IperionX and ORNL to develop low-cost titanium alloys for additive manufacturing

A lot is going on the agenda of the U.S. Department of Energy which has recently approved a collaboration between materials producer IperionX and research institute Oak Ridge National Laboratory to advance the application of low cost alloys utilizing spherical powder produced through IperionX’s titanium technologies.

The announcement follows another funding the DOE granted to Fortify and polySpectra to advance clean energy manufacturing, and improve America’s economic competitiveness and workforce diversity. While it has not been confirmed yet, our guess is that this project is amid the 30 projects that will receive funding from the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO).

We do know that the User Agreement has been executed to advance work between ORNL and IperionX at DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (“MDF”) at ORNL. The MDF is a 110,000 sq. ft. facility that is the nation’s only large-scale open-access user facility for rapidly demonstrating R&D manufacturing technologies and optimizing critical processes.

Key objectives of the User Agreement include:

  • Evaluation & characterization of spherical titanium powders produced through IperionX’s technologies for use in additive manufacturing / 3D printing, including opportunities to use titanium powders to manufacture parts which currently rely on other metals, including stainless steel and aluminum
  • Demonstration that pressed and sintered parts produced using IperionX’s titanium powders have equivalent or better characteristics to parts produced using industry standard titanium powders

ORNL has been at the forefront of research and development relating to low-cost titanium powder technologies including applications in the automotive, defense and aerospace industries.

As a focus of the collaboration, initially, pressed and sintered parts will be produced and tested at the MDF with the aim of validating that the components fabricated with commercially pure titanium or Ti-6Al-4V alloy produced by IperionX meet the characteristics for light-weighting 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 aluminum.

The User Agreement will complement IperionX’s ongoing project to qualify and demonstrate the performance of its U.S. produced titanium powder for additively manufactured aerospace parts, supporting a project with the U.S. Navy to test titanium flight critical metal replacement components for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Anastasios (Taso) Arima, IperionX’s Managing Director and CEO said: “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.

ORNL brings a knowledge base from numerous collaborations with advanced manufacturing companies, such as partnering in Volkswagen’s first U.S. 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 organizations share Tennessee roots, and we look forward to progressing the User Agreement and establishing a strong relationship between IperionX and ORNL.”

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