Powder metallurgy techniques are cost-effective and offer a huge advantage in material savings. Using these methods the low-cost locally produced titanium, its alloys and composites can be converted into finished and semi-finished products.
Powder metallurgy is the process of blending fine powdered metals, pressing them into a desired shape (compacting), and then heating the compressed material in a controlled atmosphere to bond the metal particles (sintering). Components can be made to final dimensions or very close to these with little or no subsequent machining operations required.
Using metal powders to produce parts using this technique is not uncommon. But doing so using titanium makes everything much more complex.
The CSIR’s powder metallurgy technologies team already has the ability and the facilities to produce small titanium components
using press and sintering as well as injection moulding techniques. Now the team plans to expand into the development of technologies to make larger shapes, such as mill products. This will be an essential building block for establishing a competitive titanium industry in South Africa.
ScienceScope article in pdf: Titanium powder metallurgy