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History

Titanium was discovered included in a mineral in Cornwall, England, in 1791 by amateur geologist and pastor William Gregor, then vicar of Creed parish. He recognized the presence of a new element in ilmenite when he found black sand by a stream in the nearby parish of Manaccan and noticed the sand was attracted by a magnet. Analysis of the sand determined the presence of two metal oxides; iron oxide (explaining the attraction to the magnet) and 45.25% of a white metallic oxide he could not identify. Gregor, realizing that the unidentified oxide contained a metal that did not match the properties of any known element, reported his findings to the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall and in the German science journal Crell's Annalen.
Titanium is always bonded to other elements in nature. It is the ninth-most abundant element in the Earth's crust (0.63% by mass) and the seventh-most abundant metal. It is present in most igneous rocks and in sediments derived from them.
It is widely distributed and occurs primarily in the minerals anatase, brookite, ilmenite, perovskite, rutile, titanite (sphene), as well in many iron ores. Of these minerals, only rutile and ilmenite have any economic importance, yet even they are difficult to find in high concentrations. Significant titanium-bearing ilmenite deposits exist in western Australia, Canada, China, India, New Zealand, Norway, and Ukraine.
The processes required to extract titanium from its various ores are laborious and costly; it is not possible to reduce in the normal manner, by heating in the presence of carbon, because that produces titanium carbide. Pure metallic titanium (99.9%) was first prepared in 1910 by Matthew A. Hunter at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Titanium metal was not used outside the laboratory until 1932 when William Justin Kroll proved that it could be produced by reducing titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4) with calcium. Eight years later he refined this process by using magnesium and even sodium in what became known as the Kroll process. Although research continues into more efficient and cheaper processes (e.g., FFC Cambridge), the Kroll process is still used for commercial production.
In the 1950s and 1960s the Soviet Union pioneered the use of titanium in military and submarine applications as part of programs related to the Cold War. Starting in the early 1950s, titanium began to be used extensively for military aviation purposes, particularly in high-performance jets, starting with aircraft such as the F100 Super Sabre and Lockheed A-12.

Production and fabrication
Atomic Number 22
Standard Atomic Weight 47,90
Density 4,50
Melting Point [°C] 1.670
Bulk Modulus [Gpa] 110
Heat Capacity 0,13
Linear thermal expansion 9
Thermal Conductivity 0,04
Electrical Resistivity 50
Boiling Point 3.289

The processing of titanium metal occurs in 4 major steps: reduction of titanium ore into "sponge", a porous form; melting of sponge, or sponge plus a master alloy to form an ingot; primary fabrication, where an ingot is converted into general mill products such as billet, bar, plate, sheet, strip, and tube; and secondary fabrication of finished shapes from mill products.
Because the metal reacts with oxygen at high temperatures it cannot be produced by reduction of its dioxide. Titanium metal is therefore produced commercially by the Kroll process, a complex and expensive batch process.
About 50 grades of titanium and titanium alloys are designated and currently used, although only a couple of dozen are readily available commercially. The ASTM International recognizes 31 Grades of titanium metal and alloys, of which Grades 1 through 4 are commercially pure (unalloyed). These four are distinguished by their varying degrees of tensile strength, as a function of oxygen content, with Grade 1 being the most ductile (lowest tensile strength with an oxygen content of 0.18%), and Grade 4 the least (highest tensile strength with an oxygen content of 0.40%). The remaining grades are alloys, each designed for specific purposes, its ductility, strength, hardness, electrical resistivity, creep resistance, resistance to corrosion from specific media, or a combination thereof.
In terms of fabrication, all welding of titanium must be done in an inert atmosphere of argon or helium in order to shield it from contamination with atmospheric gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, or hydrogen. Contamination will cause a variety of conditions, such as embrittlement, which will reduce the integrity of the assembly welds and lead to joint failure. Commercially pure flat product (sheet, plate) can be formed readily, but processing must take into account the fact that the metal has a "memory" and tends to spring back. This is especially true of certain high-strength alloys. The metal can be machined using the same equipment and via the same processes as stainless steel.

Applications

About 95% of titanium ore extracted from the Earth is destined for refinement into titanium dioxide (TiO2), an intensely white permanent pigment used in paints, paper, toothpaste, and plastics. In nature, this compound is found in the minerals anatase, brookite, and rutile.
Due to their high tensile strength to density ratio, high corrosion resistance, fatigue resistance, high crack resistance, and ability to withstand moderately high temperatures without creeping, titanium alloys are used in aircraft, armor plating, naval ships, spacecraft, and missiles. For these applications titanium alloyed with aluminium, vanadium, and other elements is used for a variety of components including critical structural parts, fire walls, landing gear, exhaust ducts (helicopters), and hydraulic systems.
Due to its high corrosion resistance to sea water, titanium is used to make propeller shafts and rigging and in the heat exchangers of desalination plants; in heater-chillers for salt water aquariums, fishing line and leader, and for divers' knives. Titanium is used to manufacture the housings and other components of ocean-deployed surveillance and monitoring devices for scientific and military use. The former Soviet Union developed techniques for making submarines largely out of titanium, which became both the fastest and deepest diving submarines of their time.
Welded titanium pipe and process equipment (heat exchangers, tanks, process vessels, valves) are used in the chemical and petrochemical industries primarily for corrosion resistance. Specific alloys are used in downhole and nickel hydrometallurgy applications due to their high strength titanium Beta C, corrosion resistance, or combination of both. The pulp and paper industry uses titanium in process equipment exposed to corrosive media such as sodium hypochlorite or wet chlorine gas (in the bleachery).
Titanium metal is used in automotive applications, particularly in automobile or motorcycle racing, where weight reduction is critical while maintaining high strength and rigidity.
Titanium has been used in architectural applications: the 40 m (120 foot) memorial to Yuri Gagarin, the first man to travel in space, in Moscow, is made of titanium for the metal's attractive color and association with rocketry. The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the Cerritos Millennium Library were the first buildings in Europe and North America, respectively, to be sheathed in titanium panels.
Because it is biocompatible (non-toxic and is not rejected by the body), titanium is used in a gamut of medical applications including surgical implements and implants, such as hip balls and sockets (joint replacement) that can stay in place for up to 20 years. Titanium has the inherent property to osseointegrate, enabling use in dental implants that can remain in place for over 30 years. This property is also useful for orthopedic implant applications.

Titanium, our precious metal

At the end of 30’s, with new technologies introduction, the Titanium began to be industrially used, mostly for weapon manufacturing in US. During the same period, the first surgeries with Titanium implant took place. Since then, the Titanium acquired growing importance also in Europe, Japan and in the ex-Soviet Union more info