Dr Silethelwe Chikosha, CSIR Senior Researcher
Powder technologies are known for cost reductions of up to 25% when used to manufacture products, compared to ingot metallurgy manufacturing. The CSIR evaluated powder technologies for manufacturing products of expensive metals with exceptional properties, such as titanium metal. Titanium products are expensive, which limit their application to niche industries such as aerospace and biomedical. The high cost of titanium is linked to the difficulties associated with its extraction and the multiple fabrication steps required to produce semi-finished or finished products by ingot metallurgy. The direct powder rolling technology was identified for development as an alternative for making titanium sheets. The development focused on reducing the number of fabrication steps for titanium sheets. The technology was demonstrated to be capable of producing titanium sheets that meet ASTM standard with reduced fabrication steps. The technology can be extended to other materials that are expensive or difficult to fabricate using multiple deformation steps.