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metal during welding and cooling,” said Jennifer Wolk, a Materials Engineer with Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Carderock Division specialising in welding and friction stir welding of non-ferrous materials.

Kim Tran, a Materials Engineer at NSWC Carderock noted that “Traditional processes for fabricating titanium components are expensive because of the cleanliness requirements for the handling of titanium and complete shielding requirements for arc welding. Technological advances to reduce fabrication

properties required for the application.

Another benefit of using titanium over steel is its scrap value at the end of its service life. Most steel ships are scrapped because of corrosion of the hull, where as titanium scrap retains substantial value at the end of a 40 plus service life.


Raymond M. Walker of Keystone Synergistic Enterprises in Port St. Lucie, Florida, said: “the workshop demonstrated that there are no

However, some existing shipyards view titanium as a specialised process that is cost burden compared to the fabrication of steel. Although “if you want an all-composite ship, then you would need an all- composite shipyard. But Ti could be introduced in a steel yard,” explained Colen Kennell of the

as three conventional hulls for the price of two titanium ships. Upgrades in electronics, machinery and propulsion are a lot cheaper than building a new ship.”

In summation, Walker said “Titanium is a common metal, it is easily formable, very

“the workshop demonstrated that there are no engineering

barriers or obstacles that prevent design or

Titanium offers a higher

strength to weight ratio, offering a 40

percent weight saving in comparison to steel.

costs yet still enable the fabrication (casting, welding, forging) of quality products that meet design and material properties requirements will also enable more opportunities for titanium applications on Navy ships.”


Aerospace grades of titanium are roughly nine times more expensive than steel. However, industry experts believe that ship hull or marine grades of titanium could be made less costly by modifying the process and finishing requirements. It is predicted that the price could be reduced to only three times as expensive as steel. Marine specific titanium grades have already been developed and are currently used for some high strength naval applications such as piping. Ultimately, the cost of marine grade titanium would depend on the end use and

engineering barriers or obstacles that prevent design or construction of a titanium naval ship. Challenges, yes; but no barriers.”

“Vessel life, fuel efficiency, reduced maintenance, and increased range/payload will drive the argument, added Walker. “No new technologies are required, only adaptation of existing titanium practices (primarily from aerospace) to the specifics of vessel design and fabrication.”

Center for Innovation in Ship Design at NSWC Carderock.

Booty Cancienne, production supervisor for Textron Marine and Land Systems (TM&LS) in Slidell, Louisiana, made a noteworthy comment. “This is the bottom line. If a hull lasts 50 percent longer, say 60 years instead of 40, you get the same service life

weldable, has excellent strength, and is corrosion resistant. “A titanium vessel is absolutely possible. There are plenty of pockets of titanium design and fabrication expertise in industry that are producing titanium structures every day. Very little of this expertise resides in traditional shipyards.”

More on this discussion can be found at

E-mail: Tel: +44(0)1709 724990 9

construction of a titanium naval ship. Challenges, yes; but no barriers.”

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