Characterisation of a Titanium precursor salt and study of some of the treatment steps used for the extraction process

Mutava, Tapiwa David
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The advancement of a material and its usage, particularly for civilian applications, are dependent primarily on cost considerations regardless of the superior properties that the material might possess. Titanium is a material with superior properties which could make a significant impact on civilian life if used on a much larger scale. However, the use of this metal is up to this day limited to highly specialized applications, those being predominantly military owing to its very high cost. The high cost is a direct result of the very expensive commercial method of extraction which has been in existence for more than sixty years now since its inception. Efforts are now made to formulate new methods of extracting titanium from its ores which will be simpler, more economic and therefore more affordable for ordinary applications. This work involved the development and elaboration of a novel titanium extraction method from its ores, particularly ilmenite. A novel titanium complex salt, herein called the precursor, was used for all the work that is presented. It was fully characterised using a wide range of techniques to ascertain its chemical and physical properties. Further to that, the precursor was taken through various pyrometallurgical steps which saw its thermal decomposition and final reduction to titanium metal. The emphasis was on making the process simple and much cheaper.