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Transforming Metals

Metalysis' disruptive technology has the potential to transform the way metals, rare earth metals and alloys will be produced in the future. Its clean, green technology has the potential to substantially lower the cost of production in multi-billion dollar markets.

Metalysis owns an extensive international patent portfolio for a transformational and innovative technology capable of producing a wide range of metals and alloys with a reduced carbon footprint and lower cost.

The Metalysis process makes metal powder production simpler, and has the potential to dramatically reduce cost, because the metal remains in a solid state and no melting takes place as powder is produced directly from its oxide. It is environmentally friendly, as it only produces small levels of CO2. It uses calcium chloride, which has the toxicity of table salt, and can then be recycled for repeated use. Metalysis have developed this process through years of R&D to the point where it is now ready for industrial production of tantalum, a high-value niche metal.

The Discovery - FFC Cambridge Process

Metalysis has the worldwide rights to exploit a technology for making metals and alloys in a low cost and very environmentally friendly way using an electro-chemical process.  The precursor to the Metalysis process was developed at Cambridge University - a ‘light bulb’ moment occurred to researchers in the Materials Science and Metallurgy Department at the University in 1997. They called the process ‘FFC’ after the letters of the inventors’ names: Fray, Farthing and Chen. The researchers accidentally came upon the idea while attempting to purify titanium. Titanium usually contains a small amount of dissolved oxygen near its surface, termed the alpha case, which can weaken the material. Derek Fray, Tom Farthing and George Chen decided to try to remove this using electrolysis. Their idea was that the current flowing through the titanium would allow oxygen ions at the surface to be removed. During this process the titanium they were using initially had a layer of oxide on its surface, something which always forms when the metal is exposed to air. However, during electrolysis they found this oxide coating was converted back to the pure metal. They subsequently tested this discovery on pellets of solid titanium dioxide and were ‘amazed’ to discover that electrolysis converted the oxide to titanium metal.  Results were published in Letters of Nature – vol 47 on 21st September 2000.

D J Fray