What you really must know about the titanium element



So, let’s review the basics...titanium element is the 9th most abundant element in the earth's crust, and is classified as a transition metal. 13 isotopes of titanium have been discovered and are recorded in the chemist journals. What is known as "natural" titanium includes five isotopes that are stable (are not changing their initial state) with atomic masses titanium-46, titanium-47, titanium-48, titanium-49, and titanium-50, blah, blah....

Okay, I’ll tell you …..

Isotopes of the element titanium differ from each other according to their mass number. The number written to the right of the element's name is the mass number. The mass number represents the number of protons plus neutrons in the nucleus of an atom. The number of protons determines the element, but the number of neutrons in the atom of any one element may vary. Each variation is an isotope. If you don’t know what a proton or a neutron is, you really don’t need this kind of information, or you can look at the page describing in more detail the properties of titanium atom.

Titanium element symbol in the periodic table of elements is TI. Its name derives from Greek Titans – who were a race of powerful deities that ruled during the legendary Golden Age.

Titanium element was first discovered as a compound of titanium and oxygen in Cornish beach sands by the proud Reverend William Gregor, then vicar of Creed parish, in 1791. He was also a mineralogist, so don’t panic. Later on, it was independently rediscovered, identified and named by German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth in 1795 in rutile from Hungary.

More than a century had to pass until impure titanium is first prepared by Nilson and Pettersson (1887). Pure titanium element production needed some other decades, until Matthew A. Hunter, an American metallurgist, in either 1906 or 1910 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, N.Y., U.S.) heated Titanium Chloride TiCl4 with sodium in a steel tube and isolated 99.6% pure titanium.

But real mass production of titanium was possible in 1932 when William J. Kroll of Luxembourg produced significant quantities of ductile titanium from ilmenite by combining TiCl4 with calcium. By 1938 Kroll had produced 20 kilograms (50 pounds) of titanium and was convinced that it possessed excellent corrosion and strength properties. At the start of World War II he fled Europe and continued his work in the United States at the Union Carbide Company and later at the U.S. Bureau of Mines. Kroll is now recognized as the father of the modern titanium industry, and the Kroll process is the basis for most current titanium production.

That should give you some basic information about what is titanium. Now, let’s go deeper. Titanium element is also the fourth most abundant structural metal on Earth. There are many places where is titanium found.

Annually world wide production is around 99,000 tons. Primary titanium mining areas are in Norway, India, Brazil, Canada, USA, and Russia. Total known reserves of titanium are estimated to exceed 600 million tones. That’s should be enough for launching at least Enterprise – A in the near future, and then it is very likely that we would find more reserves in the outer space.

Titanium element is much sought after due to it unmatched strength to weight ratio and for its ability to alloy with aluminum, molybdenum, iron, manganese and other metals to form even harder titanium alloys. These are used in situations where lightweight, strength, toughness and ability to withstand temperature extremes are required - aerospace applications, marine environments. Titanium element properties allow several uses in components which must be exposed to seawater - propeller shafts, rigging and other parts of boats. Because it is inert in the body, titanium has also several medical applications.

Titanium dioxide is used to make man-made gemstones, although the resulting stone – titania - is relatively soft.

Titanium tetrachloride is used to iridize glass. Since this compound of titanium fumes strongly in air, it is also used to produce smoke screens.

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