A new β-rich α + β titanium alloy, SP-700, was designed to improve hot workability and mechanical properties over Ti-6A1-4V alloy. The chemical composition of the alloy is Ti-4.5A1-3V-2Mo-2Fe, and particularly enhanced properties include superplasticity, hardenability, and fatigue strength. Owing to its extremely fine microstructure and low β-transus temperature, SP-700 is superplastically formable at temperatures below 1073 K without significant increase in flow stress. More advantageously, diffusion bonding is also accomplished around this temperature. The low temperature SPF/DB process not only saves die material life and process costs, but also reduces alloy degradation from exposure at elevated temperatures, e.g., grain growth and oxidation. Isothermal and conventional hot forging are also performed better with SP-700 than ordinary titanium alloys like Ti6A1-4V.
The alloy is heat treatable and one of its many mechanical properties is that high strength over 1200 MPa is attained in solution treatment and aging condition. The advantage to this is that the moderately stable β phase tolerates air cooling for solution treatment. Thermal distortion in work pieces, which would be caused by rapid cooling, is consequently avoided. In addition, the alloy is cold workable in such cases as rolling and blanking, when annealed around 1073 K. Furthermore, fatigue life and resistance to hydrogen-assisted stress corrosion cracking are improved due to reduced aluminum content.
The superior properties of SP-700 over conventional titanium alloys make new applications possible in non-aerospace fields including sporting goods, hand tools, and wrist watches. Golf drivers, with club heads made of SP-700, are sold commercially. Crampons, a new product of SP-700, withstand cold blanking and bending which reduces production costs and extends life. Due to its high forgeability, SP-700 is expected to extend its application to the production of steam turbine blades. Details of practical applications have been demonstrated together with advantages of properties and fabrication for the blades.