Bengaluru: The indigenous Titanium Sponge Plant at Chavara in Kerala has been fully commissioned and has started commercial production required for space applications, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said on Monday.
ISRO took the initiative to set up a Titanium Sponge Plant (TSP) in the country to meet the requirements in strategic areas, says the space research body's website.
The annual requirement of titanium sponge for space programme is approximately 200-300 metric tonnes. ISRO's Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre has established a dedicated 500 MT per annum plant at M/s Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd (KMML), Chavara, Kollam district, it added.
The plant is set up to enhance the production capacity to 1,000 tonnes per annum in future, it said, adding that this is the only integrated plant in the world that undertakes all activities right from mining of Ti minerals to manufacturing of aerospace grade Ti sponge under one roof.
The plant has started commercial production of Titanium sponge required for space and defence applications, ISRO said.
With this, India has become the seventh country in the world producing Titanium sponge commercially.
Approximately 350 MT Ti sponge has been realised till date with nearly 70 per cent yield of aerospace grade (>99.7 per cent purity). Analysis of the results shows that the sponge produced is of superior quality, ISRO said.
Titanium (Ti) alloy products find extensive applications in aerospace and defence areas.
Properties like high strength to weight ratio and excellent corrosion resistance make Titanium alloys (like Ti6Al4V) useful for liquid propellant tanks for launch vehicles and satellites, gas bottle/liners, inter tank structures and interface rings for satellites.
Pointing out that realisation of Titanium alloy wrought products and fabrication of hardware are carried indigenously, ISRO said, however, the raw material for aerospace grade Titanium alloys with high purity Titanium sponge was being imported from countries like Russia, Japan and China despite the fact that India is endowed with the third largest reserve of Titanium bearing minerals.