IperionX Limited, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, Tennessee, are collaborating to develop low-cost titanium alloys for Additive Manufacturing using IperionX’s titanium metal powders. Under a US Department of Energy (DOE) approved User Agreement, the companies will work at the DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) at ORNL, a 10,200 m2 facility that is reputedly the nation’s only large-scale, open-access user facility for rapidly demonstrating R&D manufacturing technologies and optimising critical processes.
Key objectives of the User Agreement include:
- Evaluation and characterisation of spherical titanium powders produced through IperionX’s technologies for use in Additive Manufacturing, including opportunities to use titanium powders to manufacture parts which currently rely on other metals, including stainless steel and aluminium.
- Demonstration that press and sinter Powder Metallurgy parts produced using IperionX’s titanium powders have equivalent or better characteristics to parts produced using industry standard titanium powders.
As a focus of the collaboration, initially, press and sinter Powder Metallurgy parts will be produced and tested at the MDF with the aim of validating that the components fabricated with commercially pure titanium or a Ti6Al4V alloy produced by IperionX meet the characteristics for lightweighting for the transportation sector, including heavy trucks, aircraft components and other transportation applications where titanium has an advantage over currently used metals such as steel and aluminium.
The user agreement is expected to complement IperionX’s ongoing project to qualify and demonstrate the performance of its titanium powder for additively manufactured aerospace parts, supporting a project with the US Navy to test titanium flight critical metal replacement components for the US Department of Defense.
“We are extremely pleased to be working with ORNL. The laboratory is an ideal partner for IperionX, with expertise in Additive Manufacturing, along with a strong interest in identifying new powder feedstocks that lower costs and increase energy efficiency, particularly in transportation,” stated Anastasios (Taso) Arima, IperionX’s Managing Director and CEO.
He continued, “ORNL brings a knowledge base from numerous collaborations with advanced manufacturing companies, such as partnering in Volkswagen’s first US innovation hub in Tennessee to develop lighter vehicle components from composite materials and electrify vehicles, its recent work with NASA which resulted in a 3D printed thermal protection shield traveling to the International Space Station, or its 3D printing work with Boeing’s 777x.”
“Both organisations share Tennessee roots, and we look forward to progressing the User Agreement and establishing a strong relationship between IperionX and ORNL,” Arima concluded.