Teaming up on titanium: Australia joins forces with US
US Energy Department Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with CSIRO to explore ways to improve efficiency for powders used as feedstock in the production of titanium components.
The aim is to "get more from Australian ore" by fostering a manufacturing industry delivering high value-added titanium products, capable of increasing Australian export earnings by a factor of 100 in comparison with unprocessed ore.
"We’re excited to work with CSIRO, because we see it as a way to accelerate the worldwide development of innovative, energy efficient titanium processing and production," Dr Bill Peter, Leader of the Materials Processing and Manufacturing Group of ORNL, said.
Titanium is strong, light, and resistant to corrosion, fatigue and cracking and is currently used in high-end markets such as aerospace where its superior performance is considered worth the cost of production. These properties would be of benefit across many other markets if production costs were lowered.
The complementary knowledge base of the two world-class research institutions will develop science and technologies for titanium, titanium powders, and the manufacture of titanium components.
Together ORNL and CSIRO have significant science capability in the emerging area of kinetic metal production, specifically in the application of products that can be produced from a particulate precursor, such as continuous sheet production of titanium via roll compaction.
John Barnes, Leader of CSIRO Titanium Technologies said: "We’ve each worked on different types of powders and with the world-class science capability at each facility, we can complement each other to improve our fundamental understanding".
ORNL is excited about further collaborating with CSIRO in the area of novel titanium processing and manufacturing.
Dr Bill Peter, Leader of the Materials Processing and Manufacturing Group of ORNL said: "Between ORNL and CSIRO, there is substantial understanding of powder handling, morphology, characteristics and effects in processing which likely can’t be found elsewhere in the world, and are critical for developing affordable methods of making titanium components and products, such as sheet for heat exchange and desalination."
The collaboration has the ability to provide a paradigm shift in the way we manufacture titanium components with leaner, cleaner manufacturing using powder output from entirely new and innovative production methods.
"We’re excited to work with CSIRO, because we see it as a way to accelerate the worldwide development of innovative, energy efficient titanium processing and production," Dr Peter said.
The impact of this collaboration will see improved understanding of novel production methods, energy efficiency, economic growth and reduced greenhouse gas emissions for the same kilogram of material produced today.
"As a focus of CSIRO’s Future Manufacturing National Research Flagship, our titanium technologies research program will support the establishment of a world-scale titanium industry in Australia, based on continuous processing that is integrated with downstream manufacturing of metal products," he said.
Future Manufacturing Flagship Director Dr Swee Mak said: "It strengthens our international relationships and allows us to share in important research being conducted internationally. I am delighted that this MoU has been signed between ORNL and CSIRO."
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