Vanadium—present and future

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 75, No. 843, 1982

M.KORCHYNSKY, Metals Division, Union Carbide Corporation Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The key words which characterize vanadium are: unlimited availability, versatility of applications and price stability.The supply of vanadium is assured by diversified sources, distributed all over the globe. The inexhaustible raw materials base is complemented by a strong vanadium industry. Both the fully integrated vanadium producers and converters of vanadium oxide or vanadium-containing slags or residues guarantee an adequate supply, commensurate with the steady growing demand.The major share of the world's vanadium output is being consumed by the steel industry. As an additive to steel, the versatility of vanadium is particularly impressive. A few hundreds of one per cent of vanadium convert plain carbon steel into high-strength, low-alloy steel with more than double strength. On the other extreme, high-speed steels made via the powder metallurgy route show superior performance with vanadium additions as high as 6 or 8per cent. Vanadium is used as a cost-effective alloying addition in steels for high-temperature service, fully alloyed heat-treatable steels, new dual-phase steels for automotive components, rail steels, etc., to mention only a few applications. Vanadium is also an established essential addition for titanium alloys. The chemical industry is relying on vanadium compounds as important catalysts.In spite of a wide diversity of applications and continual growth in consumption, vanadium has exhibited, over the past several decades, a remarkable price stability, free of conjunctural fluctuations. Because of its availability and versatility, it will continue to be one of the key metallic elements for future technologies.
Keywords: Vanadium, Mineral economics, Steel, Alloys, Production, Consumption, Markets.