Materials Transactions Online

Materials Transactions, Vol.58 No.03 (2017) pp.306-312
© 2017 The Japan Institute of Metals and Materials

Aspects of the Application of Electrochemistry to the Extraction of Titanium and Its Applications

Derek Fray1 and Carsten Schwandt1, 2

1Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge, 27 Charles Babbage Road, Cambridge CB3 0FS, UK
2Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Nizwa, Birkat Al Mouz, 616 Nizwa, Oman

For over five decades the main route for the extraction of titanium has been the Kroll process. It is regarded as being expensive, labour intensive, reliant on a high quality feedstock, and environmentally unfriendly, but it has thus far not been possible to replace it. As a result the usage of titanium is still restricted to a few high end applications. During the past twenty years several new molten salt based electrochemical approaches for the reduction of titanium oxide have been introduced to meet these challenges, and these may, eventually, lead to novel extraction processes for titanium and other reactive metals. This paper summarises the many interesting concepts that underlie these electrochemical methods, of which some have already advanced to the stage of substantial pilot plants whilst others are still being developed at the laboratory level. The paper also reviews the development of new materials for use as the anode in these processes. Finally, it touches upon the development of processes for the regeneration of oxidised titanium and for the welding of titanium under cathodic protection in cases where protective gas shielding is not possible.

[doi:10.2320/matertrans.MK201619]

(Received 2016/09/02; Accepted 2016/11/14; Published 2017/02/25)

Keywords: titanium, extraction, electroreduction, electrorefining, regeneration, welding, molten salt, electrolysis, inert anode

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