Electrowinning of titanium and other metals — advances and opportunities

January 26, 2014


  • 6:00 Poster Session & Networking
  • 6:30 Dinner & Awards Presentation
  • 7:30 Presentation
Speaker: Rohan Akolkar, Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, CWRU


Titanium metal, with high strength-to-weight ratio, is an important structural metal for aerospace and defense applications. However, titanium is expensive largely due to the energy-intensive nature of the Kroll process conventionally used for titanium extraction from ore. At Case Western Reserve University, we are developing an alternative low-cost titanium extraction process based on electrolysis of titanium salts at high temperature. The key innovation in our titanium electrowinning process is a specialized diaphragm stack, which separates the catholyte and anolyte compartments. The diaphragm stack eliminates extraneous reactions in the electrowinning cell, enabling stable and energy-efficient electrolytic extraction of high-purity titanium sponge. This talk will outline the fundamentals governing our process, demonstrate its basic feasibility, and discuss its applicability to direct electrowinning of Ti-alloys and to electrorefining of rare earths.



Rohan Akolkar is Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Cleveland OH. He leads the ‘Electrochemical Materials Fabrication Laboratory’ in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at CWRU, which focuses on electrochemical materials research for applications ranging from electronics, energy storage and electrometallurgy. Prior to joining the CWRU faculty, Dr. Akolkar conducted research at the Components Research Division of Intel Corporation, where he developed novel electrochemical technologies for semiconductor applications. He is the recipient of the Norman Hackerman Prize of the Electrochemical Society, and numerous Intel Technology Development Awards.


List of posters:

- "Meso-scale Deformation Mechanisms in Nickel-based Superalloys as Studied by Micro-Laue Diffraction," Aaron Thompson

- "Weibull Modulus of Hardness, Bend Strength, and Tensile Strength of Ni-Ta-Co-X Metallic Glass Ribbons," Henry Neilson

- "Fracture and Fatigue Crack Growth of Ti-6Al-4V Made by Electron Beam Melting," Matthew Dahar“

- "Mechanisms of Accelerated Degradation of Photovoltaic Wire,” Olga Eliseeva

Meeting Location:

Case Western Reserve University

Thwing Center, 11111 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106

Parking: Recommended at Severance Parking garage (entrance off of East Blvd., north of Euclid). Current rates are $5 for 2 hours, increasing by $1 per half hour after that. Follow signs to Thwing Center.


To ensure your meal selection register by noon on January 19th using the Cleveland Web site or e-mail (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). 

Members & Guests - $30 Pre-registered, or $35 walk-in/not registered 

Retired members - $20 Pre-registered, or $25 walk-in/not registered 

Students - $10

Menu for food:

  • Apple and romaine salad with walnuts
  • Breast of chicken, pretzel-encrusted
  • Penne pasta with marinara
  • Steamed broccoli 
  • Dessert: gourmet cookies  
  • Ice water, Arnold Palmers, and coffee