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Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

(OP)
Titanium gets mentioned as being a metal for the future and I wanted to know if people (engineers) are seeing this in practise? I feel titanium is occasionally indie projects more for marketing reasons (bullet proof golf clubs/business card holders..) and there obviously the common applications e.g. heat exchangers that have always been ti. However with teslas cars using a titanium underbody I wondered if things really are moving increasingly towards this metal.

Somewhat of an open question but is anyone seeing titanium being chosen as a metal of choice ? Particularly is it moving to replace steel in any way ?

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

I wear a Seiko Chronograph which has a Titanium case and watch band. It's amazing how light it is considering that it has a substantial sized case, being a chronograph with it's extra dials and buttons.

Note that it's my second one.

The first one I bought in Hong Kong about 10 years ago as they were not yet available in the US but after a few years, while it was supposed to be watertight to a depth of 100M, it somehow sprung a leak and I could never stop the dial face from fogging up on hot days but instead of taking the watch apart or having a jeweler clean it out, I pulled both of the push buttons out and tried to use a can of 'Dust-Off' to blow the moisture out one opening by sticking the nozzle into the other. Unfortunately, all I managed to do was literally BLOW the watch apart (it was spectacular). However, I was spoiled and would not go back to a normal, heavy watch and since I still wanted a chronograph, I ended up buying my second Titanium Seiko. I still could not find any retailer that stocked them and so I had to order it over the internet but I've had this one now for about 5 years and it has remained watertight.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

sometimes we laern from mistakes ?

back on track, Ti is a fringe player in airplane structures. It has a nice niche with carbon composites (Al is attacked by Carbon, using Ti as an interface material cures this.) but it is Very expensive. It is used in some aircraft components, where you have a a high load density (a big load in a small space) ... somewhere where you can't use Al; surprised it beats out steel (which'd be Much cheaper).

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

Ti is too finnicky to work with and too expensive to make to be more than a niche player. It does have excellent corrosion resistance in some services. Strength to weight is better than some materials, not as good as others. It's getting cheaper as the Chinese mass-manufacture it, but the embodied energy of Ti is still enormous- aluminum is bad enough but Ti is Al on steroids as far as energy use is concerned. Regrettably, the local scrap price has plummeted, much faster than the raw material price has dropped.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

We've seen usage in firearms, bicycles, and wheelchairs rise sharply in the last decade or two, but until the cost comes down, which it won't due to the energy consumption in its manufacture, it will remain fringe.

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

I think I read someplace the reason you don't see carbon fiber used more often in airplanes is due to sourcing issues than anything.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

that surprises me. but, hey, (and you'll all hate me for this) if sourcing Carbon is a problem, and we have too much in the atmosphere, well ... carbon sequestration ??

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

For Aerospace, I would suspect the reason is there is not enough paper to accompany the carbon.
hairpull

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

I use titanium constantly as it's one of the few biocompatible materials for implants and price is not enough of a driver to change that. The ability to anodize it different colors also comes in very useful. 316L is still sometimes used but the additional MRI/CT artifact makes it not ideal in situations where areas near the implant site need to be assessed.

From a pure volume standpoint though, the medical industry is an "other" pie slice within the existing "other" pie slice.

Quote (ornerynorsk)

We've seen usage in firearms, bicycles, and wheelchairs rise sharply in the last decade or two, but until the cost comes down, which it won't due to the energy consumption in its manufacture, it will remain fringe.

Coincidentally I attended a presentation this week that included some of figures related to usage and pricing. According to the what was presented, the production is still rising and the prices have come down some, maybe 10% since 2012.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

I have a titanium pacemaker and my wife has a titanium knee implant. both were incredibly expensive

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

Quote (cvg)


...both were incredibly expensive

So were my Titanium watches, as compared to the equivalent model with a stainless steel case and band.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

I'm actually surprised how often titanium dioxide appears in items: paints, fillers, paper products, sunscreen, cake icing, sour cream, etc. As engineers we usually think of the metallic form of Ti and its uses.

Refining Ti to a metal is an expensive and energy intensive process requiring high temperatures and an inert atmosphere.

As for me it's in my eyeglass frames.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

Ti-6Al-4V is very popular as a lightweight armor, and had Future Combat Systems continued to its conclusion, there would have been high demand for it as armor for the non-tank vehicles.

TTFN
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Of course I can. I can do anything. I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

Quote (Comcokid)


I'm actually surprised how often titanium dioxide appears in items: paints, fillers, paper products, sunscreen, cake icing, sour cream, etc.

Yes, anytime you need something to look bright WHITE.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

We use Titanium Tubing with clamp-on ultrasonic flowmeters. As far as I understand, it has favorable acoustic properties.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

If you are designing weight critical strong undersea components then Ti-6Al-4V has its place. Because it is expensive you can get bar stock rolled to final size, which is nice. We were a bit worried about machining it in quantity, but our brilliant machine shop said that it was well within the capabilities of modern machines, as mere UTS was rarely a problem.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

It's not that bad to machine in our experience- the high nickel alloys are far worse. We use primarily commercially pure grade 2 rather than the 6Al4V high strength stuff.

TiO2 is in everything- a relatively cheap brilliant white pigment. The process of getting nice bright TiO2 from its "ores" isn't pretty, or environmentally friendly, but it isn't all that expensive either. Making sufficiently pure Ti from TiO2 IS a nasty, extremely energy intensive process for sure. That's why Ti is expensive- not because of any shortage of the ore. Same as aluminum, only much, much worse.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

cj811,

How have I lasted this long without bulletproof golf clubs?

I was asked by a manager if we should use titanium for optical stuff. I told him that titanium was on a linear scale with steel, aluminium and magnesium for both density and elastic modulus. For a rigid optical structure, we would be better off with aluminium. We have been using beryllium scanner mirrors!

I designed a large belleville pre-load washer for a set of bearings. I called our fabricator and asked if titanium or beryllium copper would be the better material to fabricate. He assured me beryllium copper was better. The washers all failed. I did not have a hardness tester. I did have a power supply and a meter which revealed that he had used pure copper for the spring.

What problem do we want to solve?

--
JHG

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

Frank Gehry clads a lot of his buildings in titanium, like the Bilbao Guggenheim.

When we laminate metal into glass we frequently use titanium because it has the same coefficient of thermal expansion as glass.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

Anybody who can afford Gehry can afford the titanium cladding...he did a lovely job on the Art Gallery of Ontario, but now he's pitching some rather ugly buildings downtown on the Mirvish's theatre lands. The metal's natural grey lustre is quite pretty. I made my wife an engagement place-holder ring from a piece of titanium tubing, carved nicely with the Dremel and sized on the lathe. We bought her a diamond, but she still wears the titanium one too...

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

molten, I perhaps should have opted for a more expensive material in a similar situation, although mine was entirely intended as a joke. A piece of quartz epoxied to a beer can pull tab was not well received, and the opportunity to present a more suitable specimen somehow never materialized, things just when downhill after that. All for the good, though. The current missus is a peach and a keeper, for sure.

Back on topic, it will be interesting to see, as usage does increase, if sufficient improvements to extraction and refinement will occur to the degree that aluminum once experienced. If memory serves, aluminum was considered a precious metal not even two centuries ago.

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

When they were nearing the completion of the Washington Monument in 1884, they capped it with a 100-ounce pyramid of pure Aluminum, the largest item ever cast in Aluminum at the time, as part of the lighting-rod scheme protecting the monument. At that time the price of Aluminum was about the same as Silver and the use of this expensive piece of material was seen as an outrageous waste of taxpayer's money but the architect responsible for the design wanted to finish the monument with something which represented the emerging engineering and manufacturing power of America.

Note that per the spot price of finished Aluminum at the close of business yesterday, that 100-ounce object would be worth less than $6.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

ornery- the fact that she kept, and in fact still wears, that ring I made, is an indication that mine is a keeper too. She passed that, and many other subtle tests that in fact weren't really tests at the time, just me being me. But she has a passionate hate-on for my car (see the Hobbies forum), and I had the car first...oh well, nobody's perfect!

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

When you talk Ti you need to make a distinction between CP (commercially pure) grades such as the ones used for heat exchanger tubing, grades that are alloyed for corrosion resistance (often with Ru or Pd, these are very uncommon alloys), and the grades that are designed for high strength by heat treatment (usually with Al, V and others).
First, only about 2% of Ti mined is used as metal, almost all of the rest is used TiO2 pigment.
It used to be that people built plants that produced CP material, and used it as feedstock for the high strength aerospace grades.
This changed when China began building plants. They wanted less expensive CP material for industrial use (and consumer use) and they built plants that made CP that was not suitable for remelting into aerospace grades. The CP material makes up about 85% of all metallic Ti used.
As a result CP prices are very low ($7-8/lb, about double that of Cu), but high strength aerospace grades are still as expensive as they have always been. Depending on the alloy and product form they can range from $25-75/lb.

The biggest design issue with Ti is the low modulus, only about 15kksi compared to steels (and stainless) at 30kksi.
Ti also has issues with the properties being different in various directions. Rolled plate has different strength and modulus in the longitudinal, transverse, and thickness.
Ti also (like Al) does not have a cleanly defined fatigue limit. Hence when cold worked Ti3/2.5 is used for hydraulic tubing on aircraft it has a finite service life that is much less than that of the airframe. At the same strength 21-6-9 stainless tubing may be 35% heavier, but it has an infinite fatigue life under the same design limits.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Plymouth Tube

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

Titanium used to be considered a "strategic" material in that most of it was sourced from the former USSR. With the recent political issues with Russia I would guess the availability of Ti will drop. For most of its applications there are alternatives. For condenser tubing one can use Sea-cure duplex stainless steel. For consumer items one can use graphite epoxy. For U-2 spy planes- no likely substitute, therefore we probably have a strategic stockpile. For non-magnetic sub hulls- not sure- probably some form of SS or composite material or geopolymer.

"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad "

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

Interesting point about the fatigue limit, as it explains what I saw on one unit we shipped: a piece of titanium 1/4" OD tubing inserted into a Swagelok fitting, snapped off clean at the junction between the tube and the nut, even though the piece itself didn't have a particularly long unsupported length. Vibration in shipment had cycled the tubing enough that it fatigued and failed. We never see failures like that with ordinary stainless steels, and some plants we ship have literally thousands of such joints.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

moltenmetal,

That sounds extreme. I understand that non-ferrous metals fatigue to destruction and that ferrous metals fatigue down to a limit. Titanium's lower elastic module means that for a given deflection, there would be lower stress than on a steel tube in a vibrating chassis. If the tube connection is highly stressed, the steel tube should fail also.

I have never analysed anything like this so I do not have a good gut feeling of what the results should be. I would investigate a failure like that very carefully.

Could the tube bender and work hardening have caused a problem?

--
JHG

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

The area affected was well away from a bend. The material was commercially pure and no hot operations of any kind had taken place where embrittlement might have become a risk. Obviously there was a length between supports in that case which hit a resonant frequency with the vibration of the ship on a long sea journey in that case, which led to the failure. We did thoroughly investigate other joints and found no problems, and the unit has been in service for over a decade without further incident. But you're right- the modulus should help, not hurt in this case.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

Wouldn't a lower modulus lower the fundamental frequency of the tube, making it more likely to be excited by external vibrations? I.e., stiffer is better...ahem.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

btrueblood,

Square root of k over m. This would be the same for steel and titanium unless there was something heavy in the tubes.

--
JHG

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

Are you sure there was no cadmium in either the swagelok fitting or the tool used to do the flaring operation? In the book Skunk Works by Ben Rich, the head of large titanium bolts on the SR71 were popping off during use. Turned out the wrenches used to tighten the bolts contained some cadmium in the wrench plating. Enough cadmium was transferred to the bolts to cause failure later.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

titanium's lower value of E ( Young's mod) affects the deflection ( and fatigue damage) that occurs during flow induced vibrations,and other vibrations. In the heat exchanger business ( such as surface condensers) it is well known that if Ti tubes are used as replacement tubing for other materials, then the support plates need to be spaced much closer to limit the damage caused by hi cycle fatigue.One of the selling points for the alternative low corrosive material ( Sea Cure) is that it has roughly twice the value of E as does Ti, allowing use of widely spaced support plates.

"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad "

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

Ti fatigue can be odd.
I have seen CP Ti steam condenser tubes fail with longitudinal fatigue cracks.
Not crosswise, not at an angle, but straight longitudinal.
It has to do with variations in properties.

Today about 40% of Ti comes from China, another 40% from Japan and Russia combined (roughly equal), and the remaining 20% is from US, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and couple of minor players.
You won't find numbers published on the US sponge production. Because there are only two companies to publish it would reveal too much information. But we don know what the total maximum US production could be based on plant design.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Plymouth Tube

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

(OP)
Edstainless,

On the point regarding the aerospace grade titanium what would be the typical difference between this and non aerospace Grade 5 titanium ? My understand is that the composition of the titanium / properties itself are a characteristic of the grade so Aerospace Gr 5 is the same as Non-aerospace Gr 5. Other than perhaps stronger governance over testing / grain size / No of remelts etc what would be the difference and account for the higher prices ?

Titanium engineer based in China - www.titaniumcn.com

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

For the aero grades it is both composition and the melt practice.
These are all vacuum melted, either Ebeam or plasma, usually 2 or 3 times. This processing to get low residuals (and low inclusions) is expensive.
One thing to keep in mind is that costs can be different from what you assume. For Ti 6Al 4V you would think that adding Al and V would be cheap. The Al isn't bad, but the V needs to be pure (no C, no Fe) electrolytic V which is orders of magnitude more expensive than FeV used in steel making.

Some of the poor Gr2 CP out there is so dirty that you can't make premium aero grades using it as feedstock. But it will still make fine heat exchanger tubes.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Plymouth Tube

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

off shore in the North Sea its not uncommon to use titanium in the fire water system. There is a Norwegian titanium mafia i think.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

The greatest commercial use for the high performance grades in commercial aerospace.
Long range aircraft are heavy Ti users.
1. Better strength to weight than Al
2. Galvanic compatible with composites

The 787, 777, A380 are huge Ti users (6-4 and 6-2-2 mostly).

I have seen Ti used in armor, large field guns, and some other military stuff.
I saw pieces of the last Alfa class sub, 8"x8"x5" chunks being added to 321 SS here in the US.
The hull was cut up and sold as scrap.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Plymouth Tube

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

EdStainless,

I have just designed a titanium preload spring. Titanium has a high yield stress and a fairly low elastic modulus. We have a local machine shop who fabricates the stuff.

--
JHG

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

An open question, please, on Ti machining and applications:

Ti is justifiably notorious for its difficulty to machine, weld, forge, and assemble, but needed for its resistance to heat (strength at higher temperatures) while being lightweight and relatively corrosion resistant.

With today's 3D modeling techniques - which basically deposits hot liquid "plastic" into 3D shapes using a digitally-controlled and positioned injector aimed at the parts so the incoming material fuses (spray deposits) onto the existing base of the part - why not 3D "assemble" Ti mechanical parts using Ti metal pellets in a vacuum chamber? Thus, rather than "machine off" Ti from a large orginal billet bigger than the final part, you "build up" Ti grains into a very close approximation of the complex final part from "nothing" so very little needs to be machined off?

The Ti pellets or grains (now deposited in the complex shape of what the new part will look like) then can be passed to a "forge" (a die really) and get stamped into their final shape.

Would not the pressure and heat of the forging would sinter the metal powder into an adequate solid for final machining (tapping, drilling, etc) of details while avoiding the complex machining of the entire billet or casting as is needed now?

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

Racooke,

The basic form of 3D metal printing is like what you described (using powdered metals not "pellets:), though the parts don't get forged but sintered and possibly HIP'd as a final coalescing step. Also, if you spent the money to make a forging die, why bother making a near net shape?

But according to my favorite powder metallurgists Western Sintering, nobody has figured out how to create Ti powders without the oxide coating forming on them, and that oxide can't be reduced by hydrogen-rich sintering atmospheres, so there ain't a good way to make Ti parts from 3D printing at this time.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

I think Titanium can already be DMLS though our local shop lists it as 'coming soon' which implies it may be cutting edge stuff as they are no slouches.

I believe it can also be Metal Injection Molded and sintered https://www.solidconcepts.com/content/pdfs/materia...

However, still $ with some limitations.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

racookpe1978,

I need a small number of pieces. Titanium is machinable enough. The thing has to work.

Apparently, people are using ABS FDM models as patterns for investment casting. This would be really cool if it were not for titanium's high melting temperature. I have no need for this quality, but it still is what the material does.

How feasible is sintering, given titanium's melting point, and the high yield strength of the alloy I want?

--
JHG

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

The use of ABS FDM parts as a shell pattern for investment casting is debatable. When the concept first arose, our investment casting house played around with it, but found that far too much ash remained in the shell after burnout to be practical. The FDM wax machines do a much better job of it.

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

1. In the world of engineering alloys Ti (the high strength versions) have poor strength vs temperature properties. Along with drop in strength come a serious drop in modulus and permanent changes in properties.

2. Considering the very limited fatigue resistance of Ti to start with I don't want to near any Ti part that sees cyclic loading if it started as powder and didn't get HIPed. Along with 100% volumetric X-ray examination.

The best Ti parts made by any additive process have been Ebeam fused powder. The defects in them are still very large and preclude all but light load static applications.
We have looked into some these process to 'repair' forgings or extrusions, so far no-go.

ornerynorsk is on the mark, the ABS FDM works great for steels, but not well for SS, Ni alloys and Ti.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Plymouth Tube

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

Kenat,

My source says Ti powder can be sintered & HIP'd, but what results is a product with lot of intermetallic oxides, so the material has low ductility, much lower than conventionally produced alloys. Or, in other words, what Ed said.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

There have been a lot of AM Ti parts, but none that are dynamically loaded.

None of the 3d AM process for metals have shown a capability to make parts that are free from significant defects.
Right now people get around this by over-design. Eventually they will get there, but it will take a while.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
P.E. Metallurgy, Plymouth Tube

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

A bit late to the discussion, but I just came across the topic. When it comes to commercial use of any raw material, including metals like titanium, what matters most is the cost/benefit relationship provided by the material for the given application. Titanium alloys are presently still too costly for many commercial applications. At one time in the not-too-distant past, aluminum was also far too costly for most commercial applications. But improved production technologies over the past few decades quickly reduced the cost of aluminum to the point where it is now economical to make beer cans from it.

The same situation will happen with titanium when lower cost technologies are developed for producing it. Just like aluminum, there is no shortage of the raw material resources needed to produce the metal.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

(OP)
one of the problems we have with the powder is while we manufacture it it is very messy to handle and cant be couriered for people to play around with etc (not that alot of people have sintering machine lying around..). I think distribution and handling is a real challenge for Ti in AM in the short term.

Shaanxi North Steel Co.

RE: Titanium Usage Growing and Where?

AM using Ti powder is a whole different can of worms. The AM process requires very pure Ti powder and an inert atmosphere to laser sinter the material. The melting point of Ti is quite high so it requires a very high powered laser to fuse the Ti powder layers properly. There is also the problem of the reduced fatigue properties resulting from the laser sintered Ti materials.

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