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, who worked in the US. The process involves reducing titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4) with sodium (Na) in a batch reactor with an inert atmosphere at a temperature of 1,000°C. Dilute hydrochloric acid is then used to leach the salt from the product.
- TiCl4 + 4 Na → 4 NaCl + Ti
Prior to the Hunter process, all efforts to produce Ti metal afforded highly impure material, often titanium nitride (which resembles a metal). The Hunter process was replaced by the more economical Kroll process in the 1940s. In the Kroll Process, TiCl4 is reduced by magnesium.
- M. A. Hunter "Metallic Titanium" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1910, pp 330–336. doi:10.1021/ja01921a006
- "Hunter process - Oxford Reference". doi:10.1093/acref/9780199651450.001.0001/acref-9780199651450-e-1447.
- Heinz Sibum, Volker Günther, Oskar Roidl, Fathi Habashi, Hans Uwe Wolf (2005). "Titanium, Titanium Alloys, and Titanium Compounds". Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. doi:10.1002/14356007.a27_095.
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