Ukrainian titanium leader Velta LLC announced Monday it had developed titanium aluminide (TiAl), a highly prized intermetallic compound, using its proprietary closed-cycle manufacturing process. This achievement represents an enormous advancement for titanium technology and will allow for new and more robust applications of intermetallic compounds across commercial and defense sectors at a fraction of the carbon footprint of traditional methods.
The conventional production of titanium metal and its alloys, such as titanium aluminide, is energy- and time-intensive. The new Velta Ti Process, which creates titanium alloy powders from ilmenite concentrate, results in a superior product with a carbon footprint between five and ten times smaller than those made through the traditional Kroll process.
“The titanium metallurgy sector is uncommonly ripe for disruption: they’ve relied on the same outdated process, generating the same carbon footprint, for decades. That’s why we opened a research and development center in 2017 to begin exploring new production processes,” Velta chief executive Andriy Brodsky said. “After years of R&D, we’re excited to bring our innovations—from pure titanium to high-performance alloys—to the market.”
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Intermetallic materials have become increasingly prized in the aerospace and automotive sectors and civil infrastructure. Through the revolutionary cutting-edge Velta Ti Process, titanium aluminides have the potential to compete with superalloys. The heat resistance available through superalloys, such as those based on nickel, iron-chromium-nickel, cobalt, or mixed bases, come at the cost of weight. Titanium aluminide offers both extreme heat resistance and low weight, making it ideal for aerospace engines for Airbus A320neo and the Boeing 737 MAX, Boeing 777, and Boeing 787. Other applications include orthopedic and dental implants and gas turbine blades for power generation.