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Application of Titanium in aerospace industry

Titanium the fourth most abundant element in earth`s crust has now became the widely used metal in the aerospace industry. The things that make it the strongest contender among other metal and alloys viz. Aluminium, Magnesium are: Weight saving it has a very high strength to weight ratio (about 16 times to that of aluminum) High fat5igue strength as compared to aluminum which makes it best suited for highly loaded bulkheads and frames in fighter planes. High working temp range 200 - 500C Excellent corrosion resistance Space saving a landing gear made of Ti occupies less space than that of aluminum. Due to the above mentioned wonderful combinations of mechanical properties, it accounts for 42% of the total structural weight of new F-22 fighter plane

and for Boeing 777 it is about 8.3%

Titanium exists in 2 crystalline forms i.e the one at room temp. is called alpha and has a HCP structure and the other is called beta, which is stable above 882 C called the beta transus temp. At room temp, commercially pure Ti is composed primarily of alpha phase. As alloying elements are added they tend to change the amount of each phase present and the beta transus temp. Those elements which increase the beta transus temp by stabilizing the alpha phase are called alpha stabilizers like Aluminium, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon. Those which decreases the beta transus temp are called beta stabilizers .They can be classified in to 2 categories:a. Beta isomorphous elements-which have high solubility in Ti Mo, Nb, Ta,V. b. Beta eutectoid elements- which have limited solubility and tend to form intermetallic compounds - Mn, Cr, Si, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu. Ti alloys are classified according to the alpha and beta retained at room temp. They are classed as alpha (only ), near- alpha (mostly and some ), alpha-beta, and beta (only ). Various properties and application of Ti- alloys 1. Alpha alloys- they have good strength, toughness, creep resistance and is weldable also. Example =Ti-5Al-2.5Sn It is used in cryogenic applications because it retains ductility and fracture toughness down to cryogenic temp. 2. Near alpha alloys-example Ti-6Al-2Sn-4Zr-2Mo-0.25Si It is mostly used for high temp applications (540 C) 3. Alpha- beta alloys- have the best balance of mechanical properties and are the most widely used. In this alloy Aluminium stabilizes the phase and vanadium stabilizes the phase at room temp.The - alloy Ti-6Al-4V is by far and away the most utilized alloy (60%) in the aerospace industry. The alloy can be heat treated to moderate to high strengths levels. However its weldability is poor .about 80-90% of this alloy is used for making air frames. Hydrogen is always minimized because it causes H2 embrittlement by precipitating hydrides, so max. limit allowed is 0.015%.

4. Beta alloys-it has better formability than near and - alloy. Its biggest drawback is that it has higher density and reduced ductility on heat treatment to peak strength levels and some have limited weldability. Example: Ti-10V-2Fe-3Al used for air frames and Ti-15V-3Al-3Cr used for making springs because they have high tensile strength i.e. up to 200 ksi

Ti also possesses the following characteristics:- It has a great affinity for interstitial gases such as oxygen and nitrogen at elevated temperatures. Hence controlling these factors lead to increase in cost of production. - It has a high reactivity with refractory lines vacuum induction furnaces; hence it is made by consumable vacuum arc melting. - It is very difficult to machine because of its high reactivity, low thermal conductivity, relative low modulus, and high strength at elevated temp. In machining use slow speed, maintain high feed rates, use flood cooling, maintain sharp tools, and use rigid setups. Microstructure of Ti-6-4 Microstructure depends on whether the thermo-mechanical treatment is done above or below the transus temp . Lamellar structure are a result of cooling from the phase field in which the phase nucleates at prior grain boundary and then grows in to grains. If cooling rate is fairly fast, then the structure will be fine (widmanstatten or basketweave) whereas if it is slow, it will be coarse (colony structure). Lamellar structure offer the highest fracture toughness and lowest fatigue crack growth rates. On the other hand equiaxed are a result of recrystallisation process and therefore require previous cold work to initiate recrystallisation. Equiaxed structure produces highest strength and ductility and best fatigue strength.

H/T of Ti-6-4 1. Mill annealing- it is the most common H/T . it produces a tensile strength approx. 130 ksi, good fatigue properties , moderate fracture toughness (k=60ksi) and reasonable fatigue crack growth rate. 2. Recrystallisation annealing- it is done for parts which require increased damage tolerance. The fracture toughness increases from 60 to 70 ksiin. and slows fatigue crack growth. But it slightly lowers strength and fatigue properties. 3. Bta annealing(BA)- it is done where it is important to maximize the fracture toughness( k 80 ksiin.) and minimize fatigue crack growth rate. However the fatigue strength reduces.BA gives transformed structure and equiaxed - microstructure . Equiaxed has better fatigue life and ductility than transformed beta structure. 4. Solution treatment and Aging (STA)- it provides max strength but full hardenability is limited to 1 inch thick or less. It is done for mechanical fasteners with a min. tensile strength of 160 ksi .It is not done for structural components because of limited hardenabilty and warping problems during H/T. During aging, the unstable retained beta transforms in to fine alpha phase which increases the strength. Oxygen plays a very imp. role in strengthening in Ti-6-4 but it must be kept to lower limit in order to develop high fracture toughness. Commercial grade of Ti-64 has 0.16 to 0.18 % O2 while the Extra Low Interstitial grade has 0.10 to 0.13% O2. Due to O2 the beta transus temp is also influenced:For commercial grade it becomes 1010Cto10120C For ELI grade it becomes 960C to 982C

Room temp properties of Commercial Vs ELI grade Ti-6-4


160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Y.S (ksi) UTS(ksi) Elongation(ksi) Reduction in Area Fracture (ksi) toughness(ksiin.) Commerial grade ELI

MELTIN G AND PRIMARY FABRCATION Ti can be extracted from Rutile (TiO2) ore by chemical reduction, using either the Kroll`s p/c which uses Mg, or by the Hunter p/c , which uses Na. Tickle (TiCl4) is first produced by reacting TiO2 with coke and chlorine. Generation of TiO4 allows purification of the Ti by distillation. The ion the Kroll p/c, TiCl4 is reacted with Mg to form a porous mass 0f Ti called sponge TiO2 +2Cl2 +C = TiCl4 +CO2 TiCl4 +2Mg = Ti + 2MgCl2 Due to their high reactivity with refractory lined vacuum induction f/c, Ti alloys are made by consumable vacuum arc melting/ vacuum arc remelting (VAR). VAR is used to remove H2 and other volatile s and to reduce alloy segregation. An electrode is made by blending small dia.(0.4 in.) sponge particles with master alloy granules of same size. Master alloy is pre- prepared mix that contains the alloying at much higher conc. than the final alloy composition, which helps to reduce segregation and achieve correct alloy chemistry. The blended sponge and the

master alloy are pressed together in to briquettes and then welded together to form the electrode (size= 14ft long and 2ft dia.). Minimization of residual elements that could form refractory or high density inclusions is imp. in both sponge and electrode fabrication p/c. During melting, the electrode is anode and the water cooled copper crucible is cathode i.e the Ti electrode is consumably arc re-melted in a water cooled copper crucible in a vacuum arc melt f/c. The ingot produced by this p/c becomes starting electrode for additional VAR. The ingot is then VAR once or twice more re-melted using a plasma or electron beam in a cold hearth f/c which helps to reduce segregations. The ingot ranges from 26 to 36 inches in dia. and weighs about 3600 to 6750 Kg. DEFECTS IN INGOTS Most of the defects are caused by segregation of alloying elements. Low density inclusions (LDI), hard alpha, alpha inclusions results from high local concentrations of nitrogen in the original sponge that stabilizes the alpha phase and creates local hard spots with low ductility usually associated with crack that forms during TMT. These defects are hard brittle inclusions containing as much as 10wt% nitrogen in form of TiN. Hard alpha is an incipient crack that grows under stress, which adversely affects the fatigue strength. High density inclusions (HDI) results from contamination during electrode preparation which leads to fatigue cracking Thanks Vinay Sharma