Gil Kaufman is a distinguished technical writer and the man behind most of Knovel’s line of Critical Databases. I recently sat down with him to get the skinny on his new Titanium Alloy Database — here’s whats in it for you. . .
K-Exchange: What can Knovel Users Expect from the Titanium Alloy Database?
Gil Kaufman: Designers, particularly in the automotive and aerospace industries, where there is a great deal of pressure to incorporate lightweight, high strength materials into land and air vehicles that are able to endure high temperatures, will get the most out of this database.
Particularly during the preliminary design phase, engineers can use this database to determine which alloys are the strongest at a given temperature, or at least strong enough for a particular design. That’s one of the greatest advantages to titanium alloys—they can sustain temperatures from 600 degrees F to even 1300-1400 degrees F, above the range for aluminum and magnesium alloys, and they are much lighter than steel. Designers and engineers will be able to make an informed choice using this database as to what materials they should use. The principal drawback of titanium alloys is their relatively high cost in comparison to magnesium or aluminum alloys, but they are necessary for applications involving light weight with high strength at high temperatures.
E-Exchange: What makes this database unique?
Gil Kaufman: The Titanium Alloy Database is a single source with an expansive range of usable content. It’s the only place that I know that engineers can go to get such a wide range of properties on a large number of titanium alloys, making this database a crucial resource for engineers that have this need. Breadth and range of alloys are in this database is very impressive.
KX: A stated goal of Knovel’s Critical Content Line is to fill gaps in engineering resources. When critical content is not available from Knovel’s network of more than 90 authoritative societies and publishers, we provide vetted content like the Titanium Alloy Database. That being said, do you think that the information in this database is otherwise hard to access for engineers in the field?
GK: Yes. Engineers can readily find bits and pieces of this information if they do enough digging, but they will be hard pressed to access the breadth and relevancy of the content in the Titanium Alloy Database in any other single source. In addition to data on the workhorse titanium alloys like Ti-6Al-4V, there are data for many other titanium alloys that are not always so broadly used, and engineers may have a very hard time finding the properties of some of those alloys. It would be very hard to find another source for the detailed properties of the entire range of alloys covered in this database.
KX: Are there any industry trends in the automotive or aerospace industry that makes this database content more timely or relevant for engineers?
GK: Yes, the trend now is to make all transportation vehicles more energy efficient. That’s true for trucks, for trains and for the traditional automotive industry as well as for aircraft. Titanium parts can make vehicles more lightweight and therefore more energy-efficient. While aluminum and magnesium alloys are less expensive than titanium alloys and are also used to make vehicles more efficient, these can withstand some of higher temperatures that may be associated with specialty engine applications, for example. The expensive nature of titanium parts is a drawback, but titanium’s ability to withstand high temperatures means these parts are long-lasting and superior to other non-ferrous metal alloys for such applications.
As application of titanium alloys in vehicles increases over time, their cost will drop and most likely result in even wider wide use of them across the industry; realistically that may take quite some time.
Titanium is also widely used for medical devices such as hip and knee replacements, as some titanium alloys have superior corrosion resistance and are able to withstand our highly corrosive body fluids. While this area is very specialized, and volumes are not very high, it is a critical application for providing better quality of life as we age.
KX: Would you say that this content is relevant mainly for experienced engineers in the field or would you say that engineering students and those just entering the field would benefit from the Titanium Alloy Database as well?
GK: I’d say usability is across the spectrum. I think students will find it very interesting to learn which alloys should be applied across a wide range of applications and how they can be applied. New graduates entering the field will also find this database extremely helpful, especially since the database provides so much information for so many alloys all in one place.
While I try to be careful to say that designers should do their own performance testing before finalizing their designs, the information that we provide gives good insight into what design strengths will be using a given titanium alloy.
KX: Are there any other important features of this database that should be mentioned?
GK: Yes, an important point to note is that before being released, this Titanium Alloy Database was reviewed by a highly experienced titanium alloy expert from the airframe industry, who provided confirmation of its content and relevancy to the industry, and also input some key bits of information.