A New Innovative Low-Cost Manufacturing Process to Produce TitaniumEPA Contract Number: EPD08038
Title: A New Innovative Low-Cost Manufacturing Process to Produce Titanium
Investigators: Withers, James C.
Small Business: Materials and Electrochemical Research (MER) Corporation
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Project Period: March 1, 2008 through August 31, 2008
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2008) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Pollution Prevention
All titanium is produced by the Kroll process, which is a batch process for the magnesium (Mg) reduction of titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4). Separate operations are required to produce the toxic and very corrosive TiCl4, which must be stored and transported. Magnesium also is produced separately in liquid form via the electrolysis of magnesium chloride (MgCl2), which requires storage and transport of liquid Mg as well as handling the chloride gas produced. The Kroll-produced titanium sponge is a 50-year-old mature process that is expensive, thus limiting the utilization of titanium in spite of its most desirable properties of light weight, corrosion resistance, and high mechanical properties. A wholly new process is proposed to produce titanium powder that utilizes the basic proven Kroll-type chemistry but is performed in situ, which eliminates the need for external sources of Mg and TiCl4. Because no separately produced Mg or TiCl4 is required, the environmental issues with producing Mg and TiCl4 are eliminated. The new one-step processing that does not require external feeds of Mg and TiCl4 offers the potential to produce titanium powder at one-half or less than the cost of a Kroll-produced sponge.