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New thermochemical treatment of Titanium parts improving their wear resistant characteristics and their life time

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Inexpensive titanium parts for lifetime applications

Titanium is probably one of the "wonder" metals of the century. From subterranean ocean piping to the bicycle, titanium plays a part in some fashion or other. While it has wide spread usage, it suffers two large drawbacks that the current technology aims to eliminate.

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Titanium possesses a wide range of qualities that perhaps distinguish it from other metals. Its excellent performance in extreme temperatures, its wide range of resistance factors including chlorines, hydroxides, hydrocarbons and acids and a host of other attractive properties including its strength and durability, make it well sought after. Titanium has two drawbacks; it's expensive to manufacture as most of its excellent qualities are derived from alloys, and in its pure form, it does not possess the properties of strength so much in demand. Consequently the TINITRON project developed a means by which pure titanium could be processed to improve the wear resistance factors at the lowest cost possible. A thermo-chemical process based on nitrogen diffusion was the result. The process creates two separate layers, one a diffusion layer, the other a compound layer. This low pressurised process imparts greater durability and resistance values through the melding of these two layers and has the added value of having a minimised impact on the environment. In addition to the cheaper production costs (TINITRON is estimated to be 5-10 times cheaper than standard ionic surface treatments), the advantage this new treatment imparts is longer life expectancy that shows less wear and attrition than standard titanium parts over the same time period. Given these performances, it is no surprise that the aeronautical, automobile and even the medical industries are expressing interest in titanium products treated in this fashion. Of particular interest for the aeronautical industry is the potential, because the developers also managed to extract both the hydrogen and nitrogen atoms without encouraging metal fatigue. An aspect that may well be exploited by racing car industries is the increased capability of this new treatment to improve the wear and galling resistance properties with loaded parts. Furthermore, since the new method may significantly limit corrosion degradations it may also fit to biomedical rachis prostheses and lead to an extended lifetime of parts.

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