Titanium is abundant in the earth’s crust, ranking ninth in content, which is far higher than copper, zinc, tin and other common metals. Titanium is found in many rocks, especially in sand and clay. In 1948, DuPont produced sponge titanium by magnesium method, which marked the beginning of industrial production of sponge titanium.
Titanium alloys are widely used in various fields due to their high specific strength, good corrosion resistance, and high heat resistance. Titanium alloys can be divided into heat resistant alloys, high strength alloys, corrosion resistant alloys, low-temperature alloys, and special functional alloys. Although titanium and its alloys have not been used for a long time, they have been honored for their excellent performance. It is light, strong and heat resistant, especially suitable for the manufacture of aircraft and various spacecraft. At present, about three-fourths of the titanium and titanium alloy produced in the world are used in the aerospace industry.
Titanium alloy is mainly used in aircraft and engine manufacturing materials, such as forged titanium fan, compressor disc, and blade, engine cover, an exhaust device, and other parts, as well as structural frame parts such as aircraft girder frame. The high specific strength, corrosion resistance and low-temperature resistance of titanium alloys are used to manufacture various pressure vessels, fuel tanks, fasteners, instrument straps, frames and rocket casings on spacecraft. Besides, spacecraft Sputnik, the lunar module, manned spacecraft, and the space shuttle also use titanium alloy plate welding parts.
Since the 1960s, the use of titanium alloy moved from the rear fuselage to the middle fuselage, partially replacing the structural steel to manufacture important bearing components such as the frame, beam and flap slide rail. Since the 1970s, civil aircraft began to use a large number of titanium alloys, such as Boeing 747 passenger aircraft with titanium amount of more than 3640 kg accounted for 28% of the aircraft weight. With the development of processing technology, a large number of titanium alloys are also used in rockets, artificial satellites, and spaceships.
The results show that the impurity elements in metal materials can significantly reduce the plasticity and fracture toughness, accelerate the internal crack growth rate and deteriorate other mechanical properties while improving the material strength. According to the requirement of damage-tolerance criterion for the structural design of the new generation aircraft, the composition design optimization of Ti-6Al-4V titanium alloy used in large quantities in structural manufacturing was carried out in the United States. Ti-6Al-4V ELI titanium alloy with low impurity content was developed, and the main impurity interstitial element O content was controlled within 0.13% and C content was controlled within 0.08%. While the tensile strength of the material is reduced slightly, the fracture toughness of the material is improved greatly, thus the crack growth rate is reduced.
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