The 14th World Conference on Titanium will be held at La Cité Convention Centre in Nantes from 10 to 14 June 2019. Based on the city’s strong appeal, Nantes is hosting this key event for the academic and industrial titanium community for the first time. More than 600 professionals from around the world are expected.

We interviewed Patrick Villechaise, Chairman of the 2019 World Conference on Titanium, co-organised by the French Titanium Association and the French Society for Metallurgy and Materials.

What are the issues addressed at the Conference on Titanium, which is taking place in Nantes for the first time?

Since 1968, the World Conference on Titanium has been held every four years in a different city. It brings together all the professionals working along the titanium value chain, including ore extraction, production of complex alloys through chemistry and metallurgy and optimisation of material properties by thermomechanical processing. The 2019 Conference in Nantes is the second to be held in France, the first being in Cannes in 1988.
The issues addressed at this conference are first and foremost academic: researchers, teachers and doctoral students come to present their work and the latest developments. Industrial issues are also a focus, particularly in terms of R&D. Many academic researchers join forces with industrial partners for advanced applications. When combined with other chemical elements, titanium produces lightweight alloys that are resistant to corrosion and have excellent mechanical properties. It is widely used in aerospace (aerofoil and aircraft engines - photo), shipbuilding (submarines), as well as in biomedical applications (hip and knee prostheses).

What makes Nantes such a great city to host this event?

Nantes has many features that appealed to the International Organising Committee, made up of representatives of the seven major nations of the titanium community. Nantes won out over the other candidate cities (London and Saint Petersburg) thanks to the city’s unity and coherence. One of the decisive arguments was the ability to arrange tours of industrial sites and laboratories. La Cité Nantes Convention Centre, located in the city centre, close to hotels and social venues, is also very convenient and easily accessible by train. And you can get almost anywhere in the city on foot.
Another great feature of Nantes is the local engagement. The French Titanium Association, which is co-organising the conference and brings together nearly 150 members in France, is headquartered in Nantes. The EMC2 cluster is responsible for the operational management of the event, liaising with all the local partners, including Nantes Métropole, the Pays de la Loire Region, the laboratories and industrial sites.

What are the main highlights of the event?

This leading titanium conference will feature a number of highlights. The opening ceremony, on Tuesday morning, will be a plenary session during which the seven nations represented on the international committee will each summarise the most exciting developments of the past four years and the new directions. Afterwards, nearly 500 oral presentations will be held in nine different rooms during the course of the event. The first two days will end with poster sessions where participants can engage in discussion while enjoying refreshments. Some highly topical issues will be addressed in multiple presentations, such as additive manufacturing and the connection between microstructures and properties.

Thursday afternoon will be devoted to tours of industrial sites. Participants will be able to visit Airbus, Naval Group and ACB, a Nantes-based manufacturer of forming presses widely used in the world of titanium. Laboratory tours are also on the agenda.

Some twenty stands will be set up in the hall of the La Cité Convention Centre to present the technical expertise of industrial companies that work to optimise the properties and imagine the future uses of titanium alloys. A few emblematic parts produced by Aubert & Duval, Airbus and Safran will be on display, some seen for the first time by the public.

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