Kollam (Kerala), Feb 26(ANI): A titanium sponge plant, first of its kind in the country, will be inaugurated by Defence Minister A. K. Antony at Chavara near Kollam, Kerala, on Sunday.
A major step towards building self-reliance, the plant with a capacity to produce 500 tonnes per annum of premium quality titanium metal in the form of sponge, has been set up at Kerala Mines and Minerals Ltd (KMML), with the technology developed by Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), a laboratory under DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization).
Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Trivandrum, which is a major user of titanium sponge, has funded the plant.
Titanium and its alloys are strategically important material for aerospace, armour plating, naval ships, missiles, nuclear power plants and chemical industries.
They possess combination of high corrosion resistance, high strength-to-weight ratio, fatigue resistance, crack resistance and ability to withstand moderately high temperatures without creeping.
Titanium is extracted in the form of titanium sponge from its oxide minerals, however, the sponge production process is complex and cumbersome.
The technical know-how for the production of titanium sponge has so far been available with only a few countries such as Japan, USA, UK and China.
Commercial utilization of the DMRL technology for production of titanium sponge by the KMML enlists the country among nations possessing this technology.
DMRL has a strong programme for the development of aeronautical grade titanium alloys.
Technologies for such alloys have been transferred to Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited (MIDHANI), Hyderabad.
Mining and beneficiation of the ore and its conversion to pigment grade titanium dioxide on commercial scale has been practised by KMML.
Thus, the technology developed at DMRL bridges an important gap in the ore-to-product processing of titanium, viz. conversion of titanium tetrachloride to pure titanium sponge.
India is now poised to be one amongst the select group of nations having the technology for industrial scale production of this wonder metal titanium. (ANI)