Based On Industrialization Titanium Powder Processing Technology R & D More With Less

- Jun 11, 2018-

Based on Industrialization Titanium powder processing technology R & D more with less

Titanium and its oxides and alloys are important coatings, new structural materials and anti-corrosion materials. They are hailed as "the third metal in development after the succession of iron and aluminum" and "strategic metal" in aviation, military, metallurgy and chemical industry. , machinery, environmental protection, medical equipment and other fields have a wide range of applications, in the national economy has its important position and role.

In recent years, with the rapid development of science and technology, titanium and titanium alloy powders are increasingly used in various high-tech fields, industrial production, and people's lives. The international demand is also increasing, and the market prospects are increasing. It is very broad, especially the demand for titanium in the United States, Japan and other countries is constantly increasing. According to reports, the current annual demand for titanium in China is 2.5 to 30,000 tons, while the annual domestic titanium production is only 1,500 to 2,000 tons, and the market gap is huge. In the domestic market, the price of one ton of titanium metal powder is 600,000 yuan, and the international market is as much as 800,000 dollars per ton.

However, because of the harder and harder characteristics of titanium, traditional mechanical ball milling technology cannot smash it. Titanium is difficult to smelt, low in production, and costly. Therefore, the international market for titanium products, especially titanium powders, is still at the stage of exploration and development. There are not many countries that have mastered the core technology of titanium powder manufacturing.


New technologies emerge in endlessly but there is little industrialization on a large scale

The most common method for extracting titanium from ore is the Kroll process. However, due to the long production time, labor-intensive and energy-consuming Kroll process, many researchers have been looking for alternative processes.

Among them, there are four representative ones: Cambridge process (also known as “FFC Cambridge process”) developed by Metalysi (Cambridge University subsidiary, formerly known as FFC) uses electrolysis to continuously produce titanium sponge. The Armstrong process developed by International Titanium Powder (ITP) (acquired by the world's leading titanium dioxide producer CristalGlobal at the end of 2008) produces titanium powder by continuously reducing titanium tetrachloride at low temperatures. The MER process, developed by DuPont and MER Corporation, utilizes direct electrolytic reduction to produce titanium powder. The hydride/dehydride process (HDH) developed by the Advanced Materials Group (ADMA Group) utilizes a modified Kroll process to produce titanium powder directly from titanium waste, shavings, and other titanium waste.

Of the four emerging processes mentioned above, three are related to the titanium powder production process and one is the production of sponge titanium. However, only the Cambridge process, which is a technology for producing sponge titanium, is funded and researched and developed by a titanium sponge producer. Therefore, it is easier to industrialize than the other three processes for producing titanium powder. But despite this, according to industry experts, although Cambridge technology has been commercialized for many years, it is still hindered by technical barriers that have not yet been resolved. At the same time, the industrialization of the other three processes is not ideal. The Armstrong process has been used to produce a small amount of titanium powder for many years, but it has not been used for large-scale production until now, and there is still a certain distance from the commercial production of titanium powder. Some people think that the MER process has certain potential, but it is still in the early stages of development and its prospects are still uncertain. At present, the hydrogen dehydrogenation process is the most promising. The ADMA Group reported that it is seeking funds to expand its production. Experts believe that this process can produce titanium plates for the US Army in a few years. However, due to its low cost advantage mainly due to the high utilization of titanium waste, this process still cannot fully replace the Kroll process.

It can be seen that although some emerging and improved technologies can increase production, reduce costs, and reduce energy consumption, they often require a larger period when they are industrialized. Compared with the R&D of new technologies, the industrialization of technologies seems more important.

Titanium powder processing technology in China has achieved remarkable results

The research and development of titanium powder processing technology in China seems to focus more on market and industrialization issues, and the results are significant. As early as 2000, experts of Xue Junfeng, a senior engineer from Harbin Xinke Nanotechnology Development Co., Ltd., and experts on the “preparation and application of titanium nano-sized metal powders” passed the appraisal of relevant departments and obtained large-scale applications. It is understood that the titanium nano-powder produced by the unique process can add new properties such as wear resistance and corrosion resistance to ordinary coatings. This achievement was the first in the world at that time, and most nano-scale researches at home and abroad were still in the laboratory stage. In comparison, this achievement has taken the lead in achieving mass production and large-area applications. In addition, according to this method, it can also obtain copper, iron, nickel and other metal nanomaterials. Experts pointed out that the prospect of industrialization of this result has been proven to be very broad. Simultaneously through the identification of high-performance crushers, a single machine can process 12 tons of nano metal powder each year, and the performance improvement is significantly improved, and the cost is not increased.

In March of this year, the "plasma high-temperature separation titanium-aluminum" technology developed by experts in Yunnan was successfully developed. This technology will completely end the history of titanium-rich Yunnan, which only sells raw materials, making China the world's third largest titanium industrial country that can directly produce titanium metal powder after the United States and Russia.

It is reported that Yunnan's mineral resources are very rich, but due to lagging smelting technology, Yunnan's titanium ore can only sell raw ore for a long time. Yunnan's titanium ore is exported for raw materials, only a few cents per kilogram of titanium ore, resulting in the loss of important low-cost titanium resources. After the successful development of this technology, it can be put into use immediately. According to Shang Jiarong, chairman of Fumin Blonde Mining Co., Ltd., responsible for the construction of the titanium titanium-aluminum industrial project's first-phase titanium metal powder plant, after the start of the project, it will produce an annual output of 28,500 tons of ultrafine, high-purity titanium metal powder. With 37,000 tons of pure iron powder and 7,200 tons of titanium-iron powder, the annual output value can reach 3.09 billion yuan, and taxes can be paid 700 million yuan. This will fill the historical gap in the development of China's titanium industry.

The industrialization of these two technologies has greatly promoted the development of China's titanium industry at different stages, and has made China's titanium industry more and more influential worldwide. By comparison, we can also see that we can not just bury our heads and ignore the market, neglecting the practical application of technology. Only technology with industrial conditions will have practical significance. Otherwise, the best technology will be futile.

In June this year, the 12th World Titanium Society was held in Beijing. This is the first time since China became a member of the International Titanium Organizing Committee of the World Titanium Association in 1992 that the China Titanium Science and Technology has begun to enter the international advanced level. Ranks. It is hoped that colleagues in the industry will continue to spur their own achievements, and in the future production and research process, they will be able to conduct more in-depth and more feasible research on titanium powder processing technology, promote the emergence of newer and better technologies, and shorten industrialization. The process will further promote the rapid development of the titanium powder processing industry in China.