Titanium is naturally a high strength, low-density element with excellent corrosion resistance. It is quite ductile and hard, has a high melting point, and has relatively low electrical and thermal conductivity. Titanium forgings produce strong, low-density parts similar to carbon steel forgings or stainless steel forgings, but about 40% lighter. Titanium forgings offer high resistance to corrosion by salt water, along with a broad range of acids, alkalis, natural waters and industrial chemicals.
Titanium forgings come in a variety of shapes, such as rings, cylinders, bars, blocks, discs, sleeves, hubs, flanges, as well as any number of more complex custom shapes for particular applications. Titanium forgings work effectively in environments reaching up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Because of their excellent strength-to-weight ratio, titanium alloy forgings are used in applications such as engine components and structural components for aircraft, ship components, and valves and fittings for the transportation and chemical industries, where corrosion resistance, optimal strength and low weight are needed.
The titanium forging process gives the metal a sophisticated structure that enhances its strength. Most often titanium forgings are created by heating a preformed piece of titanium or titanium alloy and then using a large forging hammer or press that forces the workpiece to take the shape of the die(s). Unlike in casting, the metal is not melted or poured; instead the forging process uses intense pressure to cause the metal to flow into the desired shape.
The process often proceeds gradually through numerous strikes, requiring an operator to move the workpiece through a series of impression cavities. A variety of equipment can be used to forge titanium. Drop forge equipment utilizes a massive drop-hammer that falls from above on the workpiece as it lies on a stationary anvil. In counterblow machines, both the hammer and the anvil move horizontally to impact the workpiece that is held between them.
Forging presses use mechanical or hydraulic force to apply continuous pressure over the course of a number of seconds; the stroke time is much slower than in drop forging, but in most cases only requires one pressing per part. Whatever the particular forging method, titanium forgings make light-weight, high-integrity components capable of performing well even in harsh environments.