Vanadium in non-ferrous metals


Since the late 1980s, vanadium consumption in non-steel alloys has gradually declined. There have not been strong signs of recovery with improving economic conditions as in the steel industry. As new technologies continue to be developed, there is often a requirement to develop new alloys to meet the increasing demand for performance. Vanadium alloys have demonstrated many important properties in their applications and remain an excellent metallic material. The main sectors of use for vanadium-containing alloys are the aerospace and nuclear industries. Vanadium consumption in non-ferrous alloys is less than 10% of world vanadium consumption. Titanium Alloys According to USBM in the USA, over 90% of the vanadium in non-steel alloys is used to produce non-ferrous and magnetic alloys, with titanium alloys accounting for the vast majority. Vanadium in titanium alloys (with an addition of 1% V) can be used as a reinforcing agent and stabilizer. When 4% V is added to titanium alloys, the alloys have good ductility and formability. In the aerospace industry, there is no other alternative material to titanium alloy. In titanium alloys, the two most important alloys are Ti-6Al-4V (with 4% V) and Ti-8Al-1Mo-1V. These two alloys together account for 50% of the titanium alloy market. These alloys are used in the production of jet engines, high-speed vehicle skeletons and rocket motor cases. Vanadium is usually added to titanium alloys in the form of vanadium-aluminum based alloys. Superalloys The main non-astronautical potential use of vanadium-containing high performance alloys is in the production of nuclear fusion reactors as reactor cover and shielding walls. Vanadium alloys for this application have been investigated and, compared with other alloys, these alloys retain good ductility and strength at 700°C, minimize neutron radiation decay and prevent radiation; and have good corrosion resistance to liquid lithium and sodium (used as a coolant). Although the use of vanadium alloys in the nuclear industry was investigated early in the 1960s, it was not until the 1980s that attention was drawn to vanadium alloys following focused research on fusion reactors. The main vanadium alloys developed were the LiV-Cr-TiSi (containing 0.15% Cr, 0.20% Ti and <1% Si) series, of which the most significant vanadium alloy is V-5Ti-5Cr. Vanadium can be added to many other alloys with the aim of increasing strength and ductility. For example, it is added to copper-based alloys for control of gas composition and microstructure, to aluminum alloys for the production of internal combustion engine pistons and to some nickel-based superalloys for the production of turbines and blades. Vanadium compounds are used as catalysts in the production of some important chemical industries. The main use of V2O5 in the chemical industry is as a catalyst in the production of sulfuric acid (ammonium vanadate and sodium vanadate are also used). V2O5 is also used to oxidize cyclohexane to adipic acid. Vanadium catalysts are also used in polymerization reactions and in the production of oxalic acid. In addition, vanadium-containing catalysts are used in catalytic converters for diesel engines.




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