Titanium is a strong, corrosion resistant metal, silver in colour with an atomic number of 22 and an atomic weight of 46.867. It was discovered by William Gregor in Cornwall, Britain, in 1791 but given its pseudo-Latin name by a German chemist called Martin Heinrick Klaproth, who named it after the Titans of Greek mythology. In addition to being twice as strong as aluminium (by volume) it can also resist nitro-hydrochloric acid.
Contra to what some people believe, it is not as strong as the equivalent volume of high grade steel alloys, but is equal to low grade steel, whilst weighing only 55% as much. By weight – as opposed to volume – it is stronger than steel. It’s melting point is higher than that of iron or steel, but it begins to lose strength at 430° C.
Titanium oxidizes quickly when exposed to air. But the oxide thus formed is actually a protective layer that protects the titanium from water. The protective lawyer that forms quickly is initially only 1-2 nm thick, but it gradually grows to 25 nm over four years. This is only a four hundredth of a micron or 1/400,000 of a millimetre!
The metal cannot be melted down in open air because it burns before it melts. It can even burn in pure nitrogen. However, you would have to heat it to about 800° C to accomplish that.
At 0.63% of the earth’s crust, Titanium ore is far from rare. In fact it is the ninth most abundant element in earth’s crust. Deposits are to be found all over the world, but the biggest known deposits are to be found in Australia, South Africa and Canada. It is always combined with other elements. It has even been found in meteorites.
The production of titanium is an expensive batch process called the Kroll Process. However this may soon be replaced by another process called the the FFC Cambridge process.
Titanium has many uses: industrial, commercial and ornamental. It can be used in alloys to strengthen other metals. It is used in pigments. It finds its way into aircraft (including the SR-71 spy plane), ships and the armour plating of military vehicles, in the construction of high-rise buildings, corrosion-resistant tools and jewelry.
Magnetic Jewelry especially is a customer favourite because or its durability. Although titanium is not in itself magnetic, it can house magnets in a strong, long-lasting protective material that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Titanium magnetic bracelets (used in magnet therapy) are a firm favourite amongst magnetic products store customers.