Casting titanium

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Casting titanium is not so simple but it can be done. Refractory materials employed in casting like silica, magnesia, or alumina are attacked by titanium with great severity. Powder metallurgy has met with similar difficulties. Simple sand casting will not work. Induction skull melting furnaces with water cooled copper crucibles are used to melt and pour titanium. The necessary vacuum will be free on the Moon. The fact is that many cast titanium products are now available for about the same price as stainless steel. We must duplicate this achievement on the Moon even if it means upporting expensive furnaces and mold materials. Investment casting also called “lost wax” casting of titanium is done commercially. This requires ceramic molds made of yttria, zirconia and thoria with inorganic binders like silica and various organic binders and additives. We will need carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen to make organics and these will be costly to produce on the Moon but even more expensive to import. Yttria and thoria could eventually be extracted from KREEP and there are zircons in the regolith. Silica is plentiful enough.

links

http://www.ramcast.com/

http://www.keytometals.com/article124.htm

http://www.tisquaredtech.com/3/casting_titanium.html