AZoM conducted a series of interviews at the MS&T 07 trade exhibition in Detroit between September 17 and 18. Here's what one of the exhibitors had to say when asked about their latest developments, products and technologies.
Interviewee: Melissa Martinez, Research Metallurgist, ATI Wah Chang
Interviewer: Cameron Chai, AZoM
AZoM: Hi, it’s Cameron Chai here from AZoM.com, reporting from the MS&T Trade Show, and I’ve got here with me now Melissa Martinez from ATI Wah Chang and how’s the show going for you so far?
ATI Wah Chang: It’s going pretty well, Cameron. We’ve had a lot of people stopping by our booth and they’re pretty interested in our speciality materials.
AZoM: And what sort of speciality materials do you guys make?
ATI Wah Chang: We’re a speciality metals company, so we focus primarily on titanium, zirconium, hafnium, niobium, vanadium and tantalum alloys.
AZoM: It’s all fairly exotic type materials.
ATI Wah Chang: Oh, we prefer the term specialty metals. Exotic has a sort of pricey ring to it.
AZoM: Very good, okay, and I see you’ve got a new product here. ATI-425, a titanium alloy?
ATI Wah Chang: Correct. That’s an alloy that was developed in the last 10, 15 years or so and we’re starting now to turn it into some applications alloys, application bases. So what it is, is it’s four two and a half. It’s four aluminium, two and a half vanadium, 1.5% iron and 0.2% oxygen. And what this is, is it’s a titanium alloy that has properties that are in between three two and a half titanium, and titanium six four, which are your two primary workhorse titanium alloys. So it’s got properties that are very similar to six four which is the stronger of the two, but it’s a lot more formable. It’s cold workable. And that allows us to get a lot of shapes and a lot of different processes, and a little bit less expensively than you could do with a six four alloy.
AZoM: So it’s all very formable and workable?
ATI Wah Chang: It is cold workable, which is a big advantage. If you want to form six four, you need to heat it up and then you can roll it out or make your tube, different things like that. And with our alloy, you can do it cold.
AZoM: So that makes it cheaper to process?
ATI Wah Chang: It is a little bit less expensive to process that way, yes.
AZoM: Very good. And I see you’ve got an interesting looking sample here. Like you can’t see it here, but there’s a … I’ve got a chunk of this ATI-425 with a bullet sticking out of it. Can you tell me about this?
ATI Wah Chang: Well the original application for this 425 alloy was actually for ballistic armour plate. And so what you’re looking at here is a one inch thick plate of four two and a half that we’ve shot some different calibre rounds through. So the armed forces is looking at the material for add on plate for different armour applications.
AZoM: Sounds exciting. Could be lots of business for that coming up in the near future, hopefully not too many though.
ATI Wah Chang: Absolutely, yeah, hopefully not too many. But anything we can do to help save people’s lives is also is an advantage. But four two and a half is actually much broader than just ballistic plate. We use it for aerospace hydraulic tubing. You can use it for sheet, tube, bar, lots of different materials that you can make out of it, and in fact, actually, some of our ATI four two and a half just went on the Phoenix Lander, the mission to Mars.
AZoM: So application not just based on land. You’re all over the place. It’s even more than a global material then.
ATI Wah Chang: Absolutely, yeah we’re going out of this world.
AZoM: Excellent. And so, is there anything else that you’ve got that’s fairly new?
ATI Wah Chang: Well we’re always working on new products and materials. Our latest is actually a megabond and what we have is an extrusion cladded tube. And what we do is we take titanium on the outer layer and zirconium on the inner layer. This is used primarily in urea plants. And the reason that they want that zirconium inner layer is because it provides superior corrosion resistance. So they’re running acids through these materials. In a urea plant they’re using urea, but other chemical plants are processing sulphuric acid and things that really are going to eat away a lot of your materials and so we’ve developed a pipe that’s got zirconium and titanium.
AZoM: And so what sort of materials would that replace then?
ATI Wah Chang: Well the reason this one has the two materials is because we were targeting urea plants and those were originally designed to have titanium heat exchangers and titanium piping and so we wanted to make sure that they could directly substitute. They now want zirconium because it has superior corrosion resistance which means that they’re not going to be replacing their pipes quite as often. But they needed the titanium still on the X here so that they could directly replace and weld to the heads and things that they already had in existence.
AZoM: So thermal expansion’s not a problem for those types of materials?
ATI Wah Chang: With the zirconium and titanium together, no, it’s not a problem. They directly bond. You have a metallographic bond there, right at the interface, that’s developed during the extrusion process.
AZoM: Very good. Alright then. It sounds like you’ve got lots of exciting things on the horizon there, and things that are going through right now.
ATI Wah Chang: We do. We’re always trying to develop something new.
AZoM: Very good. Alright then Melissa, thanks very much for spending a few minutes with AZoM and best of luck for the rest of the trade show.
ATI Wah Chang: Thanks Cameron.