Global titanium bicycle market is growing rapidly.
Commercial spherical Ti powder production methods include gas atomization (GA), plasma atomization (PA), and plasma rotating electrode process (PREP). The PREP powder is widely recognized to have very high purity and near perfect spherical shape. However, the particle size of PREP powder is relatively coarser than needed for some applications. Finer spherical powders can be produced via GA and PA methods. Although atomized powder can be classified to produce desired size cuts, classification reduces the yield of usable size cuts, further increasing the cost of the material. The low yield of fine powder produced by the current commercial methods is one of the main technical reasons for the high cost of the powder used for the advanced NNS processes, especially for AM.
Blacksand and the University of Utah developed a thermochemical process for producing spherical alloy powder, namely the granulation-sintering-deoxygenation process (GSD). It combines low cost feedstock material with high yield production, and can thus produce spherical Ti and Ti alloy powders at a fraction of the cost of comparable commercial powders that are available today.
Blacksand and its partners are actively engaged in ongoing scaling up and commercialization of this technology. GSD spherical Ti alloy powder has low oxygen content, controllable particle size distributions, and excellent flowability.
- Z. Zak Fang et al., Production of Substantially Spherical Metal Powders, US Patent 9,421,612
- Ying Zhang et al., Methods of deoxygenating metals having oxygen dissolved therein in a solid solution, US Patent 9,669,464
- Pei Sun et al., A Novel Method for Production of Spherical Ti-6Al-4V for Additive Manufacturing, Powder Technology, 301(2016):331-335.
- Ying Zhang et al., Thermodynamic destabilization of Ti-O solid solution by H2 and de-oxygenation of Ti using Mg, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 138(2016):6916-6919.
- Yang Xia et al., Novel Method for Making Biomedical Segregation-Free Ti-30Ta Alloy Spherical Powder for Additive Manufacturing, JOM, 70 (2018):364-369
Approximately 14% of Boeing 787 is made of titanium.