Titanium Powder:Production,Characteristics,Selecting

Overview

Titanium powder is a versatile metallic material valued for its unique combination of high strength, low density, corrosion resistance, and biocompatibility. As a powder, titanium facilitates advanced manufacturing techniques like metal injection molding (MIM), additive manufacturing (AM), hot isostatic pressing (HIP), and powder metallurgy (PM) pressing and sintering to create complex titanium components.

Key applications for titanium powder include aerospace components, medical implants, automotive parts, sporting equipment, chemical processing, and consumer products. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of titanium powder, including production methods, alloy compositions, characteristics, properties, specifications, applications, and global suppliers. It aims to assist engineers, product designers, and technical program managers in selecting and using titanium powders.

Titanium Powder

Production of Titanium Powder

Titanium powder is produced using the following primary methods:

Titanium Powder Production Methods

  • Gas Atomization – High pressure inert gas disintegrates molten titanium into spherical powder
  • Plasma Atomization – Titanium electrode arcs create ultrafine spherical powder
  • Hydriding/Dehydriding – Titanium hydride powder (TiO2) is dehydrided into fine powders
  • Mechanical Milling – Ball milling breaks down titanium chips into irregular particles
  • Plasma Spheroidization – Irregular powder melted in plasma to produce spherical shapes

Gas atomization and mechanical milling are most common, creating spherical and angular powder shapes respectively. Additional screening, conditioning, and blending create application-specific particle size distributions.

Compositions of Titanium Powder

While commercially pure titanium powders are available, most powders for industrial uses contain small amounts of alloying elements:

Common Titanium Powder Compositions

AlloyPrimary Alloying ElementsKey Characteristics
CP Titanium99.5%+ TiExcellent corrosion resistance
Ti-6Al-4V6% Al, 4% VHigh strength, heat treatable
Ti-6Al-7Nb6% Al, 7% NbHigh strength, biocompatible
Ti-5555% Al, 5% Mo, 5% VHeat treatable, machinable
Ti-102310% V, 2% Fe, 3% AlHigh strength, good ductility

Aluminum, vanadium, and niobium are common additions to enhance strength and workability. Trace boron, carbon, iron, and oxygen also appear.

Alloying tailors microstructure, hardness, machinability, and other properties while retaining excellent corrosion resistance.

Characteristics of Titanium Powder

Key characteristics of titanium powder include:

Titanium Powder Characteristics

CharacteristicTypical ValuesSignificance
Particle size10 – 150 micronsSintering behavior, surface finish
Particle shapeSpherical, angular, dendriticPowder flow and packing density
Apparent density1.5 – 4.0 g/ccPressing and handling behavior
Tap density2.5 – 4.5 g/ccIndicator of compressibility
Hall flow rate25 – 35 s/50gPowder flowability
Loss on ignition0.1 – 0.5 wt%Oxygen and moisture content
PyrophoricityNoneFlammability and handling precautions

Particle size distribution and powder shape significantly impact powder flow, compaction, sintering response, and density of pressed and sintered parts. Apparent density indicates powder compressibility.

Properties of Titanium Powders

Key titanium powder properties include:

Titanium Powder Properties

PropertyPure TiTi-6Al-4VTi-6Al-7Nb
Density4.5 g/cc4.43 g/cc4.52 g/cc
Tensile Strength240 MPa930 MPa900 MPa
Yield Strength170 MPa860 MPa825 MPa
Elongation24%10%15%
Elastic Modulus102 GPa114 GPa105 GPa
Hardness80 HB334 HB321 HB
Heat Capacity522 J/kg·K526 J/kg·K527 J/kg·K
Thermal Conductivity7.2 W/m·K7.2 W/m·K6.7 W/m·K

Alloying with aluminum, vanadium, and niobium enhances strength and hardness significantly. Specific properties depend heavily on final microstructure.

Applications of Titanium Powder

Key applications for titanium powder include:

Titanium Powder Applications

IndustryUsesKey Reasons
AerospaceStructural components, turbine blades, fastenersHigh strength-to-weight ratio
MedicalOrthopedic implants, dental implants, surgical toolsBiocompatibility, corrosion resistance
AutomotiveConnecting rods, valves, springs, fastenersLight weighting, performance
ChemicalTanks, pipes, valves, pumpsCorrosion resistance
Sporting goodsGolf clubs, bicycles, helmetsStrength, tailored mechanical properties
PetrochemicalDownhole tools, wellhead partsStrength, corrosion resistance

Titanium’s unique properties make it attractive for reducing weight in aerospace components while maintaining mechanical integrity in extreme environments.

Excellent biocompatibility and corrosion resistance drive usage in orthopedic and dental implants. The ability to tailor titanium’s properties facilitates sporting goods with specialized performance characteristics.

Specifications for Titanium Powder

Titanium powder compositions and quality are defined by various standard specifications:

Titanium Powder Standards

StandardScopeParticle SizePurityChemistry
ASTM B348Grade 1-4 unalloyed Ti powder-635 mesh99.5%, 99.9%, 99.95% TiO, C, N, H limits
ASTM B801Ti-6Al-4V alloy powder-635 meshTi, Al, V composition rangesInterstitial limits
ISO 23301Additive manufacturing Ti powder10-45 microns99.5%+ TiO, N, C, H, Fe limits
AMS 4992Aerospace grade Ti-6Al-4V powder-150 meshTi, Al, V composition rangesInterstitial limits

These define acceptable levels of alloying additions, impurities like oxygen/nitrogen/carbon, particle size distributions, and other test methods relevant for different applications.

Global Suppliers of Titanium Powder

Many major corporations produce titanium powders along with smaller regional manufacturers:

Titanium Powder Manufacturers

SupplierProduction MethodsMaterialsCapabilities
ATI MetalsGas atomizationTi-6Al-4V, Ti-1023, pure TiWide alloy range, large volumes
Praxair Surface TechnologiesGas atomizationTi-6Al-4V, CP TiSmall lots, rapid delivery
Carpenter AdditiveGas atomization, hydride-dehydrideTi-6Al-4V, Ti-6Al-7Nb, pure TiCustom alloys, small lots
AP&CPlasma atomizationCP Ti, Ti alloysUltrafine 10-45 micron powder
TeknaPlasma spheroidizationTi-6Al-4V, CP TiConvert chips into spherical powder
Baoji Hanz TitaniumHydridingCP Ti, Ti-6Al-4VLow costChinese producer

Many supply both standard and custom alloy compositions. Some provide toll processing of scrap and chips into powder.

Selecting Titanium Powder

Key considerations for selecting titanium powder include:

  • Alloy composition – Balances desired properties like strength, ductility, hardness
  • Purity level – Affects mechanical properties and microstructure
  • Particle size and shape – Influences powder flow, density, surface finish
  • Apparent and tap density – Indicates compressibility and sintering response
  • Chemical compatibility – For service conditions like acids or salt water
  • Sampling procedures – Representative testing of powder lots
  • Quality certifications – ISO 9001, AS9100, etc.
  • Technical expertise from powder producer

Samples builds and prototypes help qualify new alloys and powders for a given application. Work closely with reputable suppliers to obtain well-characterized titanium powder for optimal results.

Titanium Powder

FAQ

What is the benefit of plasma atomized titanium powder?

Plasma atomization produces very spherical, flowing particles typically 10-45 microns in size. This allows excellent sintered density and surface finish.

What causes titanium powder to be pyrophoric?

Pyrophoric titanium powders ignite spontaneously in air. This is caused by extremely small particle sizes below 10 microns which greatly increase surface area and reactivity. Use inert gas handling for pyrophoric powders.

How does particle shape influence titanium powder properties?

Spherical powder flows well and provides higher and more uniform density and mechanical properties. Irregular powder offers better green strength and compressibility but less predictable shrinkage.

What post-processing can improve titanium powder reuse?

Screening, milling, and thermal treatments allow reuse of off-spec powders. Plasma spheroidization converts chips and coarser particles into spherical powder feedstock.

What standards apply to additive manufacturing of titanium parts?

ASTM F3001-14 covers characterization and quality control of Ti alloy powder for AM. ASTM F2924-14 gives standard test methods for evaluating mechanical properties of AM titanium.

Can you 3D print a titanium and steel composite structure?

Yes, some metal 3D printing processes transition between titanium and stainless steel alloys within one part by precise material switching to build bimetallic components.

Conclusion

Titanium powder provides engineers great flexibility to build high performance components thanks to the metal’s unique properties. Careful selection of powder characteristics and close collaboration with experienced suppliers enables optimal results across many critical applications. Ongoing advances continue to expand the capabilities, quality, and cost-effectiveness of titanium powder metallurgy processes.

know more 3D printing processes

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