PREP Refractory Titanium Alloy Powder

TiAl is a new class of aerospace alloys that offers an excellent strength-to-weight ratio as well as high chemical and thermal stability. Gamma titanium aluminide alloy has excellent mechanical properties as well as oxidation and corrosion resistance at elevated temperatures (over 600 degrees Celsius). TiAl is the latest class of materials competing with Nickel superalloys for the fabrication of aircraft engine parts such as low-pressure turbine.


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Table of Contents

Overview of PREP Refractory Titanium Alloy Powder

PREP (Plasma Rotating Electrode Process) alloy is a high-performance refractory titanium alloy powder designed for additive manufacturing of components needing excellent mechanical properties at extreme temperatures.

This article provides a comprehensive guide to PREP titanium alloy powder covering composition, properties, print parameters, applications, specifications, suppliers, handling, inspection, comparisons, pros and cons, and FAQs. Quantitative information is presented in easy-to-reference tables.

Composition of PREP Titanium Alloy Powder

PREP alloy has a complex composition containing various solute elements:

Element Weight % Purpose
Titanium Balance Principal matrix element
Aluminum 5 – 7 Solid solution strengthener
Tin 1 – 3 Solid solution strengthener
Zirconium 0.5 – 2 Grain structure control
Molybdenum 1 – 3 Solid solution strengthener
Silicon 0.5 – 1.5 Oxidation resistance
Niobium 1 – 3 Carbide former
Tantalum 1 – 3 Carbide former

Trace amounts of boron and carbon are also added for grain boundary strengthening.

Properties of PREP Titanium Alloy Powder

PREP alloy exhibits an exceptional combination of properties:

Property Description
High strength Excellent tensile and creep strength up to 700°C
Fatigue resistance High fatigue life at elevated temperatures
Fracture toughness Up to 100 MPa-√m
Oxidation resistance Forms protective oxide scale
Thermal stability Microstructural stability after prolonged exposures
Damage tolerance Resistant to crack growth
Biocompatibility Non-toxic and non-allergenic

The properties enable lightweight components for demanding applications.

AM Print Parameters for PREP Titanium Alloy Powder

Typical AM process parameters include:

Parameter Typical Value Purpose
Layer height 30-50 μm Resolution versus build speed
Laser power 150-500 W Sufficient melting without evaporation
Scan speed 750-1500 mm/s Density versus production rate
Hatch spacing 80-120 μm Mechanical properties
Hot isostatic pressing 900°C, 100 MPa, 3 hrs Eliminate internal voids

Parameters optimized for density, microstructure, build rate and post-processing requirements.

PREP Refractory Titanium Alloy Powder

Applications of 3D Printed PREP Titanium Parts

PREP alloy components serve critical applications including:

Industry Components
Aerospace Turbine blades, compressor parts, mounts
Automotive Connecting rods, valves, turbocharger wheels
Medical Orthopedic implants, surgical tools
Chemical Pumps, valves, reaction vessels
Power generation Hot gas path components

Benefits over wrought equivalents include complex geometries and accelerated development.

Specifications of PREP Titanium Powder for AM

PREP alloy powder must meet strict specifications:

Parameter Specification
Particle size range 15-45 μm typical
Particle shape Spherical morphology
Apparent density >2.5 g/cc
Tap density >4.5 g/cc
Hall flow rate >35 sec for 50 g
Purity >99.95%
Oxygen content <1000 ppm

Custom size distributions and controlled oxygen levels available.

Suppliers of PREP Titanium Alloy Powder

PREP alloy powder is supplied by:

Supplier Location
Praxair USA
AP&C Canada
Tekna Canada
Metalysis UK
LPW Technology UK
EOS Germany

Prices range from $250/kg to $450/kg based on quality, size distribution and order volume.

Handling and Storage of PREP Titanium Powder

As a reactive material, careful handling of PREP alloy powder is essential:

  • Store sealed containers under inert gas like argon
  • Prevent exposure to air and moisture during handling
  • Use properly grounded equipment
  • Avoid dust accumulation to minimize explosion risk
  • Local exhaust ventilation recommended
  • Wear appropriate PPE and avoid inhalation

Proper techniques and controls prevent powder oxidation.

Inspection and Testing of PREP Titanium Powder

PREP alloy powder batches are validated using:

Method Parameters Tested
Sieve analysis Particle size distribution
SEM imaging Particle morphology
EDX Chemistry/composition
XRD Phases present
Pycnometry Density
Hall flow rate Powder flowability

Testing per ASTM standards ensures batch-to-batch consistency.

Comparing PREP Alloy to Alternative Titanium Powders

PREP alloy compares to other titanium materials as:

Alloy Strength Oxidation Resistance Cost Printability
PREP Excellent Excellent High Good
Ti64 Good Good Medium Fair
Ti6242 Excellent Good High Fair
CP-Ti Low Excellent Low Excellent

PREP provides the best all-round properties but at higher cost than workhorse alloys like Ti64.

Pros and Cons of PREP Titanium Powder for AM

Pros Cons
Outstanding high temperature strength Expensive compared to Ti64 and CP-Ti
Excellent thermomechanical fatigue resistance Higher density than other titanium alloys
Complex geometries feasible Controlled atmosphere handling mandatory
Lower anisotropy than Ti64 and CP-Ti Processing very technique sensitive
Matching properties to PREP wrought forms Limited suppliers and alloy variants

PREP enables exceptional performance additive manufacturing but requires very rigorous control of process conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions about PREP Titanium Alloy Powder

Q: What is PREP titanium alloy used for in AM?

A: PREP alloy is used to 3D print lightweight aerospace and automotive components needing extremely high mechanical properties at temperatures up to 700°C.

Q: What particle size is recommended for printing PREP titanium alloy?

A: A powder size range of 15-45 microns provides a good balance of flowability, high resolution, and dense printed parts.

Q: Does PREP titanium require hot isostatic pressing after AM?

A: HIP is recommended to eliminate internal voids, maximize fatigue resistance and achieve full density. It may not be mandatory for non-critical applications.

Q: What material has properties closest to PREP titanium alloy?

A: Ti-6Al-4V has comparable density and good high temperature strength, but lower oxidation resistance compared to PREP alloys.

Q: What benefits does PREP alloy offer over Ti-6Al-4V in AM?

A: Key advantages are higher tensile and fatigue strength up to 700°C along with significantly better creep and thermo-mechanical fatigue resistance.

Q: What precision can be obtained with PREP titanium printed parts?

A: After post-processing, printed PREP components can achieve dimensional tolerances and surface finish comparable to CNC machined titanium parts.

Q: What defects can occur when printing PREP titanium alloy?

A: Potential defects are cracking, distortion, porosity, incomplete fusion, and surface roughness. Most can be minimized through optimized parameters.

Q: Can support structures be easily removed from PREP titanium AM parts?

A: Properly designed minimal supports are readily detachable after printing due to excellent mechanical properties of PREP alloys.

Q: What type of post-processing is typically done on PREP titanium components?

A: Hot isostatic pressing, heat treatment, abrasive flow machining, CNC machining, and electropolishing are commonly used post-processes.

Q: What is the key difference between Ti-6Al-4V Grade 5 and Grade 23?

A: Grade 5 has higher oxygen content for better powder flowability while Grade 23 has lower oxygen for superior fracture toughness and fatigue resistance.

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