Machining Titanium & Titanium Alloys

 

Titanium & Titanium Alloys

A metallic element, titanium is recognized for its high strength-to-weight ratio.  It is a strong metal with low density that is quite ductile.  Commercial grades of titanium have tensile strength of about 63,000 psi, equal to that of common, low-grade steel alloys, but are 45% lighter.  Titanium is 60% more dense than aluminum, but more than twice as strong as 6061-T6 aluminum alloy.  It is fairly hard although not as hard as some grades of heat-treated steel, non-magnetic and a poor conductor of heat and electricity.

 

Machining Titanium & Titanium Alloys

  • Use low cutting speeds.
  • Maintain high feed rates.
  • Temperature is not affected by feed rate so much as by speed, and the highest feed rates consistent with good machining should be used.
  • Use sharp tools and replace them at the first sign of wear. Tool failure occurs quickly after a small initial amount of wear.
  • Never stop feeding while tool and work are in moving contact. Allowing a tool to dwell in moving contact causes work hardening

Usage

The medical industry uses machined titanium and titanium alloys for many things.  Because it is biocompatible (non-toxic and is not rejected by the body), titanium is used in a gamut of medical applications including surgical implements and implants, such as hip balls and sockets (joint replacement). This property is also useful for orthopedic implant applications as well as dental implants.

Machined titanium is also used for the surgical instruments used in image-guided surgery, as well as wheelchairs, crutches, and any other products where high strength and low weight are desirable.

Aerospace and marine has great applications for titanium as well.  Due to their high tensile strength to density ratio, high corrosion resistance, and ability to withstand moderately high temperatures without creeping, titanium alloys are used in aircraft, armor plating, naval ships, spacecraft, and missiles.  For these applications titanium alloyed with aluminum, vanadium, and other elements is used for a variety of components including critical structural parts, fire walls, landing gear,

Due to its high corrosion resistance to sea water, titanium is used to make propeller shafts and rigging and in the heat exchangers of desalination plants, in heater-chillers for salt water aquariums, fishing line and leader, and for divers' knives. Titanium is used to manufacture the housings and other components of ocean-deployed surveillance and monitoring devices for scientific and military use.

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