Titanium Only – the e-zine about titanium metal and titanium applications

“If you took them [VSMPO] out of the equation, the price of titanium would skyrocket so much that people would have to move to other technologies.”

John Byrne, Boeing Commercial Airplane Summary:

1. Titanium outlook in 2011 and onward

2. New titanium applications

3. Titanium joke of the day

4. Latest developments in titaniumexposed.com

1. Titanium outlook in 2011 and onward

We have experienced in 2009 and 2010 one of the greatest economical recession in history. Only time will tell if this was just a normal phase of the economic cycle or a critical intersection that will fundamentally change the way we think the economy should work. Each perspective has its own backers and opponents, so we just have to wait to see how this very interesting debate settles.

Whatever the outcome, the economics is still fundamentally a social process, so, as long as there are people around, products will me made and sold, money will exchange hands and the wheel will keep on turning.

Let’s see how titanium fared and will fare in those new economic conditions. The maximum global capacity of titanium sponge production reached a maximum in 2008, after a continuous and steady increase, up to 270000 tones/year. The actual output of titanium sponge was estimated at about 180000 tons in 2008. This is the greatest value that was ever achieved by primary producers for the glamour metal. In order to better understand this figure, I will just want to say that the world output for steel is about 1200 million tons and that for an AIRBUS 380, one of the largest planes in development, up to 150 tons of titanium are used.

So, theoretically we could make around 1000 planes in 2008, with the titanium the humanity had produced. On the other hand the fictional Enterprise NCC-1701 – the starship that starred in the first Star Trek Series – was imagined to have 190000 tones weight. We could have launched our first inter stellar mission in 2008, should we had the technology. Titanium would not have been a problem.

Beginning in late 2008, and continuing throughout 2009, the titanium sponge output declined sharply down to 120000 tones. The various delays in great aircraft projects and the global economical downfall have also led to closing some titanium production capacities all around the world.

However, in 2010 the output rose again, along with the economy, up to 150000 tones, which is not very far from pre-crisis levels. This still leaves a great cap between actual output – which is limited by market absorbing capabilities and actual titanium capacity, which remained more or less around the maximum value of 270000 tones per year. This will likely have an impact on titanium prices. On the long term titanium prices will be capped as long as the actual market demand will not meet or possibly exceed the already outstanding supply.

There are some certain things. It is nor easy, nor cheap to actually close a titanium sponge production facility. Moreover, although more commercially available today, titanium is still a strategic material, position that sometimes allows it to deviate from “pure market” conditions. Therefore, it is unlikely that there will be any actual closures of titanium plants, except maybe, in China, which has an estimated production capacity of 120000 tones/year and may afford to close some smaller, higher cost production plants.

Assuming the demand of titanium will rise, it still feasible to assume that the growth rates will be lower than pre-crisis levels, so a market balance is not probable until the onset of 2014 or 2015.

2. New titanium applications

The latest application of titanium in commercial applications is provided by
i.materialise. They are the world’s first 3D printing service to let consumers order titanium 3D prints. Titanium 3D printing opens up an entirely new world of advanced engineering, manufacturing and jewelry applications for creative people worldwide. Titanium’s high heat resistance, high accuracy and unparalleled strength lets designers now make things that before now could only be made by the research and development departments of only the largest corporations in the world. By putting this technology in the public’s hands they are democratizing manufacturing and giving you the opportunity to design and order something this is exactly as you want it to be.

3. Titanium joke of the day

On a Saturday night, a guy goes out to town and meets a lovely young lady. He offers her a drink, they get along well and they finally end up in her apartment making out. One thing led to another and they soon begin a long session of heavy lovemaking. After is finished, the guy asks: “Well, everything okay?” “Yes, dear, you were great, but you know…I’d like some more…” He cannot refuse such a gracious request and soon they’re going at it again. Half an hour later, the guy, a little bit shaken, looks at her again. “Honey, you were fantastic, it was the best sex I ever had…but, if possible, can we do it again, please?” He goes to the kitchen, drinks a glass of wine and they begin again. This is time he is determined to give his best shot, he uses every trick in the book, and, a couple of hours later, exhausted, he looks at the girl, panting, with a questioning look in his eyes. “Oh, God”, says her, “I didn’t even imagine that this kind of experience was even possible. Absolutely unbelievable.” He sighs relieved. “But, honey, you know…maybe we can do it just one more time?”

Exasperated, the guy says: “Girl, you’re unbelievable. You need a titanium dick to be satisfied, don’t you?”

She raises her brow and answers: “I need?”

4. Latest developments in titaniumexposed.com

Regarding titaniumexposed.com project, the latest major development was the introduction of Presidents Titanium section. There are a lot of things everybody knows about titanium. There are also a lot of things nobody knows about titanium. It is practically impossible for a single person to know everything there is to know about this metal. That’s why I’ve decided to enlist the help of certain individuals that have a lot of knowledge about a specific thing about the titanium metal. I call such an individual a President Titanium – because, he is, same as a true president, the master of his domain. He can teach, explain and expose titanium with the best of them. The President Titanium for the month of December is Theodore Gray. His full name is Theodore Wilt Gray, he was born in Louisiana and he is now age 46. He is also a prominent element collector; best know for his wooden periodic table of elements which has compartments that can hold samples of each element. This creation won him an IG Nobel prize for chemistry in 2002. IG Nobel prizes are an American parody of the Nobel Prizes and are given each year in early October for ten achievements that "first make people laugh, and then make them think”. You can check out his views about titanium metal here If you know or have learnt about somebody that you’d like to see interviewed in this section you can use the comment form at the bottom of the page.

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