861Extraction

The commercial production of titanium metal involves the chlorination of rutile (TiO2) in the presence of coke or other form of carbon. The most important chemical reaction involved is

The resulting TiCl4 ("tickle") is purified by distillation and chemical treatments and subsequently reduced to titanium sponge using either Mg (Kroll process) of Na (Hunter process). The basic reaction involved in the Kroll process is

With either process the sponge produced is vacuum distilled, swept with an inert gas, or acid leached to reduce the remnant salt content. A number of alternate processes have been evaluated for sponge production, including electrolytic, molten salt, and plasma processes but none have reached commercial status [12].

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