Titanium symbol – the letters in front of the master of the universe of metals

The official titanium symbol, the one that is used in the periodical table of elements is TI. It respects the universal naming convention for the symbols of the chemical elements, by using the first and the second letters of the official English or Latin name.

Since different isotopes of the element contain different numbers of neutrons in the nuclei of their atoms, isotopes of the titanium will have different atomic masses. The symbol for the isotopes is the symbol for titanium followed by the mass number, TI46, TI48, etc. Though it is usually considered that the name was given in order to better highlight the special properties of titanium, in fact, when the metal was first discovered, there were no clues as to how titanium metal really was, regarding durability, strength and toughness – which are also the matching characteristics of the mythological Titans.

Titanium was named at its second discovery by German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth in 1795 in rutile from Hungary. The perfect matching of the mythological strength of the titans and titanium high strength was merely a coincidence, as Klaproth declares:

"Whenever no name can be found for a new fossil which indicates its peculiar and characteristic properties (in which situation I find myself at present) I think it best to choose such a denomination as means nothing of itself, and thus can give no rise to any erroneous ideas. (Lavoisier had suggested similar precautions for naming new elements.) In consequence of this, as I did in the case of Uranium, I shall borrow the name for this metallic substance from mythology, and in particular from the Titans, the first sons of the earth. I therefore call this new metallic genus Titanium."

However this didn’t stop titanium symbol to become even more know than the titans themselves. It is said that Cronos, the youngest of the titans, attacked and mutilated his hated father, Uranus, and became master of the universe. He kept this longed position for quite some time until he was finally overthrown by his son Zeus after a 10-year battle. The titanium metal is a high-tech material whose future lies ahead of it. That is because titanium is on its way to becoming the master of the universe among metals. Quite naturally actually, due to the broad spectrum of titanium applications that are employed more and more in our era. Mythological or not, the titans are a thing of the past, though the entertainment industry may still make use of them – see “Clash of the Titans”, the new Hollywood block-buster.

Titanium symbol may also be found in abbreviations of the main alloys, as titanium is almost never used pure in common items. The best known are TI6AL4V and TI3AL2.5V. The numbers represent the respective proportions of the alloying elements, expressed in percents, with AL standing for aluminum, and V for vanadium.

The cultural strength of titanium symbol has become so predominant, that the most unusual applications are sought for titanium metal, even in places where titanium is unsuitable. For instance, there are people who are trying to develop titanium blades for swords and knives, though the metal is not the best option for creating and maintaining a cutting edge. There are titanium knives available, but there were created for specific needs, generally unrelated to strength and heavy duty, but rather to take advantage of other titanium properties, such as lightness – in case of titanium knives intended for backpacking and corrosion resistance – in the case of diving knives. As the latter also expect heavy use in stressful marine environments, usually titanium coating is employed to enhance durability and strength.

Titanium symbol

A modern attempt of making a more sophisticated titanium symbol was made by the artist Murray Robertson, at the request of Metal Prices. The design was based on an ancient Celtic titan symbol and the result is pretty impressive, though it is more likely to benefit the titans more than the titanium metal, as there may be few people that can recognize a titan, especially in this ancient, stylized, form, than those who are capable of identifying titanium by the first two letters of its name.

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