Low Cost Alternatives to Titanium Plate Production

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W911QX-04-C-0009
Agency Tracking Number: A022-0275
Amount: $729,997.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: 2002
Solicitation Topic Code: A02-050
Solicitation Number: 2002.2
Small Business Information
7960 S. Kolb Rd., Tucson, AZ, 85706
DUNS: 147518286
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 James Withers
 Principal Investigator
 (520) 574-1980
Business Contact
 Raouf Loutfy
Title: President
Phone: (520) 574-1980
Email: rloutfy@mercorp.com
Research Institution
The current technology for the production of titanium is by the Kroll process producing titanium sponge. The Kroll technology is mature, yet expensive, limiting titanium?s usages. The Kroll titanium sponge is vacuum remelted and alloyed, and cast into billets, or the sponge in ground to powder and powder metallurgy processing used to produce components where alloying can occur in-situ during sintering. Electrolysis/electrowinning processes to produce titanium particulate/sponge have significant potential but have not been perfected to produce acceptable purity and low cost product. This is due in part to titanium?s +4 valence state and lack of solubility of the oxide or covalent chloride in fused salts, the multivalency of titanium and re-oxidation of reduced titanium ions at the anode. Initial results of Phase I suggest a breakthrough in electrowinning titanium that overcomes these problems have been demonstrated. The process consists of a combined thermal/electrolytic treatment utilizing a composite titanium oxide-carbon anode that dissolves Ti3+ directly into solution for electrolytic reduction to titanium particulate that can be directly utilized in powder metallurgy. Both anode and cathode efficiencies are near 100% resulting in low cost titanium. Pulse electrolysis benefits demonstrate reducing cell voltage, controlling Ti particle morphology, and allowing the electrolysis to be performed at very low temperatures. The concept of producing titanium at both composite anodes and cathodes was demonstrated utilizing pulse electrolysis. Pulse electrolysis will be optimized to the most economical process to produce titanium and titanium alloy powder for armor and other defense applications. A basis will be established for translating the pulse electrolysis composite anode process into 200 Kg/month capacity.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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