The demand for high performance light weight components increases permanently. Therefore, titanium alloys and their composites become more and more interesting. Yet, the costs very often hinder the serial use of titanium. For reducing the costs of titanium extraction new processes are currently developed. Some processes are based on the reduction of titanium dioxide in molten salts. However, a break-through has not yet been achieved. A promising variation is based on a titanium dioxide-carbon-composite-anode, by which the titanium is solved in the molten salt and deposited at the cathode. By using a material for the cathode possibly suitable for the reinforcement in composite materials, e.g. ceramic or carbon fibres, as the product of the electrolysis a titanium matrix composite is obtained. Alternatively, a component can be used as cathode to coat it electrolytically.
Compared to any other known routes, the process proposed is characterised by its drastically reduced number of processing steps, especially in regard to the process of titanium chloride production and the electrolytic magnesium reduction. Thus, it includes significant economical and ecological advantages.
The research is carried out by a Helmholtz-University Young Investigators Group together with RWTH Aachen Univesity. Visit us at http://www.mmc-electrolysis.com