Is This the Future for Titanium?

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Outside of the industry it is often assumed that most titanium bearing ores such as ilmenite and rutile are turned into titanium metal (for well known applications in aerospace and medical implants due to its high strength and low weight). In fact 95% of titanium is used as the oxide in pigments for paints, plastics and papers. Only 5% is turned into ingot, first as titanium sponge, then through two melting steps before it arrives at titanium ingot before further rolling or forging to semi finished products. These downstream applications are a major part of the cost of producing titanium components and if the purification and processing costs could be significantly reduced it would open up a huge market for titanium’s unique properties that at the moment are not viable due to the high cost of traditional production routes.

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Or so goes the thinking of Australia’s CSIRO Minerals who are running laboratory trials on a new fluidized bed process that works at lower temperatures than the traditional Kroll process and produces discrete titanium particles which can be separated in a second stage. In current trials, a batch distillation process is employed for separation but in commercial production a continuous process would be developed. In trials so far, the purity of the Ti particles is comparable with commercially pure Ti grades produced conventionally.

However as illustrated above, a large part of the cost of finished titanium components currently comes from the subsequent fabrication costs. The Australians are looking to solve this issue by exploiting another feature of titanium in powder form and that is its amenability to powder metallurgy (PM) to circumvent a number of the mill based manufacturing processes currently employed. Some titanium products produced via the PM route are already in commercial use but purity of the source powders, particularly residual hydrogen, is an issue that prevents wider adoption. However if CSIRO’s alternative production route can achieve, as seems likely, the low levels of impurities required, this could not only open up a lower cost production route for powder but the lower cost PM and sintering production route for finished components.

–Stuart Burns

Comment (1)

  1. Gorgees Adam says:

    To: Whom it may concern

    Further to the information derived from the above article, I would like to say that I do have a novel process(not patented yet) could the solution to all CSIRO concerns about the production of lowest cost titanium advanced alloy powders. I would be more than happy to talk to them about my proposal, which is the follows:
    Firstly I would like to introduce myself. My name is Gorgees Adam, have a PhD in Material Science with experience of more than 25 years in Material Science and Engineering. The first fifteen years of my scientific experience was in the field of Iron and Steel metallurgy, and the last ten years were in the field of Titanium alloy powder production using novel technologies (these technologies were the main topic of my work for the last five years of time). Most of the work done at that time was with New Zealand universities such as University of Auckland (as honorary research fellowship) and University of Waikato, which hosted most the above research in the meantime I did some research work with the University of Idaho in USA.
    I am the inventor of two different technologies (two international patents are the fruit of these technologies) in the above field of research and development. Scaling up of the production of these technologies was carried on successfully. The work was with a company specialized in the technology of powders metallurgy. I was the co-inventor in the first patent and the sole inventor of the second patent. Many more International could follow in case of finding a proper group to work with or even linked to as partners.

    The most important topics to cover for the near future of the research and development could be on any research related to advanced alloy powder production and analysis. The most possible research to conduct could be as follows:

    1. Production of highly pure Titanium Powder with very fine particle sizes.

    2. Production of Advanced Titanium Alloy Powders (such as TiAlV, TiAlMo, TiAlCr, TiFeZr and others) for special applications such as Marine applications, automotive applications or others is using novel technology.

    3. Production of the Shape Memory Alloy Powders (such as TiNi, TiAlNb, or others) for medical applications.

    4. The production of multi phases ceramic alloy powders (titanium base or non-titanium base ceramics) such as Ti-Si-C and Mo-Si-C or other systems (MAX Systems). Such materials combine the strength, hardness, and heat-resistance of a ceramic with the machinability and ductility of a metal
    The production of the cost effective advanced materials mentioned in the above items 1-4 (with nano size to sub micron particle sizes would be using novel technology, so new patents could filed later.

    5. Using highly advanced technology at low pressure and temperature to produce the following titanium oxides:

     Amorphous TiO2
     Titanium Monoxide TiO
    The production of the cost effective advanced materials mentioned above in item 4 would be with nano size to sub micron particle sizes would be using novel technology, so new international patents should file later.

    ADVANTAGES OF MY TECHNOLOGY OVER KNOWN METHODS â€
     The process is cost effective and more economical due to the use of less expensive materials and equipment as well as being a time effective processing method.
     Low energy equipment due to the low temperature heat – treatment.
     As a result of processing in the conditions give a very pure and fine titanium alloy powder with particle sizes in the range of nano size particles sizes to sub micron sizes.
     It permits to produce a wide range of advanced materials such as titanium alloys powders or any kind of advanced alloys for aerospace, military hardware, automotive and other industrial applications.
     The process and its products have no negative impact on the environment so it is an environmentally friendly technique.
     The process can easily be up scaled.
     The process is feasible for current production and for future production (i.e. for a small batch production and for a high upscale production).
     The process is easy to implement and does not require high-skilled personnel.

    Dr. Gorgees Adam
    E-mail: gorgees.a@gmail.com

    .

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