Titanium Tubes – How They Are Made

Are you interested in finding out how titanium tubes are made? Do you want to find out useful information on the making of these tubes from different metals? If your answer to either of these two questions is affirmative, then you should definitely keep on reading. In this article, we will take titanium pipes as example, in order to illustrate how metal tubes are made.

Titanium pipe making and types

Everyone knows what a metal tube actually is. titanium pipes are metal tubes as well, being made at various lengths and also hollow on the inside. The reasons why titanium pipes are made are the most varied. There are two major types of titanium pipes, meaning the seamless tube and the welded tube.

Each of the two types has its own set of characteristics and it is made through a different process. The making of these metal tubes starts in the same way, with a said quantity of raw titanium. This is pre-worked into a form that allows further modifications. From this newly modified raw titanium, the pipe will be made. Here, the process separates and takes different directions. For the seamless tube, the titanium will be stretched out, in order to form the pipe. For the welded tube, the edges of the pipe will be drawn together and sealed with the aid of a weld.

As it was mentioned above, the characteristics of these two types of metal tubes differ. The seamless metal tube is appreciated for its reduced weight and also for the fact that its walls are thinner. This is the reason why seamless titanium pipes are generally used for the transportation of liquids and also for the making of bicycles. On the other hand, the welded metal tube is known to weigh more and lack the flexibility of the other type. Because of its rigidity, this type of titanium pipe is often chosen for the making of a plumbing system, to transport electricity or gas.

Another interesting aspect is that the features of both types of pipes can be controlled during the manufacturing process. One of the most important features to be taken into consideration is the diameter of the pipe. Depending on the purpose the titanium pipe will serve, the diameter will be modified accordingly. Thanks to modern technologies, engineers are now capable for making pipes that are so small that they are actually used for the making of hypodermic needles. On the other hand, the same technologies allow for the making of incredibly large and consistent pipes. The latter ones are commonly used for the transportation of gas. Apart from the diameter, one can choose to modify the thickness of the walls (hence the difference between seamless and welded metal tubes), the length of the pipe (depending on the purpose of the pipe), the coating material (depending on how much resistance the pipe actually needs) and the end finish (depending on the environment the pipe will be placed into). Also, one can choose between different types of titanium to make the metal tubes, depending on the desired level of strength and flexibility.

From raw material to metal tube – the manufacturing process in detail

As you have already read, one of the primary raw materials used for the making of metal tubes is titanium. Before we proceed to explain the manufacturing process in detail, there are a few things you need to know first. The process for manufacturing the seamless pipe is simpler but both processes require experience and technique. After either of the pipes is finished, oil will be applied for the protection of the pipe. Also, in the final stages of the manufacturing process, sulfuric acid might be used to clean the impurities present on the pipe.
The first step of the manufacturing process is the ingot production. One will use titanium sponge which is melted at high temperatures in a furnace, the next step will be to remove the carbon that remained with the aid of oxygen. The titanium will then be poured into a copper crucible and let it cool down. Sometimes, large rollers are used to modify the shape of the ingots.

The next step of the manufacturing process is the production of the blooms and slabs. The difference between producing a bloom and a slab is not so major, but it is there. For example, a bloom is made with the help of rollers; these apply a high pressure to the titanium, causing it to stretch and to become thinner. When it comes to making slabs, the rollers apply the same amount of pressure and stretch the titanium. The difference is given by the lateral rollers that are mounted to control the width of the newly made slabs. Both blooms and slabs require further processing before they are turned into pipes.

After the blooms and slabs are processed at extreme high temperatures, one enters the final stage of pipe making. Now, is the moment to go different ways for the making of seamless and welded pipes. After the pipes have been made, they enter the final processing stage, being straightened and measured through specialized machines.

Checking the quality of the final product

The following measures are taken in order to ensure the quality of the metal tubes:

  • X-ray gauge – this allows one to verify the titanium thickness
  • Physical inspection – this allows one to identify potential defects
  • Special machine – the pipe is filled with water and the pressure is constantly increased. This allows one to see how much pressure the pipe can withstand.

The manufacturing process of metal tubes is subject to clear rules and regulations. Each stage is carefully checked, as this ensures a better quality of the final product. Checking the quality of the final product is essential, because most of these pipes will transport gas, electricity or liquids. If something goes wrong, then the manufacturer of the pipes is going to be blamed. It is far better to check for defects in the factory and turn these pipes for scrap.