ORNL and IperionX Are Developing Low-Cost Titanium Alloys for AM

Published on July 28, 2022 by Madeleine P.

IperionX has announced that it is collaborating with Oak Ridge National Laboratory in order to further develop low-cost titanium alloys for additive manufacturing. As part of a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) approved user agreement, the two will be working at DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) to evaluate and characterize IperionX’s titanium spherical powders as well as demonstrate the characteristics of parts made using the powders, notably for the transportation sector. It will also complement ongoing work that IperionX is doing to test flight critical parts on behalf of the U.S. Navy

IperionX is an American company that works on titanium processing technologies. Notably, it seeks to help move the world towards a closed-loop, low-to-zero carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive green economy. It focuses on titanium as it is critical to a number of industries thanks to the fact that it has the highest strength to weight ratio of all known metals, is naturally resistant to corrosion and has a higher melting point than aluminum, steel and iron. The company has developed a process that enables the production of low-cost titanium metal from titanium minerals or scrap titanium metal. This commitment to zero-waste creation of powder fits well with both the goals of the ORNL, who among other projects has been researching ways to commit to cleaner manufacturing in the US, and with additive manufacturing. In fact, 3D printing is often chosen for projects centered on closed-loop manufacturing thanks to its ability to reuse material as well as prevent unnecessary waste. Now this collaboration seeks to advance the applications of IperionX’s low-cost titanium alloys which have been created specifically for AM.

low-cost titanium alloys

IperionX specializes in low-cost titanium alloys (photo credits: IperionX)

Developing Low-Cost Titanium Alloys for Additive Manufacturing

IperionX will be working with ORNL to achieve a number of objectives. Notably, they are hoping to show that the characteristics of parts made using sintering and IperionX’s low-cost titanium alloys and find opportunities to use the powders in parts that might be made with other metals such as stainless steel and aluminum. Additionally, sintered parts produced by IperionX’s Ti-6AI-4V alloy will be tested in order to ensure they meet the necessary proprerties for light-weighting in the transportation sector. These could then be used in heavy trucks, aircraft components or as part of IperionX’s ongoing work with the U.S. navy to test titanium flight critical metal replacement components in a project with the U.S. Department of Defense.

Anastasios (Taso) Arima, IperionX’s Managing Director and CEO concluded: “We are extremely pleased to be working with ORNL. The laboratory is an ideal partner for IperionX, with expertise in additive manufacturing, along with a strong interest in identifying new powder feedstocks that lower costs and increase energy efficiency, particularly in transportation. ORNL brings a knowledge base from numerous collaborations with advanced manufacturing companies, such as partnering in Volkswagen’s first U.S. innovation hub in Tennessee to develop lighter vehicle components from composite materials and electrify vehicles, its recent work with NASA which resulted in a 3D printed thermal protection shield traveling to the International Space Station, or its 3D printing work with Boeing’s 777x.” You can find out more about the partnership in the press release HERE.

What do you think of the ORNL and IperionX’s collaboration? What other uses do you see for low cost titanium alloys? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

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