April 18, 2024

Business Bib

Business & Finance Blog

All That You Need to Know About Titanium Recycling

2 min read

Titanium is a metal that is known for being light in weight, having great strength, and non-corrosive in nature. It easily bends without breaking. All these properties make it a strategic raw material that is used in manufacturing aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, and other defense armor.

An Overview

It is also very costly to acquire mostly because the conventional Kroll Process used for the production of titanium sponge is both expensive and ineffective. It results in no more than 30% of the titanium sponge produced on an average. Sometimes, the discarded material goes up to 90% and it is then used for titanium recycling.

As this metal exhibits great affinity towards carbon, nitrogen and oxygen, the re-melting steps have to be carried out under vacuum or an inert gas atmosphere. The latest technology makes use of plasma and vacuum furnaces. The former melts substances with heated gas, while the latter melts in the absence of air. Both these furnaces consume much less energy than the other melting methods. To manufacture titanium alloys, multiple re-melting steps are required so as to guarantee a homogeneous ingot.

Titanium and titanium alloys exhibit outstanding properties like biocompatibility, high strength levels at low density, and high corrosion resistance. Despite that, their applications are restricted to limited fields because of their high costs. Though Kroll Process is inefficient and efforts are on to find some alternative production routes, which ensure higher yields, so far no concrete outcome has surfaced.

Recycling: The Best Way to Put Scrap Titanium to Use

As the rejected percentage is too high, the recirculation of titanium alloys majorly focuses on selected and classified scrap. The contaminated and inhomogeneous scrap, on the other hand, is used by major players in titanium recycling like Metalliage to convert into ferrotitanium.

The conventional recycling, which focuses on clean and classified scrap, has a substantial cost. The utilization of low-grade scrap, however, results in cost reduction effects.

It is not that titanium is a rare metal. In fact, it is the ninth most abundant element present in the earth’s crust. The reason it is expensive is that it is notoriously difficult both to refine and purify from its ores. The conventional Kroll process requires extreme heat and a lot of labor and after that, the yield is still pathetic. The entire process of refining titanium costs nearly six times than what is required to produce steel.

Efforts are on to find an efficient way of titanium refining. Until then, recycling is the best way to put the discarded metal to use.