Titanium powder has been utilized as an alloying component for various applications for a long time now. By using it, creating net shape parts becomes possible with zero or minimal material loss that goes with machine intricating parts using wrought billet.
How is titanium powder made?
The traditional process to extract titanium is known as the Kroll process. This technique requires up to 1040°C and involves a series of sub-processes that include alloying, hot isostatic pressing, and so on.
After that, more methods have to be implemented to produce pre-alloyed titanium powder. To get rid of contaminants, the material has to undergo the hydride-dehydride process, cold compaction, vacuum hot pressing, final vacuum annealing, plasma rotating electrode process, titanium gas atomization process, and plasma atomization.
To produce the final product, a number of metal consolidation strategies have to be executed. Powder injection moulding, or metal injection moulding, is a cost-effective and long-used method to fabricate small-sized metals into large quantities. Then, there is the direct powder rolling process which is utilized for the production of plates and sheets. For quick fabrication, enhancement, and repair of metal components, the laser engineered net shaping technique is applied.
In order to consolidate titanium powders to their maximum theoretical densities, the components have to undergo hot isostatic pressing, which is performed under high pressure and temperature.
Finally, to achieve the final product, spark plasma sintering, or electric current assisted sintering, is applied so as to produce titanium powder with better mechanical attributes and good grain size, without all the unwanted grain growth.
What are titanium powders used for?
The use of titanium powder to print 3-dimensional automotive parts is one of the most recent breakthroughs in metal manufacturing. It allows the production of different parts and components for automobiles and aerospace frames and engines through 3D printing.
Titanium powder also remains to play an important role in metal injection molding and powder metallurgy.