RichardPrice
Topic Author
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Titanium To Become Cheaper - Repercussions?

Fri Jun 09, 2006 7:34 pm

Scientists and a new company have developed a new way of producing titanium that could reduce the cost of titanium from the current $40 per pound average to just $3 per pound, a massive 90% reduction in cost (without a profit margin taken into account) within the next decade!

With the amount of titanium involved in current airliner construction, and one of the main limitations on faster airtravel being the price of titanium for full airframe construction, what effect will this have on the next 20 years?

http://www.techreview.com/printer_friendly_article.aspx?id=16963
 
cessnalady
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RE: Titanium To Become Cheaper - Repercussions?

Sun Jun 11, 2006 3:58 am

IMHO, if true, a whole new set of airplanes would probably be designed and developed; they will probably be relatively cheaper and more efficient than current models. Current models could also become cheaper and made more efficient too.

This is just too extense. I guess you could get a PhD degree just on developing this topic. Interesting possibilities, nonetheless.

Marie
 
474218
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RE: Titanium To Become Cheaper - Repercussions?

Sun Jun 11, 2006 7:46 am

There are several problems encountered when working with Titanium: It is extremely hard to form (huge presses and high temperature ovens are required), it is very hard to drill (slow speed drills and special drill bits are required) and it is heavy (about half again as heavy as aluminum). The easiest of the three problems to over come is its weight, because it is also stronger than aluminum so thinner gage material can be use.
 
N353SK
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RE: Titanium To Become Cheaper - Repercussions?

Sun Jun 11, 2006 8:06 am

Quoting 474218 (Reply 2):
There are several problems encountered when working with Titanium: It is extremely hard to form (huge presses and high temperature ovens are required), it is very hard to drill (slow speed drills and special drill bits are required) and it is heavy (about half again as heavy as aluminum). The easiest of the three problems to over come is its weight, because it is also stronger than aluminum so thinner gage material can be use.

Even if it is difficult to work with, the real question is whether or not it is more or less difficult to work with than the Composite being used in the 787. There's another thread around here discussing the giant autoclave that's used to make part of the 787 fuselage.
 
roseflyer
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RE: Titanium To Become Cheaper - Repercussions?

Sun Jun 11, 2006 8:11 am

Well Titanium due to its specific strength is an incredibly metal. It is pretty much the ideal metal to make a plane out of. It can give carbon fiber a run for its money if the costs were similar.

Overall however it is questionable to see if this is true. A lot of work was done with Titanium to see if it was cost efficient to produce in mass quantities. Unfortunately the making of Titanium produces a lot of pollution, but that did not stop the Soviets from using the metal extensively in Submarines and other products.

Quoting 474218 (Reply 2):
it is heavy (about half again as heavy as aluminum). The easiest of the three problems to over come is its weight, because it is also stronger than aluminum so thinner gage material can be use

It might be dense in an atomic way, but the specific strength is high, and that is what matters. Titanium has one of the highest strength to weight ratios of anything out there, so that makes it advantageous to use.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
baroque
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RE: Titanium To Become Cheaper - Repercussions?

Sun Jun 11, 2006 3:47 pm

Quoting RichardPrice (Thread starter):
Scientists and a new company have developed a new way of producing titanium

Fascinating, but I wonder which refractories are used for 1700 degrees C. That presents a different order of magnitude of difficulty to the more conventional high temperature refractories for about 1200 C. There must be a strong possibility that the oxides will react with the refractories and that would not be good news. I wonder how the metal is tapped from the furnace, they will need a controlled atmosphere till it is quite cool.

All at small lab scale so far but interesting because the "old" process is a bit messy. It always seems a pity that the main use for titanium is in paint.