Metalysis successfully produces titanium powder directly from ores

Cambridge spin-out Metalysis has developed an innovative process that can transform natural rutile sands directly into titanium metal powder in a single step. Rutile is a naturally occurring titanium ore present in beach sands.

The Metalysis process, developed at the company’s plant in Yorkshire, has successfully carried out a series of production runs using rutile feedstock and is now able to produce a range of titanium powders. The breakthrough in the use of rutile ore as the feedstock is part of the decade-long development of a process to provide highly-efficient, cost effective and transformational specialist metals production.

Metalysis has spent a significant period of time and resource developing a process that can produce titanium powder from a relatively inexpensive feedstock in a single step.

Guppy Dhariwal

Metalysis’ use of rutile ore as a feedstock is a low cost and environmentally benign method of titanium powder production. The new rutile derived titanium powder, can be used in a variety of new applications to satisfy the latent demand for a low cost, light weight, high strength and corrosion resistant metal.

In addition to titanium, tantalum and specialist metals (including rare earths), a wide range of innovative ‘designer’ alloys can be produced on a commercial scale with a significantly reduced environmental impact. The process is also suitable for the recycling of strategic metals.

The nature of the Metalysis process means that it can produce alloys that would not be cost effective by traditional processes. It is entirely solid-state; therefore metals with significantly different densities or melting points can be alloyed. These innovative alloys can be tailored to have the desired properties for applications within a variety of industries including automotive, marine, electronics, clean energy and aerospace.

Metalysis, originally a spin-out from the Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy, has developed an extensive global patent portfolio and substantial ‘know-how’. The portfolio currently comprises over 24 live patent families providing worldwide coverage for the technology.

Guppy Dhariwal, CEO of Metalysis, said: “Metalysis has spent a significant period of time and resource developing a process that can produce titanium powder from a relatively inexpensive feedstock in a single step. We now expect that our process will have a transformational effect on the metals industry through the production of titanium on a greater scale, at a lower cost and in an environmentally benign manner.”

Photo credit: Plaza Consistorial en Cartagena by Mugor via Flickr

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