Process could cut cost of titanium by 60%

A new refinery process is being developed in the US that could lower the cost of titanium by up to 60%.

As part of a two-year, £500,000 project, researchers at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) are working on a low cost method to obtain titanium metal from its ore. If successful, the initiative is expected to offer several advantages to high-value industries such as defence, aerospace and transportation. The CWRU team believes its efforts could also expand the domestic titanium production industry and lower reliance on titanium imports. Led by associate professor Rohan Akolkar, the researchers will be developing a process based on electrowinning, a form of electroplating, to directly extract titanium from molten titanium salts. Electrolytically extracted titanium is expected to contain fewer impurities and therefore have superior mechanical properties as extracted.