Titanium is a widely popular and highly valuable metal, known for its extreme strength, hardness, durability, heat resistance and corrosion resistance. One of the strongest metals on the planet, titanium is approximately 45% stronger, lighter than steel but just as strong, and it is about twice as strong as aluminum, while only carrying 60% of the weight. Because titanium is so strong, and also because it is highly sterile, it is particularly popular for use in surgical and medical, automotive, aerospace and military applications.
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Titanium Extraction and Formation
Titanium is the ninth most abundant metal found in the earth’s crust, but it is not found in pure form. Instead, it must be carefully extracted from mineral deposits, also known as ores, such as Ilmenite, Sphene or Rutile. For this reason, titanium prices are fairly high, especially as compared to the prices of other metals, such as stainless steel. To extract titanium from the ore, manufacturers may employ a number of different extraction methods, the most common of which is the Kroll Method. Using the Kroll Method, titanium manufacturers produce titanium in highly porous pieces known as sponges. To do so, they first use fractional distillation to form titanium tetrachloride. After the formation of titanium tetrachloride, they reduce it down, using magnesium, into a functional metallic form. From here, the resulting titanium sponge is usually pressed or melted into castings. When melted, pure titanium can be altered with other elements in order to become an alloy. Either way, castings impart them with new forms, such as sheets, foil, bars, wire, granules or powders, which can then be distributed to parts manufacturers.
Processes and Applications for Titanium
Once titanium metals are distributed to a manufacturing company, the company will select either sacrificial nodes, which are used to protect base structures, or or plating anodes, which are used in plating or electroplating processes. When these are used in conjunction with other techniques such as casting, cold forming, extrusion, flat rolling, forging, hot forming, machining, spinning, welding and/or wrought processes, the results are well-formed stock shapes or durable and highly useful final products.
Titanium in the Medical Industry
Despite their prices, titanium products continue to be sought after by customers who value or require the properties it offers. In addition to those properties already mentioned, it should be noted that titanium has a very high boiling point, is non-reactive to flesh and bone and high tolerance to pressure. These characteristics make titanium an asset to the medical field, where it serves as the material for items including surgical instruments, prosthetics and implants of various kinds. They are especially popular in bone plate surgeries and joint replacement surgeries. In the case of healthcare and surgery, the height of titanium prices are overlooked because they are far outweighed by the benefits of titanium, which include a drastically reduced likelihood of infection, allergic reaction and/or the rejection of artificial parts by the body.
Titanium in the Transportation Industry
Also, titanium is essential to the safe and superior function of cars used for NASCAR racing. The advantages of the metal make titanium prices worth it for militaries as well, where titanium is used to make all kinds of equipment or equipment components, from missiles to helicopters. In fact, by using titanium in their fabrication during the Cold War, the Soviets submarines were able to travel deeper because the titanium provided such an increase in pressure tolerance. Titanium prices also balance out in the large volume production of jewelry, as it is relatively inert and can be easily colored.
Grades of Titanium
Titanium prices additionally vary based on the grade of the titanium being sold. A material grade is classification of a material based on its composition and physical properties. Titanium grades are regulated primarily by ASTM International, which provides these general guidelines: Grades 5, 23, 24, 25, 29, 35 and 36 can be provided as aged or annealed; grades 9, 18, 28 and 38 can be provided as annealed, cold worked or stress relieved; grades 9, 18, 23, 28 and 29 are available in transformed-beta condition and grades 19, 20 and 21 can be purchased as solution treated or solution treated and aged. Of all the titanium grades, the most commonly used and therefore one of the least expensive is grade 5 titanium. It is chemically composed of 6% aluminum, 4% vanadium, a maximum of .25% iron and a maximum of .2% oxygen, with the remainder being titanium. To find out more and to compare and contrast titanium prices, contact a few different reputable titanium manufacturers. Discover some of the best and most experienced titanium companies by browsing the information on and the websites of the companies we have listed near the top of this page.