Thermal Processing Technology Center
The element titanium, found in the earth' crust and in meteorites, is a silvery-white substance known for its properties of low density, good strength, and high resistance to corrosion. In powder form, titanium is as strong as steel but is only 45 percent of the weight of steel, making it ideal for the manufacture of items such as eyeglass frames, medical implants, and sports equipment.
Reducing the costs of titanium powder metallurgy processing is just one of the projects currently being undertaken by scientists working at IIT' Thermal Processing Technology Center (TPTC), an industry/university collaborative research facility performing materials’ processing and alloy development relevant to manufacturing. Other projects include the thermal processing of steels and aluminum alloys aimed at reducing energy usage and the effects of welding on new types of steel.
"Research is performed for member companies on topics of direct relevance to their business," says Philip Nash, professor of materials engineering and TPTC director. "The center also performs research on functional materials such as carbon nanotubes and Heusler alloys, which have applications in shape memory actuators and for spintronics devices"” An actuator is a device that produces mechanical motion by converting various forms of energy into rotational or linear mechanical energy. Spintronics, or magnetoelectronics, has applications in hard drive storage, random access memory, and other areas.
The center is equipped with state-of-the-art research facilities, including a Gleeble 3500 digitally controlled thermomechanical test machine and extensive software resources for performing process simulations such as heat treating, forging, and casting.