About 1,000 delegates from across the titanium industry heard an optimistic outlook from more than 100 experts on the titanium market, which was a record number at the International Titanium Association's 26th annual conference and exhibition, October 1-3, 2010. The overall tone confirmed that recovery for the titanium industry and its consuming markets, while perhaps slow, is on track and the worst of the global economic crisis is past.
Speakers on 22 panels addressed a broad array of topics including global demand and supply trends, economic trends, the changing role of China in the industry, the status of aerospace, military, medical and consumer markets, export and legal issues, supply chain management challenges, and the latest developments in materials, processing and manufacturing. Speaking within the materials and processing track, along with other aerospace panelists, was Solar Atmospheres president, Bob Hill. Hill's talk was entitled "Vacuum Heat Treating Titanium Alloys For Commercial Airframes."
From a materials' point of view, the Boeing 787 "Dreamliner" is one of the most revolutionary leaps in the history of aerospace manufacturing. By designing the 787 airframe with 50 percent of its weight as composites, it precluded the fact that more titanium and higher strength, near beta alloys, must be utilized. With 15 percent of the 787's airframe made from titanium, Hill reviewed the five main areas where the largest concentrations of titanium and its various alloys are used. The five main areas are the landing gear, floor structure, extrusions, nacelles, and other major structural components within the wing and tail of the aircraft. Hill concluded his remarks with examples of how existing titanium heat treating specifications need to be updated, which would ultimately enhance this exotic materials property. The talk, with over 200 in attendance, was very well received.