Hunter process

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The Hunter process was the first industrial process to produce pure ductile metallic titanium. It was invented in 1910 by Matthew A. Hunter, a chemist born in New Zealand and who worked in America.

In the Hunter process, rutile (a mineral consisting of titanium dioxide, TiO2) is mixed with chlorine and coke and then extreme heat is applied, producing titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4).

Pure metallic titanium (99.9%) by heating TiCl4 with sodium in a steel bomb at 700–800 °C in the Hunter process.

The titanium tetrachloride is then reduced with sodium to form titanium. This process successfully produces very high quality titanium, but it was replaced in all but the most demanding applications by the more economical Kroll process in the 1940s.

TiO2(s) + 2Cl2 (g) + C (s) → TiCl4(l) + CO2 (g)
TiCl4(l) + 4Na(l) → 4NaCl(l) + Ti(s)

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