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$4 Million for Energy-Saving Metals Research

Metallurgical engineer Zak Fang.

Metallurgical engineers at the University of Utah have been awarded $4 million from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Professor Zak Fang will receive a $3 million grant for research into a new, less-expensive, energy-saving way to manufacture lightweight, corrosion-resistant titanium, which would make an energy efficient material for construction of new vehicles but now costs 10 times more than steel to manufacture. The new method uses magnesium hydride to extract titanium from ore. The new grant brings to $4.8 million since 2012 that Fang has obtained from the Department of Energy for titanium manufacturing research.

The Department of Energy says that if Fang’s method succeeds, it “will significantly reduce energy inputs and costs compared with conventional titanium production methods.”

Meanwhile, Professor Raj Rajamani will get $1 million to develop a new electromagnetic method to sort light, scrap metals. Current methods for sorting scrap metal cannot distinguish between different grades of metal alloys.

“If successful, the University of Utah’s sorting technique will enable the recycling of typically discarded light metal by determining alloy grades, which could reduce the need for manufacturing new metals,” the Department of Energy says.