|May 2006||National Research Flagship||Light Metals|
Sheet from powder: the 'holy grail' of titanium manufacture
A Light Metals Flagship team developing technology for making titanium sheet direct from powder recently commissioned a unique facility that could hold the key to low-cost, continuous production of thin sheet.
"A number of companies make sheet by direct powder-rolling, followed by conventional and costly batch sintering, but the CSIRO technology is the only continuous process I am aware of," says project leader, Nigel Stone.
"Our fully integrated, continuous, direct rolling process avoids the high costs involved with batch sintering and promises to halve sheet cost."
Targeting non-aerospace markets
The research is targeted at non-aerospace applications, including architectural cladding and rolled and welded tube for condensers, desalination and marine equipment.
Domestic whitegoods – such as titanium-clad refrigerators – offer another market opportunity.
"By reducing the cost, we hope to help establish broader markets and potentially displace stainless steel in a wide number of applications," says Mr Stone.
"While we are mainly working with CP-grade titanium, we are also investigating sheet production using alloys such as Ti6-Al4-V, new compaction techniques for producing titanium bar, and novel sintering techniques for batch component production."
The multidisciplinary team involves the interaction of researchers from CSIRO's Manufacturing and Infrastructure Technology; Minerals; Industrial Physics; and Mathematics and Information Science.
Mr Stone's background in advanced ceramics and refractories – working for industry in the UK, CSIR in South Africa, and currently Team Leader of the Titanium & Particlulates group at CMIT – has given him insights into problems associated with particulate processing including consolidation and densification.
"It was recently pointed out to me by a senior
industrialist that a continuous process to make cost-effective titanium
sheet from powder is considered the 'holy grail' of titanium manufacture,"
"We still have a way to go technically to meet quality and property requirements, but we are producing sheet!
"Of course, the commercial potential of the technology is intimately linked to the availability of low-cost titanium powder, through CSIRO's TiRO and alloy process or other new technologies."
Contact: Nigel Stone, email@example.com
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.
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Light Metals Flagship
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