read More
  3. Catherine Velisha
    15.06.2021
    15.06.2021
    by      In , In
    A leading grower and producer of premium vegetables in Australia, Velisha Farms has long been a class act in business and the community. It should come as no surprise then that Managing Director, Catherine Velisha, has stepped up to become a safety ambassador for Worksafe Victoria.
    Ms Velisha... Read More
  4. Frank Ferrara
    09.06.2021
    09.06.2021
    by      In
    By Frank FerraraCornick Pty Ltd
    Global leaders have missed the rare opportunity to vastly improve the health of people all over the world. The pandemic has grabbed the attention of the global population and provided authorities with the platform to communicate preventative health information to as... Read More
Products
Suppliers