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Titanic materials designed for industrial impact

This article was published on 19 November 2013

Callaghan Innovation researchers have created advanced new materials based on the wonder metal titanium that have exciting commercial applications, and are designed to meet the needs of a broad range of sectors from biomedical implants to aerospace engineering and beyond.

Dr Ian Brown from Callaghan Innovation says industry-focused research carried out in support of a national MBIE funded titanium research platform, the New Zealand Titanium Technologies Platform’(TiTeNZ), has led to the creation of new titanium materials with properties that promise to add significant value to high value exports in a range of key sectors.

“In Callaghan Innovation’s role as a key research innovator in the Titanium Technologies NZ platform, our researchers have made major advances in the creation of titanium alloy structures possessing unique properties catering to businesses in the biomedical, engineering, construction, marine and other fields.”

Dr Brown says the research is part of the ‘New Zealand Titanium Technologies Platform’ (TiTeNZ), under which Callaghan Innovation has been partnering with other New Zealand research providers with the vision of developing a pan-industry manufacturing base for high value export products.

He says the team, working closely with the Titanium Industry Development Association, has made significant advances in the processing of titanium powder to create materials with highly controlled porosity, greatly improving the ability to control the qualities of titanium alloys in order to produce lightweight, durable structures ideal for advanced engineering applications.

New materials range from those that mimic natural bone-like structures for biomedical implant design, created using foam templating methods, to custom structures created using 3D laser printing methods, with a range of advanced engineering applications.

Elements of the design, fabrication and properties of these new materials will be presented by Callaghan Innovation researchers at an International Titanium MateriaIs conference in Hamilton in the first week of December.

Dr Brown says Callaghan Innovation is in presently in discussions with a number of potential partners for uptake of the new materials, which have been developed so their properties and performance can be altered according to particular customer need.