Material Comparison of Titanium and Steel

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Material Comparison of Titanium and Steel

Titanium offers a number of other benefits, but there are also some challenges when it comes to machining titanium. Why is it better than steel? This article will answer these questions, covering the properties of grade 5 titanium. We will also look at the challenges of machining titanium alloys and provide quality results!

Challenges and solutions in titanium processing

Products made from titanium offer many benefits to users, but machining titanium effectively can be quite difficult. Just how difficult is it? How can manufacturers overcome the challenges involved? You’ll find out in this section.
Difficulties caused by material properties

1、 Low thermal conductivity

As an adiabatic, titanium faces challenges during processing due to its low thermal conductivity. Heat generated during machining tends to accumulate in the working area rather than dissipate effectively. This can lead to temperatures in excess of 1000°C. This heat buildup can lead to wear, chipping, tool dulling and even breakage.

This challenge becomes even more pronounced when machining parts that are prone to deformation, such as thin walls or rings. Achieving the required dimensional accuracy in such cases can be quite complex. When the tool pushes against the workpiece material, local deformations may exceed elastic limits. This can lead to plastic deformation as well as a significant increase in the strength and hardness of the material at the cutting point.

2. Work hardening 

Titanium alloys are characterized by a hexagonal close-packed (HCP) crystal structure, which limits their slip system and flexibility. As a result, they are susceptible to work hardening. This process increases the hardness and strength of the material through plastic deformation. It leads to accelerated tool wear, increased cutting forces and reduced machinability.

In addition, work hardening introduces residual stresses within the machined part. Residual stress is the internal pressure that remains after external loads are removed. As a result, it can lead to problems such as deformation, rupture and reduced fatigue life.

3. Chemical reactivity

Titanium alloys tend to react with nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen and carbon at high temperatures. This reaction can lead to surface oxidation and potential contamination of machined parts. The result can negatively affect the corrosion resistance, fatigue strength and biocompatibility of titanium alloys. In addition, titanium alloys tend to adhere to the tool surface and form chip tumors. As a result, it can lead to problems such as chipping, wear and tool failure.

Machining Strategies for Optimal Results

To meet the growing demand for titanium, machinists are actively devising innovative ways to enhance the metal’s machinability. Here are some practical tips for obtaining optimum results:

1. Use cutting tools with durable materials and geometries
2. Keeping the cutting edge sharp
3. Cutting with large tip radii or chamfers
4. Optimize feed and cutting speeds
5. Ensure consistent, aggressive, deep cuts
6. Utilizing high-pressure cooling systems

Titanium and its alloys offer a variety of advantages that make them useful in many products.
While titanium offers great advantages, it also presents many challenges during processing. Therefore, you must work with the best manufacturing partners to get the best results.

Contact us today and let’s discuss your project further.