The Electrolytic Production of Ti from a TiO2 Feed (The DARPA Sponsored Program)
DARPA instituted an Initiative in Titanium in 2003 to produce titanium, alternatively to the Kroll process, in a billet form for under $4/lb. This DARPA sponsored program has gone into Phase II consisting of utilizing ore/TiO2 as a feed. The TiO2 is carbothermically reduced to a suboxide-carbide (Ti:O:C) which is used anodically to resupply the titanium content in an electrolysis process that deposits titanium in a powder morphology. The deposited powder is uniquely stripped from the cathodes and harvested in a separate stream that permits continuous electrolytic processing to produce titanium at an estimated cost about ½ the Kroll process. Oxygen contents less than 500 ppm are achievable with particle sizes in the desired range for powder metallurgy applications. The process has been demonstrated on a continuous basis and is in the stage of scaling-up to 500 lbs/day.
M. Ashraf Imam, F. H. Froes, Kevin F. Dring
J. Withers et al., "The Electrolytic Production of Ti from a TiO2 Feed (The DARPA Sponsored Program) ", Key Engineering Materials, Vol. 436, pp. 61-74, 2010