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Effort by ITA’s Industrial Sub Group Looks to Remove Restrictions on Grade 12 Titanium to Expand Applications

The International Titanium Association (ITA) will host an Industrial Committee meeting at the 2015 TITANIUM Conference and Exhibition. The Industrial committee meeting, (Wednesday, October 7th at 8:00 am), is open to all the conference delegation and participation is encouraged.

The Industrial Sub Group of the International Titanium Association (ITA), part of the ITA’s Applications Committee, has achieved a significant first step in a project to remove restrictions on the use of Grade 12 titanium on the NACE MRO 175 specifications—a standard for the petroleum and natural gas industries regarding the use and performance of industrial materials in a corrosive, hydrogen-sulfide work environment. The hope is that removing certain restrictions will open up significant business opportunities for the titanium alloy.

Rob Henson, chair of the ITA’s Industrial Sub Group, said the key development to move the project forward involves working with the Corrosion Centre of Exova Group Plc, West Midlands, U.K., which will conduct testing on titanium Grade 12 and present the findings to Houston-based NACE, formerly known as National Association of Corrosion Engineers. Henson described Exova as “the perfect choice” to work with NACE, given Exova’s track record in such projects.

NACE standards, such as MRO 175 (maintenance, repair, and overhaul), are determined through a collection of laboratory experimental data and field experience. The MRO 175 standard addresses an industrial material’s ability to withstand stress cracking in a hydrogen sulfide environment, also known as a “sour service” or “sour gas environment.” Founded in 1943, NACE serves 30,000 members in 116 countries and is recognized globally as the premier authority for corrosion control solutions.

Henson, business development manager, VSMPO-Tirus US, said the Industrial Sub Group selected this task because removing restrictions on the use of Grade 12 titanium under the NRO 175 specification “will impact the titanium industry globally. It is a tangible deliverable to advance the cause of removing barriers to the use of titanium. This is a first step, but it’s a significant first step. We want to demonstrate that we are focused and on task for this project.”

Having established a roadmap for this program with Exova, Henson guessed that the process to have titanium Grade 12 fully approved under NACE’s MRO 175 (also known as ISO 15156, the international designation of the standard) will take about two years. Titanium Grade 12, an alloy that includes nickel and molybdenum, is very resistant to hydrogen sulfide industrial environments and represents a perfect application for this material, according to Henson. However, he pointed out that titanium Grade 12 currently is “not in harmony” with the MRO 175 specification, originally written in the 1980s, in areas such as basic mill practices, plate hardness and heat-treating techniques. He was confident Exova would demonstrate titanium Grade 12 can meet the corrosion testing requirements of the specification without limiting mill production parameters and at higher hardness levels.

Applications for titanium Grade 12 in oil and gas production would include valves, pipes, fittings and heat exchangers. Such components, under MRO 175, must be certified to resist “catastrophic cracking” and failure when operating in a corrosive hydrogen sulfide environment. Henson pointed out that, in addition to being corrosive, hydrogen sulfide is a lethal gas.

“MRO 175 is a legally binding specification,” Henson said. “There can be no exceptions as far as meeting the specification. If an industrial material is being considered by an engineering company for use as a component in a hydrogen sulfide environment, and there are any exceptions to the MRO 175 standard, then that material will automatically get a red line through it.”

He said that nickel alloys are currently the material of choice under the MRO 175 standard for use in hydrogen sulfide environments for the oil and gas industry. However, if the restrictions on use of titanium Grade 12 are removed from the NACE standard, Henson said this will create an important business opportunity for the titanium alloy, as it is less expensive than nickel alloys while offering equal or enhanced in-service performance properties.

In addition to Henson, other members of the ITA’s Industrial Sub Group include Regis Baldauff, Titanium Industries Inc.; Rockaway, NJ; Bill Brownlee, Titanium Fabrication Corp; Fairfield, NJ; Mitch Dziekonski, Titanium Engineers Inc., Sugar Land, TX; Jim Grauman, Titanium Metals Corp (TIMET); Dallas; Ron Schutz, Alcoa Titanium & Engineered Products (formerly RTI International Metals, Inc.), Pittsburgh; Mike Stitzlein, Tricor Metals; Conroe, TX; and Chris Wilson, Uniti Titanium: Pittsburgh.

According to information posted on its website (, Exova is a leading laboratory-based testing group, with “over 4,400 global experts operating from 143 facilities in 32 countries to support our 30,000 customers worldwide.” Exova provides testing, calibration and related services in customer sectors such as aerospace, oil and gas, environmental and construction. Exova’s testing capabilities—materials selection, performance and failure analysis—employs destructive and non-destructive testing.

TITANIUM USA 2015 will be held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Golf Resort located at 9939 Universal Blvd., Orlando, Florida 32819 USA with international flights offered daily through Orlando International Airport (MCO).

Rob Henson, Manager, Business Development for VSMPO - Tirus, US is the 2015 Industrial Committee Chair.
ITA Contributor Michael Gabriele is an independent freelance writer on behalf of the International Titanium Association (ITA) Jennifer Simpson is the executive director of the International Titanium Association (ITA)


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