Low carbon titanium developer IperionX has won the US Department of Defence’s National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Grand Challenge for titanium recycling.

The AFRL Grand Challenge involved selecting the most commercially promising technology for producing titanium metal powders from scrap titanium and rejuvenating out-of-spec titanium powders for use in additive manufacturing.

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is a critical technology for the U.S. Air Force to manufacture novel and complex geometry titanium alloy parts – including for aerospace and hypersonic missile applications.

IperionX (ASX:IPX) says winning the prestigious AFRL Grand Challenge validates the commercial and technical superiority of its patented technologies to produce circular, low-carbon and lower-cost titanium metal powders.

Prize is validation and a $500,000 contract

The winner of the Grand Challenge is eligible for a contract award up to $500,000 across four phases:

  • Phase 1 ($125,000): White paper submission and pitch day;
  • Phase 2 ($125,000): Generation of a precursor titanium feedstock;
  • Phase 3 ($225,000): Titanium powder production; and
  • Phase 4 ($25,000): Build, test, and analyze cost savings for the overall concept.

IperionX has successfully completed the requirements for Phase 1, and is currently undertaking Phases 2 to 4 at its operational titanium pilot facility in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“Winning the Grand Challenge is an outstanding endorsement of IperionX’s patented titanium technologies,” CEO Anastasios Arima says.

“Our leading technologies can efficiently recycle titanium scrap metal and metal powders at lower cost than existing processes, and we look forward to working closely with NSIN, AFRL and other Department of Defense agencies to qualify and rapidly deploy the use of circular titanium metal across key defense platforms.”

Low cost and low carbon titanium

The U.S. Air Force and U.S. Department of Defense are accelerating the use of additive manufacturing to reduce long lead cycle times and to produce large volumes of complex parts for advanced weapons systems.

Only 20%-40% of titanium powder used in additive manufacturing ends up in fabricated parts, and these titanium powders are typically reused only a limited number of times before the quality is compromised by elevated contaminant levels or inferior powder morphology.

If they are out-of-specification, the probability of defects increases and jeopardizes the structural integrity of additively manufactured components.

Titanium metal produced by the current “Kroll Process” is high carbon, energy intensive and expensive – but demand is growing for low carbon, low-cost titanium from traceable, recycled sources.

IperionX’s patented technologies offer a pathway to significantly lower cost, and lower carbon, titanium metal powders for titanium components in these industries, and uniquely position the company to upcycle a wide variety of low-grade, high oxygen content titanium scrap which has historically been downcycled to lower value markets.




This article was developed in collaboration with IperionX Limited, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.