Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Process Improves Cost, Usefulness of Titanium

Researchers working with the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have devised a new system for creating objects using titanium powder that could dramatically reduce the cost of using the material. The process uses considerably less energy for constructing parts from titanium powders because it does not involve having to melt the powders.

The researchers see new applications in armor for soldiers and vehicles, new alloys for brake rotors, more durable artificial join replacements, and more. The clearest gain is in armor for military vehicles. The titanium alloy armors do a much better job of stopping bullets and shrapnel, but are also lighter. By being lighter, the vehicles become more responsive and mobile, making them more useful to the military. And obviously, by stopping more bullets, the vehicles are clearly more useful to the soldiers inside.

Similarly, new corrosion-resistant alloys could make their way into automobiles, making them lighter and more responsive and helping improve their fuel efficiency.

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