Washington, May 21 : Making bullet-proof military vehicles may become about 50 per cent cheaper in the future, with a new process of making titanium parts at low costs being developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Experts associated with the project have revealed that they are working on a process that may reduce the amount of energy required and the cost to make titanium parts from powders by up to 50 per cent.
They say that once ready, the process would make it feasible to use titanium alloys for brake rotors, artificial joint replacements, and armour for military vehicles. We recently exhibited the new low-cost titanium alloy door made by ORNL for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, which is a next-generation combat vehicle," said Bill Peter, a researcher in ORNL's Materials Science and Technology Division.
"By using a titanium alloy for the door, BAE Systems was able to reduce the weight of its vehicle yet at the same time decrease the threat of armour-piercing rounds," he added.
He further said that the lightweight titanium alloy would also improve the operation of the door as well as the vehicle's mobility, and thereby make it more useful for the military.
Peter describes the new approach as the non-melt processing, which which includes roll compaction for directly fabricating sheets from powder, press and sinter techniques to produce net shape components and extrusion.
He says that his team's approach offers many advantages over traditional melt processing.
"Instead of using conventional melt processing to produce products from titanium powder, with the new method the powders remain in their solid form during the entire procedure," Peter said.
"This saves a tremendous amount of energy required for processing, greatly reduces the amount of scrap and allows for new alloys and engineered composites," he added.
He also expressed hope that lightweight corrosion-resistant titanium alloys would find applications in many different products in the future.