Saturday 23 March 2013

Titanium valves: the link between the petrochemical and motorsports industries

Did you know that titanium valves are used both in petrochemical applications as well as in motorsports and aviation?  Valves made of titanium are ideal for certain acid applications in petrochemical processes; titanium is inert in some acid environments and the use of titanium valves ensures that the material doesn't react to the medium flowing through the valve.

Valve in titanium alloy
Valve made of titanium for nitric acid application
Weight is not an issue in the petrochemical industry, though titanium valves tend to weigh around half the weight of their stainless steel counterparts.  Weight, on the other hand, is a key issue in both motorsports as well as aviaion, though reaction to acid content isn't a concern here.  Titanium is great for motorsports, since less weight means more flexibility for manufacturers.  This, too, is true in aviation, with an added bonus: titanium has a very high tensile strength compared to stainless steels, and it also very brittle.  Fissures are therefore easier to detect before they become a serious problem.

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