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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:BLACKSAND TECHNOLOGY LLC
Doing Business As Name:Blacksand Technology LLC
PD/PI:
  • Pei Sun
  • (801) 696-4522
  • pei.sun@blacksandtechllc.com
Award Date:06/11/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 252,648
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 252,648
  • FY 2021=$252,648
Start Date:06/15/2021
End Date:05/31/2022
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.041
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:SBIR Phase I: Production of Low-Cost Ti Alloys by Direct Reduction and Alloying
Federal Award ID Number:2051641
DUNS ID:079422888
Program:SBIR Phase I
Program Officer:
  • Elizabeth Mirowski
  • (703) 292-2936
  • emirowsk@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:1784 W 2300 S. Unit 3
City:West Valley City
State:UT
ZIP:84119-2010
County:West Valley City
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:04

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Blacksand Technology LLC
Street:1784 W 2300 S. Unit 3
City:West Valley City
State:UT
ZIP:84119-2010
County:West Valley City
Country:US
Cong. District:04

Abstract at Time of Award

The broader impact of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is to address the shortage or lack of the U.S.'s supply chain for primary titanium metal production, for which the U.S. relies on imports almost entirely, by developing new low-cost process technology for making titanium alloys. Titanium alloys are critical materials to the nation's aerospace, defense, transportation, energy, chemical, and biomedical industries. This project will enhance the competitiveness of the U.S. titanium manufacturing industry. Furthermore, low-cost titanium will expand its use in vehicles, contributing to reducing fuel (or power) consumption of vehicles and carbon emissions. Conventionally, titanium (Ti) alloys are made by melting pure Ti sponge with alloying additives using vacuum arc remelting (VAR). Ti sponge is made by the Kroll process, which is a multi-step process involving chlorination of titanium dioxide (TiO2) to form titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4), the reduction of TiCl4 by magnesium (Mg). The cost of Ti alloy ingot depends on the cost of Ti sponge and the melt-refining (e.g., VAR) process. Typically, Ti sponge accounts for more than 70% of the cost of Ti alloy ingot. The melt-refining process is also a significant cost contributor because Ti alloy ingot has to be melted for two or more times to achieve the required purity and compositional homogeneity. This project proposes to develop a low-cost melt-less process for the production of titanium alloys by direct reduction and alloying (DRA). If successful, the DRA process can reduce the cost of Ti mill products significantly. The product of the proposed process can be used for many applications, including as Ti alloy powder, or as feedstock for manufacturing Ti mill products, or as consolidated near-net-shape components. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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