Titanium is a refractory material with atomic number 22. Most commonly used in manufacturing, medical equipment, and aerospace industries, this super-strong metal is quite lightweight as compared to steel. It is a remarkable metal that is used in everything from engagement rings to dental implants.
Let’s discover more about this peculiar metal in the following facts about titanium.
You may consider titanium to be a rare metal, provided that it is so costly. But in reality, titanium makes up about 0.44% of the earth’s crust and is abundantly found on Earth. In fact, it is the 9th most common element found in the crust of our Earth. So why is it so expensive if it is found abundantly? Well, that’s because it is usually bonded with other elements, which makes the processing of this metal super hard and expensive.
Due to its super strength, titanium is named after the mythical Greek gods, Titans, who are the sons of the Earth Goddess. It is a particularly strong metal with an incredibly lightweight. Although it is as strong as steel, titanium is 55% lighter than it. Moreover, it is two times stronger than aluminum but 60% heavier. Due to its incredible strength, titanium is used in airplanes, dental and medical equipment, piercings, and lacrosse sticks.
That’s right! Naturally, this super-strong metal is resistant to corrosion. When you expose titanium to oxygen for the first time, a light layer of oxide is developed surrounding it to protect it from corroding. For added protection against corrosion, some manufacturers also mix titanium with other metals to create an alloy with super resilience against corrosion.
Discovered in 1791 by William Gregor, titanium was originally called manaccanite. William was a pastor in a South Cornwall village called Manaccan in the UK. The pastor reported his discovery to the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall and also published it in a German journal named Crell’s Annalen. Although the elements are usually named after their discoverers, it wasn’t the case with titanium.
Four years later, in 1795, titanium was again independently discovered by Martin Heinrich Klaproth, a German chemist who gave it the name after the Greek Titans. When Martin learned that the same metal had previously been discovered by the English pastor William, Martin credited him with the discovery. However, no one was able to isolate titanium until 1910 when a metallurgist from New York did it and decided to maintain the name “titanium.”
The reason why titanium is used in medical and dental implants is that it is practically never rejected by our bodies. It is the most biocompatible material for human bodies. Moreover, it can easily withstand the peculiar environment of a human body and is more compatible with other metals that are used as medical implants. The metal can osseointegrate, meaning that the bone grows into titanium implants, which makes them much stronger.
Titanium is widely found in the world, including inside the human body. Yes, that’s right! The metal naturally occurs in the human body, on Earth, on the moon, in seawater, in plants, in the Sun, in meteors, and in stars. However, it is not present freely in its pure state. It is bonded with other metals. It is mostly found on Earth in volcanic rocks. Nearly all of them have titanium.
Although titanium is purified to be used in a lot of products, 95% of its applications lie in the production of titanium dioxide, which is used as a pigment in sunscreens, cosmetics, toothpaste, paint, paper, and other products.
Titanium is considered a non-reactive metal used for making jewelry. However, titanium shavings and dust are reactive and can prove to be a great fire hazard. The non-reactive quality of titanium comes with its passivation, which is when metals create an oxide layer on their outside to protect themselves against corrosion.
Since titanium containers are corrosion-resistant, they can last for up to 100,000 years. This makes them capable of storing nuclear waste.
Some 24k gold is actually an alloy of titanium and gold. It is not pure gold. It is made with 1% titanium and 99% gold to make it more durable and long-lasting.
China is the biggest producer of titanium in the world, whereas Russia is the second-biggest producer of metal.
Being a transition metal, titanium shares its properties with other metals, such as its melting point and its high strength. However, it is not a good conductor of electricity or heat like other metals. It is also not dense or magnetic.
Titanium is used in airplanes. The Boeing 737 Dreamliner has 15% of titanium, which makes it super strong and sturdy.
The International Space Station (ISS) is made up of various titanium parts, such as pipes. Moreover, an etched piece of this metal was also sent out of the International Space Station into space to see how it reacts with the radiation and unique environment of space. This mission was carried out under the Rosetta Project, which is a research project carried out to preserve human thoughts and languages.
Titanium is used in 3D printing as a raw material. In fact, some researchers in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization of Australia also created a pair of titanium horseshoes using 3D printing.
Titanium has an incredibly high melting point. If you try to melt it, it won’t turn into a liquid until you heat it to 3,034 degrees Fahrenheit. To help you understand how high that is, aluminum melts at just 1,221 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas iron melts at 2,750 degrees Fahrenheit. However, its melting point still remains lower than that of tungsten which is a whopping 6,192 degrees Fahrenheit.
There exists a Titanium Man in the Marvel Universe, who is a fictional supervillain. Titanium Man appeared in 1965 in Tales of Suspense, created by Don Heck and Stan Lee. Titanium Man had green armor, just like Iron Man. Ever since his introduction, Titanium Man became widely popular and was even featured in his own video games, as action toy figures, and on television as an enemy boss.
Due to its super strength against corrosion and its resistance against seawater, titanium is widely used in the production of ships. The metal takes more than a thousand years before its corrosion starts in the seawater, which makes it an ideal material for ships.
Titanium comes in different grades. Titanium grade 1 is incredibly soft and ductile. In contrast, the grade 4 titanium is extremely strong with incredible resistance to corrosion.
Since titanium can be altered to create various colors, titanium is also known as rainbow metal. Some jewelers anodize titanium into an electrolyte solution to create beautiful colors. This is achieved by passing electricity through the metal to create a light-refractive oxide on the titanium’s surface.
Recently on GCN and GCN Tech, we’ve looked at carbon myths, we’ve lifted the lid on aluminum, and investigated whether steel is, in fact, real. But there’s one big gap in the GCN materials science course, though. Titanium. Simon has a look at a number of things you might not know about titanium. Simon dives in deep to have a look at what makes titanium arguably the most desirable material to have a bike made from and just what makes titanium bikes so expensive. This is definitely one for the science glasses, as we discuss Young’s Moduli, density, and even the technique needed to weld titanium.
This pretty much sums up the most remarkable facts about titanium. When compared to other metals, titanium has quite unique properties and qualities, which makes it a really valuable metal among the rest. Our favorite fact about titanium definitely has to be how it can be altered to produce beautiful rainbow-like colors.
I’m Natalie Garcia and I started this website to share my love of trivia, facts and fun knowledge tidbits. We cover things like celebrity gossip, historical facts, tv shows, world leaders and just odd and random fun things. I started this site to have some fun with my hobby and share some useful information with you, our community. Please feel to send me your suggestions and feedback through the contact form. And if you have suggestions for things to write about, please shoot me a message!