Titanium manufacturing generates a significant amount of scrap and usually only 30% of the titanium used ends up in the finished product resulting in a lot of titanium scrap. This is titanium that can be used for titanium recycling.
Titanium dioxide is actually used in other recycling processes to convert unrecoverable plastic and other organic compounds to inert components. In addition, over 50% of the titanium feedstock for ingot production comes from titanium recycling.
The workhorse of the recycling industry is titanium scrap metal which is generated during the melting, forging, casting, and fabrication of titanium components. Titanium scrap metal is primarily used as an alternative to titanium sponge in the production of titanium ingot. Common forms of titanium scrap include turnings and bulk weldables (billet,bars, plate trimmings, billet, chips, etc.).
It is informally classified as “new scrap” when it comes from the production and fabrication of titanium components, and as “old scrap” when it is recycled from used components such as old aircraft parts, heat exchangers, submarine hulls or other titanium industry applications.
Titanium recycling consists in converting titanium scrap into titanium ingot with or without virgin metal by using either vacuum-arc-reduction or cold-hearth melting practices. Titanium suppliers and ingot producers in France, Germany, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States lead the recycling of titanium scrap. Numerous other companies are also involved in the generation, segregation, and processing of scrap for recycling.
In addition to that recycled by ingot producers, recycling of titanium involves titanium scrap consumed by the steel and nonferrous alloy industries.
In steelmaking, titanium is introduced as a ladle addition normally in the form of ferrotitanium because ferrotitanium has a lower melting point and has a higher density than scrap. Ferrotitanium is produced from titanium and steel scrap by induction melting.
In the nonferrous metals industry, recycling of titanium involves titanium scrap primary consumed to produce aluminum-titanium master alloys for the aluminum industry. When used in aluminum alloys, titanium improves casting and reduces cracking.