While titanium is not a new metal it continues to be one that industries look to for strength and durability. With a high specific strength (comprised of the ratio of tensile strength to density), titanium is 45% lighter than steel and 60% heavier than aluminum. With uses ranging from being used to make white paint to helping produce artificial gems, titanium is widespread across a number of industries and used in a number of different ways.
Titanium does not oxidize quickly nor does it corrode quickly in water. Conveniently located, titanium leans towards chlorine and chloride-containing solutions and organic acids. Salt water from oxidizing acids is not affected by the formation of a protective oxide layer. It is resistant to nitric acid (<70%) and at 20 C it is even resistant against aqua regia. Fuming HNO3 reacts violently with Ti. It is further resistant to strong alkalis and sulfur compounds. Readily soluble in hydrofluoric acid, when heated in hydrochloric acid violet Ti (III) salts are formed. To increase the corrosion resistance, it can be added to palladium. Hydrogen stresses of titanium are concentrated because methanol-water mixtures can stress corrosion cracking.
Titanium is an excellent material for construction jobs, mainly because of its relatively low creep resistance and high temperature strength. In the chemical industry, titanium is used as the lining of steel tanks, pumps, valves, heat exchangers, heating and cooling coils for the production of filters, blowers, stirrer and a number of other applications.
Because titanium is a difficult metal to work with, however, titanium alloys are preferred in numerous industries. Steel alloy with 0.1% of titanium increases the strength and elasticity of the metal. Railway wheels use titanium steel because it is known to be very hard and elastic. In aircraft, titanium alloys are an ideal material because of its low density, high strength and poor thermal conductivity. Furthermore, medical instruments, shipbuilding and missile technology have various titanium alloys they prefer.
Titanium is often used in medical implants, including replacement joints, screws, rods, plates, and dental implements. Because of its biocompatibility, titanium is often accepted readily by the body and rarely produces an adverse reaction. With its lightweight properties and strength, titanium is often found in joint replacements.
As it stands, titanium is widely used, however, it is not a common metal outside of specific industries. Though titanium is the ninth most abundantly found metal in the earth’s crust, it is still expensive to extract and can be costly and difficult to machine. As new methods of extraction and milling are found, however, titanium continues to become a more prominent part of society.