The blades of a jet turbine engine.
Creating a titanium processing and manufacturing industry for Australia
The Future Manufacturing Flagship is taking titanium technologies from ore to more, building on Australia's world-ranking reserves of ilmenite, with our portfolio of advanced metal powder production and fabrication technologies.
29 April 2011 | Updated 19 September 2012
Titanium is very attractive material to use in a wide variety of applications, because it:
- has a high strength to weight ratio (it is as strong as steel but about half the weight)
- is highly resistant to corrosion, fatigue and cracking
- has high-temperature capability (can cope with extremes of temperature such as those experienced by spacecraft)
- is compatible with carbon fibre composites and the human body.
Traditionally, titanium has been used exclusively in high end markets such as aerospace where its superior performance is considered worth the cost of production.
Use of titanium is growing with increased use of composites in aerospace structures but the market could be broader still if the cost could be brought down.
Why is titanium expensive?
Titanium is not an exotic material. It is the ninth most abundant element in the earth’s crust. However, titanium articles cost a lot because:
- current processing methods require large energy inputs to produce a high-quality ingot of titanium alloy
- ingots are intensively re-worked, requiring significant amounts of time, labour and with large wastage of material, to produce a final article.
CSIRO researchers are trying to overcome this with:
- novel, low-energy production methods for titanium metal and alloys
- efficient conversion of metal powders to metal sheet, plate and wire
- low-energy, rapid manufacturing technologies.
Find out more about the Future Manufacturing Flagship.