|May 2006||National Research Flagship||Light Metals|
Low-cost, high-performance titanium alloys
The Light Metals Flagship is developing a technology that could dramatically reduce the cost of making titanium alloys.
The new technology, which starts with low-cost titanium chemicals, is capable of producing a range of alloys, including emerging high-performance titanium aluminides.
Titanium alloys are light, strong corrosion-resistant and biocompatible. At the moment, their high production cost limits their use to aerospace applications.
However, demand for titanium alloys is expected to rise rapidly over the next decade, despite the price tag – upwards of US$100,000 per tonne.
Simple and direct
The standard technology for manufacturing titanium alloys involves mixing and melting constituent metals, followed by re-casting and machining.
Some aluminide-based alloys are brittle and difficult to machine, requiring specialised downstream processing – adding further to already high production costs.
In the Flagship process, titanium chemicals are directly reduced with aluminium to produce titanium-aluminium alloys as a powder.
This powder could then be formed into various end-products through net shaping, a technique involving minimum materials wastage during manufacture.
"The reactions are direct and simple, and process times are also shorter," says Dr Jawad Haidar of CSIRO Industrial Physics, who leads the titanium alloys project. "Energy requirements are low and the reaction occurs at atmospheric pressure."
"The process is amenable to continuous, large-scale production, and has the potential to reduce wastage."
The Flagship's experimental system currently produces up to 150 grams per hour of various titanium-aluminium alloys.
Dr Haidar says the economics of the CSIRO process are attractive and its simplicity suggests that scale-up should be straightforward.
Apart from making commonly used alloys such asTi-6Al-4V, the process could also be used to make titanium aluminides, which perform particularly well in high-temperature aerospace and automotive applications.
These new alloys are used in jet engines, racing cars and car exhaust valves, but they could replace nickel-based 'super-alloys' in novel aerospace, automotive, energy and implant (e.g. human joint) applications.
The Light Metals Flagship is currently seeking commercial partners to work with researchers in scaling up the process.
Contact: Dr Jawad Haidar,
IN THIS EDITION:
MEET THE SCIENTIST:
Dr Chris Goodes - Theme Leader Aluminium and Magnesium for the Light Metals Flagship and Program Manager for Light Metal Production in CSIRO Minerals.
The Light Metals Flagship is a CSIRO initiative and part of the National Research Flagships program that aims to deliver scientific solutions to advance Australia's most important national objectives. One of the largest scientific initiatives ever mounted in Australia, it aligns closely with the Federal Government's National Research Priorities. The initiative brings together our national research resources to deliver breakthroughs in fields ranging from healthcare to light metals and the environment.
About this email
This E-Newsletter uses an HTML-rich media format to provide an easy-to-follow, visually attractive layout. If for any reason, your computer does not support HTML format email, please let us know by emailing Mary-Lou.Considine@csiro.au with your full name and email address, and we will ensure you receive our E-Newsletter in a plain-text format.
Please feel free to forward it to those in your organisation who would be interested in receiving future newsletters.
If you do not wish to receive this electronic newsletter from the Light Metals Flagship, please reply to this message with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject line. Alternatively, please contact Mary-Lou.Considine@csiro.au or telephone us on +61 3 9545 8500 to request the removal of your email address.
This E-Newsletter is a publication of CSIRO Communications. It does not purport to be comprehensive or to render professional advice. All material in this publication is subject to copyright. For permission to reproduce any part or all of an article, please contact the editor.
Light Metals Flagship
Editor: Mary-Lou Considine
PO Box 312,
Clayton South, Vic. 3169
Phone: +61 3 9545 8744
Fax: +61 3 9545 8622