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Science Technology

New Technology Produces Cheaper Tantalum and Titanium 139

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the cheap-thinkpads-for-all dept.
Billy the Mountain writes "A small UK company is bringing new technology online that could reduce the prices of tantalum and titanium ten-fold. According to this piece in The Economist: A tantalising prospect, the key is a technique similar to smelting aluminum with a new twist: The metallic oxides are not melted as with aluminum but blended in powder form with a molten salt that serves as a medium and electrolyte. This technology is known as the FFC Cambridge Process. Other metals include Neodymium, Tungsten, and Vanadium."
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New Technology Produces Cheaper Tantalum and Titanium

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @04:43AM (#43012361)

    Aluminum is mostly made by Rio , and uses subsidized electricity from anyone who wants jobs and a smelter, and heaps of sodium hydroxide - a salt that also 'costs' to produce. Anyone who discovers a way of saving energy inputs will be well rewarded.
    Magnesium. like aluminum is basically solidified electricity, so the process sounds good - until the other energy is factored in.
    BTW Alum smelters have stirrers that add pressure to the equation - chemists have done their homework, and using aluminum to make aluminum is obviously not likely.

  • by jbeaupre (752124) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @04:51AM (#43012395)

    I work with titanium. Buying 500 kg this week. It's not that bad. I'd use more of it if it were cheaper.

    You want to talk hard to work with, try gamma titanium aluminide. Blah! And I'm sure there is far worse stuff. Plutonium?

  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @06:13AM (#43012631)

    Reduce the prices ten-fold

    Really? I think you're trying to say "reduce by 90%".

    Or you could have just quoted TFA : "for less than a tenth of such powderâ(TM)s current price". But that's The Economist, their editors actually care about both the English language and making sense.

  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @08:40AM (#43013065)

    Tenfold = ten times as much. Not one tenth. If you mean "one tenth" SAY "one tenth".
    "reduce tenfold" literally means take away ten times. i.e. 1-10 = -9 Since that's nonsense, we can only guess what they actually mean

    http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/tenfold [oxforddictionaries.com]
    tenfold adjective. ten times as great or as numerous:

  • by Eloking (877834) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @10:42AM (#43013861)

    Most people, even on slashdot, don’t realize the huge potential of titanium.

    It's not only a better metal, it's perfect. In fact, if you mixed together aluminum and stainless steel together and tap the result with a magic wand to remove all its flaw (Resistance to corrosion, acid, rust etc.), you'll get titanium.

    Its light as aluminum, strong as steel, completely resistant to corrosion and quite abundant (given, it's not as abundant as iron and aluminum, but it's not that far either. You'll be surprised how much we use Ti in our everyday product). In fact, Ti as the "highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal" (Reference: Wiki). And we're not even talking about alloy yet.

    Still, it got two main flaws:

    - First it's price. Because the Kroll process (actual process to make Ti) waste Magnesium, Ti cost a lot more than it should. But the new process should drop that problem if it ever enters mass production. And even if it'll always be more costly than aluminum or iron, don't forget that you need way less material to get the job done

    - The second flaw is the hash manufacturing process. Because of many factor like the Titanium thermal conductivity, it's a pain to manufacture. But the new advance in 3D printing "could" completely remove that flaw

    I may be a dreamer, but the day where you'll buy 3D printed Titanium shovel from your Walmart may not be that far.

  • by Hadlock (143607) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @11:02AM (#43014019) Homepage Journal

    You can safely hold a lump of the stuff (scientific samples) with your bare hands. It's warm, but otherwise completely safe because it only emits alpha or beta particles (I forget which). You wouldn't want to eat it or breathe in dust from a machining process, however.

Organic chemistry is the chemistry of carbon compounds. Biochemistry is the study of carbon compounds that crawl. -- Mike Adams

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