Titanium Forgings Shapes
Forgings refer to products manufactured by the process of shaping metal utilizing compressive forces. The compressive forces used are generally delivered via pressing, pounding, or squeezing under great pressure. Although there are many different kinds of forging processes available, they can be grouped into three main classes:
Forging produces pieces that are stronger than an equivalent cast or machined part. As the metal is shaped during the forging process, the internal grain deforms to follow the general shape of the part. This results in a grain that is continuous throughout the part, resulting in its high strength characteristics. Titanium forgings are broadly classified as either cold, warm or hot forgings, according to the temperature at which the processing is performed.
Iron and steel are nearly always hot forged, which prevents the work hardening that would result from cold forging. Work hardening increases the difficulty of performing secondary machining operations on the metal pieces. When work hardening is desired, other methods of hardening, most notably heat treating, may be applied to the piece. Alloys such as aluminum and titanium that are amenable to precipitation hardening can be hot forged, followed by hardening. Because of their high strength, forgings are almost always used where reliability and human safety are critical such as in the aerospace, automotive, ship building, oil drilling, engine and petrochemical industries.
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Titanium powder has long been used as an alloying additive for a variety of applications. Recently, technological advances in the production and use of titanium powder have opened doors into many fields including powder metallurgy, thermal spray, laser cladding, metal injection molding, and additive manufacturing.
AmeriTi Manufacturing produces titanium powder using the hydride-dehydride (HDH) process. This method uses hydrogen to make the titanium brittle enough to crush and perform initial sizing. Hydrogen is then removed under vacuum followed by final sizing to customer specifications. This process creates a final particle morphology described as blocky or angular.
AMC also has the capability to deoxidize titanium alloy powders. Titanium is extremely reactive with oxygen causing it to inevitably increase in oxygen throughout the powder manufacturing process. Our patented deoxidation process allows for possible oxygen levels below 1000 PPM, which is necessary for grades such as Ti 6Al-4V ELI. Deoxidation services are performed on AmeriTi produced titanium powder, but is also available as a toll processing service.
Using this process, AmeriTi is able to produce both commercially pure and alloyed titanium powder in a wide range of particle sizes. Screening and blending processes ensure accurate sizing to customer specifications. Advanced process controls and in-process testing allow for consistent particle size distributions and morphology from lot to lot.
Titanium is a transition metal with a white-silvery metallic appearance. Titanium material is a lustrous, strong metal that exhibits good resistance to atmospheric corrosion. The atomic number of titanium is 22 and it belongs to the d-block, period 4, group 4 of the periodic table. Pure titanium is insoluble in water but soluble in concentrated acids.
Titanium is the ninth most abundant metal available on earth’s crust; it is present in most igneous rocks and their sediments. Some of the minerals of titanium are illemenite, rutile, brookite, titanite and anatase. These minerals are primarily distributed in West Australia, Canada, Norway and Ukraine. It is low in toxicity, but the powder form of titanium is an explosion hazard.
The following are the application areas of titanium:
Pigments, additives and coatings
Aerospace and marine
Consumer and architecture
Nuclear waste storage
Bike frames aren’t made from pure titanium. Instead, they are made from a titanium alloy. The titanium used to build bicycle frames is typically alloyed with aluminum and vanadium. Varying levels of each element are used to change the physical properties of the finished alloy. Alloying titanium improves strength and durability and reduces the weight of the frame. Many framebuilders market their titanium tubing as ‘aerospace-grade’.
The most common type of tubing used to build titanium bicycles is called 3Al-2.5V. This is titanium that is alloyed with 3% aluminum and 2.5% vanadium. Another common titanium alloy is 6Al-4V. This is a harder alloy that is often found on higher-end bikes. Because it is harder to work with and more expensive, 6Al-4V is sometimes used to make smaller parts such as the head tube or dropouts.
Titanium frame tubes can be butted or straight gauge. Butted tubes are thinner in the middle and thicker on the ends. This reduces the weight of the tubes while maintaining strength. Some titanium frame manufactures don’t offer butted frames because butted titanium tubes are harder to work with. This makes it more difficult for the framebuilder to build the bike to your exact specifications. Also, titanium tubes are pretty light so the weight savings is minimal.
Titanium tubes are usually cold drawn into shape. These days, frame builders can also shape titanium bikes with a process called hydroforming. This process involves placing the frame tubes in a mold then injecting the mold with fluid at incredibly high pressures. The tubes form into the mold. Hydroforming can be used to fine-tune the tube shapes to optimize the frame for stiffness, weight, or aerodynamics. This can also help design frames with internal cable routing. Titanium frame tubes do not have to be round.
After the frame tubes are shaped, they are welded together. The most common type of welding used to bond titanium frames is TIG welding. Titanium is a notoriously difficult metal to weld well. The main reason is that titanium reacts with oxygen. It is also sensitive to contamination. Welding titanium is a labor-intensive process. To learn about the welding process, check out this interesting article.