Microwave Sintering and Melting of Titanium Powder for Low-Cost Processing
The emerging reduction technologies for titanium from ore produce powder instead of sponge. Conventional methods for sintering and melting of titanium powder are costly, as they are energy intensive and require high vacuum, 10-6 Torr or better, since titanium acts as a getter for oxygen at high temperature, adversely affecting mechanical properties. Other melting processes such as plasma arcs have the additional problem of electrode consumption, and direct induction heating of the titanium powder is problematic. Microwave sintering or melting in an atmospheric pressure argon gas environment is potentially cost effective and energy efficient due to the possibility of direct microwave heating of the titanium powder augmented by hybrid heating in a ceramic casket. We are investigating this approach at the Naval Research Laboratory using an S–Band microwave system. The experimental setup and the results of melting and sintering experiments will be described including a rough estimate of energy usage.
M. Ashraf Imam, F. H. Froes, Kevin F. Dring
R. W. Bruce et al., "Microwave Sintering and Melting of Titanium Powder for Low-Cost Processing ", Key Engineering Materials, Vol. 436, pp. 131-140, 2010