Everything You Need to Know About Titanium
Titanium was discovered in 1791 by Reverend William Gregor in Cornwall and was extracted from its ore for the first time in the 1930’s. From then, our knowledge and usage of the metal has quickly developed over the last 50 years.
Most of it is found in volcanic igneous and metamorphic rock formations. Comprising 0.66% of the earth’s crust, it is the 9th most common element on the planet and the 4th most common structural element. Not free in nature in its pure state, the element is only found bonded with other elements and occurs naturally within plants, seawater, the human body and space components.
Its most recognisable for being a silver-coloured metal with the highest strength-to-density ratio. This, amongst other distinctive properties, make titanium extremely useful for a wide range of purposes.
Properties of Titanium
Low Coefficient of Thermal Expansion
Titanium has a low coefficient of linear expansion compared to other metals, like stainless steel, copper and aluminium. Thermal expansion refers to the ratio that a metal expands in accordance with changes in temperature; because titanium has a low coefficient, this means that it has low distortion values.
When titanium comes into contact with oxygen, it forms an inert protective dioxide film which essentially makes it corrosion resistant. This includes resistance against sea water, chlorine, and reducing acids like hydrochloric and sulfuric acid.
Low Thermal Conductivity
With its high melting point, titanium has low thermal conductivity meaning it is a good insulator and useful for operations in extreme environments.
Applications and Uses of Titanium
Titanium can be alloyed with a number of different elements after extraction and used for a variety of applications:
Military Equipment & Aerospace
One of titanium’s first major applications were military vehicles, this included both aircrafts and submarines. Occurring during the 1950’s through to the 1960’s, the popularity of titanium increased so much so that it begun to be used by commercial aircraft manufacturers as well.
Due to titanium’s biocompatibility, it is commonly used in the medical field mainly for joint replacement, dental implants and prosthetics. It doesn’t trigger a negative immune response in humans, so the metal can therefore integrate into our bodies; this process is called osseointegration.
Other applications include chemical processing / plants, petrochemical processing, automotive, water desalination, offshore oil & natural gas rigs, architecture, jewellery, sports equipment
Titanium Alloys from City Special Metals
At City Special Metals, we are an industry leader in supplying a wide range of high performance, specialist alloys for a variety of markets across the world. To learn more about titanium’s mechanical and physical properties, as well as our stock range, visit the Titanium page.
If you would prefer to talk to an expert engineer about what Titanium can bring to your application, contact us today to start your journey.