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The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. Harold Liebowitz are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.
The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance.
This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.
This study by the National Materials Advisory Board was conducted under a contract with the Defense National Stockpile Center, Defense Logistics Agency.
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Committee on High-Purity Electrolytic Chromium Metal
WILLIAM D. MANLY, Chair, Consultant,
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Martin-Marietta Energy Systems, Incorporated, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
JOHN S. CHIPMAN, Regents' Professor of Economics,
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
ANTHONY F. GIAMEI, Principal Scientist,
United Technologies Research Center, East Hartford, Connecticut
JEROLD LEIBENSPERGER, Manager,
Raw Materials, Carpenter Technology Corporation, Reading, Pennsylvania
THOMAS J. O'KEEFE, Professor,
Materials Research Center, University of Missouri, Rolla
BEN F. OLIVER, Professor,
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
DAVID C. ROBERTS, Senior Technical Staff,
MITRE Corporation, McLean, Virginia
JOHN E. TILTON, Director,
Division of Economics and Business, Colorado School of Mines, Golden
ROBERT J. EAGAN, Director,
Defense Programs Capabilities Center, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico
FRANKLIN J. RINGQUIST, Industrial Specialist,
Defense Logistics Agency, Defense National Stockpile Center, U.S. Department of Defense, Arlington, Virginia
LAWRENCE N. HJELM, Manager,
Defense Reinvestment, Technology Transfer, Wright Laboratory,
Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
ROBERT M. EHRENREICH, Senior Program Manager
PAT WILLIAMS, Senior Secretary
National Materials Advisory Board
JAMES C. WILLIAMS, Chair,
General Electric Company, Cincinnati, Ohio
JAN D. ACHENBACH,
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
BILL R. APPLETON,
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
ROBERT R. BEEBE,
I. MELVIN BERNSTEIN,
Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts
J. KEITH BRIMACOMBE,
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
JOHN V. BUSCH,
IBIS Associates, Inc., Wellesley, Massachusetts
HARRY E. COOK,
University of Illinois, Urbana
Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
KRISTINA M. JOHNSON,
University of Colorado, Boulder
LIONEL C. KIMERLING,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
JAMES E. MCGRATH,
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg
RICHARD S. MULLER,
University of California, Berkeley
AT&T Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, New Jersey
EDGAR A. STARKE,
University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, California
KATHLEEN C. TAYLOR,
General Motors Corporation, Warren, Michigan
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
Raychem Corporation, Menlo Park, California
ROBERT E. SCHAFRIK,
The committee expresses its appreciation to the following individuals for their presentations to the committee: Howard J. Hart, Special Metals Corporation; John Jennings; Richard Laggett, Howmet Corporation; John Langford, General Electric Company; Stan Seagle, RMI; Alan Ewart, London and Scandinavian Metallurgical Corporation, Limited; R. James Carter, Shieldalloy Metallurgical Corporation; Alain Defrance and Yves Zordan, Delachaux Metals Division; Sonia Yacobian and Richard Drakkir, Niddam, Incorporated; and William A. Ferguson, Alan FitzGibbon, Gregory L. Noland, Timothy J. Chimera, Arash M. Kasaaian, and Nicholas Pyle, Elkem Metals Company.
The committee also thanks Elkem Metals Company for the site visit of their facility and the American Ceramics Society for hosting a meeting of the committee in Westerville, Ohio.
The committee is especially grateful for the assistance of Franklin Ringquist of the Defense Logistics Agency and John Papp of the U.S. Bureau of Mines, who obtained a great deal of information for the committee both in terms of agency reports and legislation and in presentations related to the structure, mission, and programs of their agencies. Finally, the committee acknowledges with thanks the contributions of Robert M. Ehrenreich, Senior Program Manager, and Pat Williams, Senior Secretary, to the project.
High-purity chromium metal is a critical alloying element of superalloys for gas-turbine engines. This report discusses the uses and specifications for high-purity chromium metal for aerospace engines; the principal features of the processes for producing chromium metal; the chromium-metal marketplace, including the recent supply and demand trends and the prospects of shortages; and several potential domestic and international scenarios that could result in shortages of high-purity chromium metal and the possible means for resolving such shortages within the framework of the report's recommendations. Overall, the chromium-metal market was found to be operating effectively. There appears to be little or no need for government intervention at this time.
Section 3306 of the Defense Authorization Act of 1995 mandated that the National Academy of Sciences prepare a report regarding the need for a domestic source of high-purity electrolytic chromium metal. High-purity chromium metal is a critical alloying element of the superalloys used in aerospace gas-turbine engines. Congress is concerned about the availability of high-purity chromium metal since Elkem Metals Company of Marietta, Ohio, is the only domestic supplier of this material and the only remaining producer of electrolytic chromium metal in the Western world.
The objectives of the study were to determine (1) the health of the domestic chromium-metal industry, (2) the capability and reliability of foreign chromium-metal suppliers, (3) projections of material needs for the future, (4) economic and security benefits that derive from having a domestic supplier base, (5) alternative methodologies (and research and development opportunities) for producing high-purity chromium metal, and (6) suggestions regarding strategies to maintain a core capability. To execute this study, the National Materials Advisory Board of the National Research Council convened an eight-member committee with expertise in metals extraction and processing, high-purity metals, aeronautical turbine engine materials, specialty materials supply, environmental considerations, and materials economics.
The committee met three times between February and May 1995. The first two meetings consisted of briefing sessions to collect the data required for the study. The first meeting was held in Washington, D.C., and consisted of briefings by representatives of the materials suppliers and engine manufacturers to obtain their views on (1) the worldwide sources of high-purity electrolytic chromium metal, (2) the capability and reliability of chromium-metal suppliers, (3) the purity requirements for chromium metal in the superalloy industry, (4) the projections of material needs for the future, and (5) the economic and security benefits that derive from having a domestic supplier base. The second meeting was held in Ohio and consisted of a site visit to the Elkem Metals chromium-metal facility in Marietta, Ohio; briefings on the health of the domestic chromium-metal industry by representatives of Elkem; and
presentations on the health of the international chromium-metal industry and the alternative methods for producing high-purity chromium metal by representatives of London and Scandinavian Metallurgical Corporation, Shieldalloy Metallurgical Corporation, Delachaux Metals Division, and Niddam, Incorporated. The committee finalized its conclusions and recommendations at the third meeting, which was held in Washington, D.C. This report is the result of the committee deliberations.
William D. Manly, Chair