Titanium metal is currently used for an ever-widening array of applications as it is a low density and extremely corrosion resistant metal. Its high strength to weight ratio means it is as strong as steel but half the weight per volume. Titanium used in manufacturing most often takes the form of a titanium alloy, which is pure titanium combined with other metals that alter its properties.
The different types of titanium alloys are organized into titanium grades, which define its properties and uses and allow manufacturers to determine the most suitable grade for their applications. Titanium has a few unusual qualities which make it a highly desirable metal in a broad range of industries. It has excellent corrosion resistance, high heat resistance, low conductivity and elasticity and high strength to weight ratios. It is used widely for products which require ductility, strength and a high melting point. The navy, marine industries, aquariums, automotive manufacturers, racing sports, jewelers and the aerospace industry all buy titanium to manufacture their products and materials. It is fabricated into many different shapes, including titanium tubing, titanium pipes, titanium wire, titanium bars, titanium plate, titanium foil, titanium rods and titanium sheet, by hot or cold forming, flat rolling, extrusion or welding. These titanium materials are either used as parts, sold as products or sold as stock items in order to be further processed.
Although titanium is a naturally and abundantly occurring element (it is the ninth most abundant element on Earth), it does not occur in pure form and is usually found in mineral deposits in the form of ilmenite. Titanium is extracted most often using the Kroll or Hunter methods, which involve reducing titanium tetrachloride with magnesium. This reduction yields a raw and highly porous ore, which is called a sponge and pressed or melted into blocks for fabrication. When titanium is heated above a certain temperature it reacts with oxygen and either absorbs the oxide and changes its chemistry or becomes explosive, therefore forging and forming titanium can also be difficult and costly. Titanium's natural qualities of strength, low density, ductility and heat transference are often alloyed with various metals to create a hybrid of properties that better suit it to machining. Titanium steel is lighter and far more resistant to corrosion than regular steels; aluminum titanium alloys are finer and stronger; iron, copper and manganese titanium alloys also benefit from combining their strengths with titanium's properties.
There are 38 grades of titanium classified by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). The first 5 grades are unalloyed, and the rest contain different ratios of elements such as aluminum, vanadium, tin, molybdenum, palladium, zirconium, niobium, nickel, ruthenium, silicon and iron. Titanium is also classified into 3 groups of structural alloys. Alpha titanium is usually alloyed with aluminum and tin, and is low to medium strength, non heat treatable and wieldable. It is ductile, has high notch toughness, and good mechanical properties at cryogenic temperatures. It also has the highest corrosion resistance and is used in the manufacturing of airplane parts and chemical processing equipment. Alpha Beta titanium is medium to high strength, heat treatable and wieldable. It is often hot formed and has limited cold forming abilities. Alpha Beta titanium is used to make marine hardware, aircrafts and prosthetic devices. Finally, Beta titanium, the smallest group, is the highest in strength, most dense, fully heat treatable and wieldable. It exhibits high formability and is often extruded to make heavy duty aircraft parts which are required to maintain structure and shape even under extreme pressure.
The extraction process of titanium is fairly costly and tim consuming, but the parts and products it produces have many different uses and can be used in a wide range of applications. Once processed into an ore in the form of foil, sheet, wire, granules, sponge, powder, mesh and rod, titanium is relatively easy to fabricate into products and is extremely useful. This usefulness is why many industries choose titanium even at a higher cost and research is continually being done on more possible uses for titanium. Aquarium, naval, marine and other saltwater industries often use titanium tubing and titanium sheet for underwater parts due to its resistance to salt erosion, stress, microbiological corrosion and pitting. Because it is such a lightweight material with high strength, parts are manufactured from titanium plates by the automotive industry for valve springs, rocker arms, connecting rods, exhaust systems, drive shafts and steering gears. The biomedical industry uses titanium wire and bars in the production of orthopedic devices and catheters. Racing sports specifically use titanium to increase vehicular speed as it has high heat resistance and strength. Surgical and dental industries use titanium wire and titanium instruments to decrease the chance of allergic reactions and many kinds of prosthesis are manufactured from pure titanium because it does not contaminate or corrode in the body. The aerospace industry uses titanium quite extensively for jet engines, missiles and spacecrafts. Further specialized applications for titanium, titanium oxide and titanium alloys include semiconductor and battery titanium wires, chemical and petroleum handling, agri-food titanium tubing, orthopedics, sporting goods equipment, paint, toothpaste, paper, plastics, cement, jewelry and gem fabrication.
Titanium is a chemical element that, due to its low density and superior strength, is used in a large number of industrial processes and applications. Being a lustrous transition metal, titanium has a unique role in a wide range of applications. The material originates in mineral deposits and is found in nearly all living things, such as, rocks, water, and land samples. The element is primarily available as titanium dioxide, from which the core material is sourced. However, the element is also is found in trichloride and tetrachloride-Titanium Trichloride and Titanium Tetrachloride.
For industrial objectives, titanium represents many appealing attributes, such as corrosion resistance in sea water, salt water, and chlorine solutions. Due to its light weight, it is a preferred metal and metal alloy used in the aerospace industry.
The following passages talk about various industrial uses of titanium and its alloys -
Titanium is a bio-compatible material and is suitable for the production of medical equipment to provide treatment to us. According to an article published on Titanium.com, the human body can handle a large amount of titanium without causing any adverse impact. The same article also states that titanium has a very similar density to human bones. For that reason, the material and its compositions can be directly used for our treatment. The material is largely used in joint replacement treatments. Apart from this, titanium is also used in hip balls, heart stents, and dental replacements.
Titanium alloys are also considered a key ingredient in numerous products that we see or use in our day-today life. For example, paints, inks, plastic, cosmetics, and a number of food products have some kind of titanium oxides, trichlorides, and tetrachlorides used in their production.
You may have heard about the famous Blackbird war aircraft. It was the first aircraft that had titanium as the key component of its structure. The structure and the outer shell, both were made heavily from this strong material. The very reason why titanium was used in the production of the Blackbird aircraft was its strength and high melting temperature. Any other material would have completely dissolved in the air. This tried and tested material is also involved in the production of missiles, spaceships, and space stations. The deployment of this metal ensures that the flying machine can resist very high temperatures, hundreds of kilometers per hour speed, and a bulky weight. Notably, the speed of the Blackbird craft was about 3500 kilometers per hour.
Apart from medical equipment, titanium also finds enormous utilization in sporting activities. An unlimited number of sporting tools and equipment are made from titanium, to have a greater and more reliable strength. The lightweight bicycles that are also known for their robustness, are made from titanium. The same article on Titanium.com mentions the weight of the most lightweight sporting bicycle is just 6 pounds. Racing bikes that need speed, power, and consistency are made from this material.
What is Titanium?
Titanium, in the simplest definition, is a transition metal that in chemistry and by scientists, is often referred to as the symbol Ti. Having an atomic number of 22 and the atomic weight of 47.90, titanium is a lightweight material that is silver in color. The metal is very similar to zirconium and silcon. Just like these two materials, Titanium also has a greater resistance against corrosion and heat, in addition to being one of the strongest materials used across industries, including aerospace, medical, cosmetics, and metal fabrication.
Titanium has an extreme high density of 4510 kg/m3, an ideal state for a large number of robust applications that are used underwater, as well as in the sky. The density of titanium is very close to that of steel and aluminum. In addition to this, this ultimate metal can sustain a very high temperatures, to be specific, about 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. In liquid state, the metal boils at around 6, 000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although found in almost all living and natural conditions, titanium is the fourth most rare element on the Earth. According to geologists, Titanium only contributes 0.62 percent of the earth's crust. Titanium is found in minerals, water, stones, rocks, and several other natural settings. Titanium is naturally found in oxides, trichlorides, and tetrchlorides
So far, scientists have developed more than a thousand alloys of titanium, which are categorized in four different ways. The categorization of titanium alloys is done based on how they have been prepared and which metals or alloys are used for the preparation of the alloys. Zinc, tin, zirconium, cobalt, etc. are some of the most frequently used materials for the production of titanium alloys.
The alloy in the Alpha plus Beta categorization are also based on the robustness. Near Alpha blends reflect medium strength, and Beta alloys have the highest.
As stated earlier, titanium offers good corrosion resistance, and due to that, it is considered suitable for numerous applications in metal finishing and fabrication industry. Titanium alloys are also used for the production of heat exchange coils and linings. Titanium is also characterized by its great resilience against chlorine and chlorine based acids. That is why, it is used as a key element in pumps and heat exchanger units in various industrial and chemical plants. Oil refineries make use of titanium as a coolant in their condenser tubes.
Additionally, titanium is used in medical industry, for the production of a medical equipment and orthopedic and orthodontic transplants. Titanium has a very similar density to human bones. Therefore, the metal makes an ideal choice for joint and tooth replacement.
Many sporting tools are also made from titanium alloys. The utilization of Titanium provides equipment with robustness and resilience against deterioration.
Titanium Manufacturing Process
The process of titanium alloy manufacturing or the extraction of titanium from natural resources involves these stages - extraction, purification, sponge production, and alloy creation. Waste management is also an important process of titanium alloy manufacturing.
The use of titanium in each industry is gaining momentum with every passing day. All thanks to the researchers and scientists, who contributed in the revelation of the advantages of this metal. It is their studies that made the business aware about the positives of using titanium. Titanium is used across industries in various applications for the production of a large number of products, appliances, machines, and mechanisms.
Here we will underline some of the most lucrative advantages of titanium, as well as how and where titanium is used.
Advantage of Titanium:
Five biggest benefits of titanium -
Uses of Titanium:
As stated earlier, titanium is widely used in applications across industries. Here is how the metal and its composites are used by five different industries -
|Grade 1||Unalloyed titanium, low oxygen|
|Grade 2||Unalloyed titanium, standard oxygen|
|Grade 2H||Unalloyed titanium (Grade 2 with 58 ksi minimum UTS)|
|Grade 3||Unalloyed titanium, medium oxygen|
|Grade 5||Titanium alloy (6 % aluminum, 4 % vanadium)|
|Grade 7||Unalloyed titanium plus 0.12 to 0.25 % palladium, standard oxygen|
|Grade 7H||Unalloyed titanium plus 0.12 to 0.25 % palladium (Grade 7 with 58 ksi minimum UTS)|
|Grade 9||Titanium alloy (3 % aluminum, 2.5 % vanadium)|
|Grade 11||Unalloyed titanium plus 0.12 to 0.25 % palladium, low oxygen|
|Grade 12||Titanium alloy (0.3 % molybdenum, 0.8 % nickel)|
|Grade 13||Titanium alloy (0.5 % nickel, 0.05 % ruthenium) low oxygen|
|Grade 14||Titanium alloy (0.5 % nickel, 0.05 % ruthenium) standard oxygen|
|Grade 15||Titanium alloy (0.5 % nickel, 0.05 % ruthenium) medium oxygen|
|Grade 16||Unalloyed titanium plus 0.04 to 0.08 % palladium, standard oxygen|
|Grade 16H||Unalloyed titanium plus 0.04 to 0.08 % palladium (Grade 16 with 58 ksi minimum UTS)|
|Grade 17||Unalloyed titanium plus 0.04 to 0.08 % palladium, low oxygen|
|Grade 18||Titanium alloy (3 % aluminum, 2.5 % vanadium plus 0.04 to 0.08 % palladium)|
|Grade 19||Titanium alloy (3 % aluminum, 8 % vanadium, 6 % chromium, 4 % zirconium, 4 % molybdenum)|
|Grade 20||Titanium alloy (3 % aluminum, 8 % vanadium, 6 % chromium, 4 % zirconium, 4 % molybdenum) plus 0.04 to 0.08 % palladium|
|Grade 21||Titanium alloy (15 % molybdenum, 3 % aluminum, 2.7 % niobium, 0.25 % silicon)|
|Grade 23||Titanium alloy (6 % aluminum, 4 % vanadium, extra low interstitial, ELI)|
|Grade 24||Titanium alloy (6 % aluminum, 4 % vanadium) plus 0.04 to 0.08 % palladium|
|Grade 25||Titanium alloy (6 % aluminum, 4 % vanadium) plus 0.3 to 0.8 % nickel and 0.04 to 0.08 % palladium|
|Grade 26||Unalloyed titanium plus 0.08 to 0.14 % ruthenium|
|Grade 26H||Unalloyed titanium plus 0.08 to 0.14 % ruthenium (Grade 26 with 58 ksi minimum UTS)|
|Grade 27||Unalloyed titanium plus 0.08 to 0.14 % ruthenium|
|Grade 28||Titanium alloy (3 % aluminum, 2.5 % vanadium plus 0.08 to 0.14 % ruthenium)|
|Grade 29||Titanium alloy (6 % aluminum, 4 % vanadium, extra low interstitial, ELI plus 0.08 to 0.14 % ruthenium)|
|Grade 33||Titanium alloy (0.4 % nickel, 0.015 % palladium, 0.025 % ruthenium, 0.15 % chromium)|
|Grade 34||Titanium alloy (0.4 % nickel, 0.015 % palladium, 0.025 % ruthenium, 0.15 % chromium)|
|Grade 35||Titanium alloy (4.5 % aluminum, 2 % molybdenum, 1.6 % vanadium, 0.5 % iron, 0.3 % silicon)|
|Grade 36||Titanium alloy (45 % niobium)|
|Grade 37||Titanium alloy (1.5 % aluminum)|
|Grade 38||Titanium alloy (4 % aluminum, 2.5 % vanadium, 1.5 % iron)|
*These figures are guidelines based on industry research; they should not be presumed accurate under all circumstances and are not a substitute for certified measurements. The information is not to be interpreted as absolute material properties nor does it constitute a representation or warranty for which we assume legal liability. User shall determine suitability of the material for the intended use and assumes all risk and liability whatsoever in connection therewith.
- A brittle, oxygen-enriched surface layer that is caused by the heat treatment of titanium at high temperatures in an oxygen atmosphere. Alpha case should be removed prior to any subsequent processing or finishing, as it can result in the embrittlement of the titanium material, making it susceptible to stress corrosion.
- To coat or cover a metallic surface with a protective or decorative oxide using electricity. The colors produced by anodizing do not fade, as they are not a dye or a pigment.
- A mechanical grit or abrasive blasting process used to remove scale from larger titanium products, such as ingots and billets. The grit, composed of silica, zircon and aluminum, leaves a fine dust that is removed from the titanium by a pickling process.
- An alloying element that is used in several titanium alloys. Chromium typically has an alloying weight percentage range of 2-12%.
- The amount of mass contained within a specific volume under standardized conditions. The density of titanium is 4,507 kg m-3, while the density of silver is 10,490 kg m-3.
- The elements oxygen, nitrogen and carbon, referred to as interstitials, which have been reduced beyond the standard titanium alloy requirements in order to improve the ductility and fracture toughness of the alloys.
- A condition of metal that results in the metal's losing a large quantity of ductility and/or toughness. Several sources-such as hydrogen pickup from water vapor, pickling acids and hydrocarbons and liquid metal embrittlement from liquid cadmium, mercury and silver-cause embrittlement in the susceptible titanium alloys.
- The number given to the variety of types of titanium that distinguishes the different qualities and purities of that titanium and its alloys from those of other types. Grade 2 is the most common form of pure titanium, while Grade 4 is the strongest.
- Microstructures that connect to form titanium. The changing of the size and shape of the grains through controlled processes results in the enhancement of the mechanical properties of titanium alloys.
- A particle of foreign material, such as oxide, sulfide or silicate compounds, embedded within titanium products. If left unattended, inclusions may cause failure of the material.
- A widely-used procedure for cutting thin gauge titanium products to close tolerances.
- The temperature at which a solid liquefies at standard atmospheric pressure (SAP). The melting point of titanium is 3,034°F (1667.8°C).
- A process that removes oxide film from the surface of titanium products through chemical bathing.