Metalysis has developed a process that can transform natural rutile sands directly into titanium metal powder in a single step.
Rutile is a naturally occurring titanium ore present in beach sands.
The Metalysis process, developed at UK based specialist metals company's plant in Yorkshire, UK, has successfully carried out a series of production runs using rutile feedstock and is now able to produce a range of titanium powders.
The breakthrough in the use of rutile ore as the feedstock is part of the decade-long development of a process to provide highly-efficient, cost effective and transformational specialist metals production.
"Metalysis has spent a significant period of time and resource developing a process that can produce titanium powder from a relatively inexpensive feedstock in a single step," said Guppy Dhariwal, CEO of Metalysis.
"We now expect that our process will have a transformational effect on the metals industry through the production of titanium on a greater scale, at a lower cost and in an environmentally benign manner."
Metalysis said its use of rutile ore as a feedstock is a low cost and environmentally benign method of titanium powder production.
The new rutile derived titanium powder, can be used in a variety of new applications to satisfy the demand for a low cost, light weight, high strength and corrosion resistant metal.
In addition to titanium, tantalum and specialist metals (including rare earths), a wide range of innovative ‘designer’ alloys can be produced on a commercial scale with a significantly reduced environmental impact.
The process is also suitable for the recycling of strategic metals.
The nature of the Metalysis process means that it can produce alloys that would not be cost effective by traditional processes.
It is entirely solid-state, therefore metals with significantly different densities or melting points can be alloyed.
Metalysis said the alloys can be tailored to have the desired properties for applications within a variety of industries including automotive, marine, electronics, clean energy and aerospace.