Titanium: Definition, Material Properties, Origins, Applications

Last Updated on December 15, 2023 by assistant

What is titanium?

Titanium is a chemical element with the symbol Ti and atomic number 22. “Tai” in Chinese pinyin, Titanium is a transition metal known for its excellent strength, low density, and excellent corrosion resistance. Titanium is the ninth most abundant element in the earth’s crust, but it does not exist in its pure form. Because the extraction process is complex and requires a lot of energy, its cost is relatively high compared to other metals. Our common titantium exists in the form of alloys.


The origin history of titanium

Questions like “Where does titanium come from? Where was titanium discovered? Who discovered titanium?” It has always been a topic of discussion. According to relevant records, titantium is mainly obtained from minerals found in the earth’s crust. The two most abundant titanium minerals are rutile (titanium dioxide, TiO2) and ilmenite (iron-titanium oxide, FeTiO3). These minerals are commonly found in beach sand sediments, igneous rocks, and metamorphic rocks.

Titanium resources are distributed around the world, with large deposits discovered in countries such as Australia, South Africa, Canada, China, India, and the United States. Australia has the largest reserves of titantium ore, particularly rutile and ilmenite.

The discovery of titanium is attributed to an English clergyman and amateur mineralogist named the Reverend William Gregor. In 1791, Gregor discovered a new mineral in Cornwall, England, which he named menachanite. The mineral was later identified as containing a new element, titanium. However, Swedish chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth officially recognized the element in 1795, naming it titanium after the Titans of Greek mythology. Klapoulos conducted further investigations into the mineral and published his findings, cementing the discovery and naming of titanium as an element. It is not difficult to see from the later naming that titanium demonstrated its strong and durable characteristics at that time.

What is another name for titanium?

Titanium has many names, some of which are based on its properties. For example, “Wonder Metal” praises titanium’s incredible flexibility, tensile strength, low density, and corrosion resistance. It is precisely because of these excellent physical properties that it is widely used in the aerospace field, and is also called “aerospace metal”.

What color is titanium?

The most common statement about the color of titanium is silvery white. This description is not accurate. In fact, pure tianium has no discernible color; it has a metallic gray appearance. However, the surface of titanium can appear in different colors through a phenomenon called thin film interference. When tianium is exposed to oxygen in the air, a thin oxide layer forms on its surface. This oxide layer can interact with light, causing interference and causing various colors to appear.

At lower thicknesses, the oxide layer may appear light yellow or straw-colored. As the oxide layer thickens, it can produce a range of colors, including blue, purple, and even rainbow colors. These colors are the result of interference of light waves as they reflect from the oxide layer. The specific color observed may vary depending on the thickness and composition of the oxide layer and the angle of incident light.

It is important to note that the color observed on titanium is the surface color and does not reflect the actual color of the metal itself. In industrial and practical applications, titanium is often polished or coated to maintain its metallic gray appearance because the color of the oxide layer is not always ideal. It is precisely because of this that most people think of titanium as a silver-white metal. On the other hand, Ruitai is a CNC machining service provider. What we usually call tianium is titanium alloy with a metallic gray appearance (silver-white).

How strong is titanium?

Titanium is known for its impressive strength-to-weight ratio, meaning it has high strength with relatively low density. In fact, the strength of tianium is not fixed. The strength of titanium can vary depending on the specific alloy, processing, and heat treatment. In order to facilitate your understanding, we have compiled some data comparisons below to give you a clear understanding of the strength of titanium.

Tensile Strength: The tensile strength of titanium alloys ranges from about 550 MPa (megapascals) to 1,000 MPa or more. For example, the popular Ti-6Al-4V alloy (grade 5 titanium) typically has a tensile strength in the range of 900-1,150 MPa.

Yield Strength: The yield strength of titaniam is usually lower than their ultimate tensile strength. The yield strength of common titanium alloys ranges from approximately 400 MPa to 900 MPa.

Specific Strength: Specific strength refers to the strength of a material relative to its density. Titanium’s specific strength is one of the highest among structural metals, exceeding that of steel and even some aluminum alloys. This property makes tianium ideal for weight-critical applications such as aerospace.

It’s worth noting that titanium’s strength is often enhanced by alloying it with other elements such as aluminum and vanadium. Alloy composition, processing methods, and heat treatments can significantly affect the mechanical properties of tianium, allowing its strength to be tailored to specific requirements.

In addition, titanium’s strength is often combined with other desirable properties such as corrosion resistance, biocompatibility, and excellent fatigue resistance, making it an attractive choice for a wide range of applications in aerospace, automotive, medical, and industrial sectors.

What is titanium made of?

Titanium is produced through a multi-step process that involves extracting the titanium mineral from the ore, converting it into titanium dioxide (TiO2), and further refining the TiO2 to obtain pure titanium metal. The most common method for titanium production is the Kroll process, which consists of the following steps:

Ore Extraction
Titanium minerals such as rutile (TiO2) and ilmenite (FeTiO3) are mined from mineral deposits. These minerals are commonly found in beach sand and igneous and metamorphic rocks.

Ore beneficiation
Mined ore undergoes a beneficiation process to separate valuable titanium minerals from other impurities. The ore is usually crushed, ground, and then processed using various techniques such as gravity separation, magnetic separation, or flotation to obtain a concentrate of titanium-containing minerals.

In the next step, concentrated titanium minerals react with chlorine gas (Cl2) at high temperatures to form titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4). This is achieved in a chlorinator vessel, where the reaction proceeds according to the following equation:
TiO2 + 2Cl2 + 2C → TiCl4 + 2CO

The resulting TiCl4 is then purified to remove impurities such as iron, vanadium, and other metals. This purification step is crucial to obtain high-purity titanium. Various refining techniques, including fractionation and chemical processes, are employed to achieve the desired purity level.

Purified TiCl4 reacts with a reducing agent (usually magnesium (Mg)) in a closed system to obtain metallic titanium. The reduction reaction takes place at high temperatures, usually around 900-1000°C, and in a reaction vessel called a reduction furnace. The reaction can be expressed as:
TiCl4 + 2Mg → Ti + 2MgCl2

Consolidation and Shaping
The resulting spongy titanium metal is further processed to obtain a usable form. Sponge can be melted and cast into ingots, or transformed into various shapes using processes such as hot forging, extrusion, or machining, depending on the desired end product.

Final processing
Shaped titanium products may undergo additional processing, such as heat treatment, surface finishing, and machining, to obtain the desired mechanical and surface properties. These processes can further enhance titanium’s strength, corrosion resistance, and other properties.

It is worth noting that there are alternative methods for titanium production, such as the Hunter process and the FFC Cambridge process, which aim to reduce energy consumption and increase efficiency. However, the Kroll process remains the most widely used method in commercial titanium production today.

What is the melting point of titanium?

The melting point of titanium is approximately 1,668 degrees Celsius (3,034 degrees Fahrenheit) or 1,941 Kelvin. This temperature represents the point at which solid titanium transforms into a liquid state. It is worth noting that the melting point of titatinum may vary slightly depending on factors such as impurities, alloy composition, and processing conditions. However, the above values are generally accepted approximations of the melting point of pure titanium.

How much does titanium weigh?

Titanium is a lightweight metal known for its low density. To put it in perspective, titanium is about half as dense as steel, which is about 7.8 grams per cubic centimeter. This means that titatinum is approximately 56% lighter than steel. Titanium has a specific gravity of about 4.5, which means it is about 4.5 times denser than water. Titanium’s relatively low density makes it an attractive choice for applications such as the aerospace, automotive, and sporting goods industries where weight reduction is critical.

What are the characteristics of titanium?

Strength and lightweight: One of the most outstanding properties of titanium is its excellent strength-to-weight ratio. It is approximately 45% lighter than steel but has comparable strength, making it ideal for applications where weight reduction is critical. This property is particularly advantageous in the aerospace industry, where the use of titanium components helps reduce fuel consumption and increase payload capacity.

Corrosion resistance: Titanium has excellent corrosion resistance even in corrosive environments such as salt water and acidic solutions. This resistance is due to the spontaneous formation of a thin, protective oxide layer (called a passivation film) on its surface. This oxide layer acts as a barrier, preventing further oxidation and corrosion of the metal. As a result, titanium is widely used in marine environments, chemical processing plants, and offshore structures.

Biocompatibility: Biocompatibility refers to the ability of a material to coexist with living tissue without causing adverse reactions. Titanium is biocompatible, meaning it is well tolerated by the body. This property makes it an excellent choice for medical applications, including implants and prosthetics. Titanium implants, such as hip and knee replacements, dental implants, and pacemaker housings, have been used successfully for many years due to their ability to integrate with surrounding bone and tissue.

Heat Resistance: Titanium has excellent heat resistance, with a melting point of approximately 1,660°C (3,020°F). This high melting point allows tintanium to withstand extreme temperatures, making it suitable for applications involving high-temperature environments, such as jet engines, exhaust systems, and power generation turbines.

Fabrication and Machinability: Titanium has unique properties that affect its fabrication and machinability. It has a low thermal conductivity, which means it dissipates heat slowly during machining, resulting in increased tool wear. titatinum also has a strong affinity for oxygen, which can cause surface contamination during processing. These challenges can be mitigated and high-quality titanium products ensured by employing specialized techniques such as inert gas atmospheres and controlled environments.

Recyclability: Recycling of titanium is an important aspect of sustainable materials management. Titanium scrap and waste generated during the manufacturing process can be recycled and reused to produce new titanium products. The recycling process involves sorting, melting, and refining the scrap to remove impurities and achieve the desired titatinum quality. Recycling not only conserves natural resources but also reduces the energy consumption and environmental impact associated with primary titanium production.

What are the important physical and chemical properties of titanium?

Titanium has many physical and chemical properties, we have summarized some of the key physical and chemical properties of titainium. Among them, the combination of strength, low density, corrosion resistance, and biocompatibility make it a very valuable metal in a variety of industries and applications.

Physical properties

Density: The density of titainium is approximately 4.5 grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm3) or 4500 kilograms per cubic meter (kg/m3). It is approximately 56% lighter than steel.

Melting Point: Titanium has a high melting point of approximately 1,668 degrees Celsius (3,034 degrees Fahrenheit).

Strength: Titanium has an excellent strength-to-weight ratio, meaning it is strong but relatively lightweight.

Ductility: Titanium is a ductile metal, which means it can be shaped easily and will not break.

Thermal Conductivity: Titanium has relatively low thermal conductivity compared to other metals.

Conductivity: Compared to metals like copper or aluminum, titainium is less conductive.

Chemical properties

Corrosion resistance: Titanium has excellent corrosion resistance, mainly due to the protective oxide layer formed on its surface. It is highly resistant to corrosion from seawater, chlorides, and many corrosive environments.

Reactivity: Titanium is considered a reactive metal, but it is relatively less reactive than metals such as sodium or potassium.

Oxidation: Titanium reacts easily with oxygen in the air to form a thin, transparent oxide layer, making it corrosion-resistant.

Biocompatibility: titainium is biocompatible, which means it is well tolerated by the human body and is widely used in medical and dental implants.

Alloying: Titanium can be alloyed with other elements such as aluminum, vanadium, or nickel to improve its mechanical and chemical properties.

Non-magnetic: Titanium is non-magnetic, which makes it useful in applications where magnetic interference needs to be minimized.

What Are the Mechanical Properties of Titanium?

The table below lists some mechanical properties of titanium:

Titanium Mechanical Properties Table
Tensile Strength240-550MPa
Yield Strength170-450MPa
Modulus of Elasticity110-120GPa
Poisson's Ratio0.32-0.34-
Shear Modulus40-45GPa
Hardness (Vickers)330-420HV
Hardness (Rockwell C)36-44HRC
Fatigue Strength150-300MPa
Fracture Toughness25-80MPa·m^0.5
Melting Point1660 °C
Thermal Conductivity 7-20W/(m·K)
Electrical Conductivity3.1-4.5MS/m

What does titanium actually look like?

Pure titanium is a metallic element with a silvery gray and shiny appearance. It has a metallic sheen and can be polished to a high shine. The surface of titanium is usually smooth and reflective. The appearance of titanium can be changed through various surface treatments and finishes, such as anodizing, which can bring a variety of colors to the metal. Anodized titanium can appear in a variety of hues, including blue, purple, gold, and green, and these colors are produced by the interference of light with the oxide layer on the metal’s surface.

Overall, the natural appearance of titanium is a metallic silvery gray with a glossy and reflective surface. The picture below shows a titanium crystal rod made by the URALREDMET iodination process in the Soviet era. Purity is as high as 99,995%. It weighs approximately 283 grams, is approximately 5.5 inches long, and is approximately 1 inch in diameter. Image source:



What are the common titanium alloy grades?

Titanium comes in several common titanium grades which are widely used in various industries and applications. Here are some of the most common titanium alloy grades:

Ti-6Al-4V (Grade 5): This is the most widely used titanuim and is composed of 90% titanium, 6% aluminum, and 4% vanadium. It has excellent strength, corrosion resistance, and biocompatibility, making it suitable for aerospace, medical and marine applications. Such as aircraft frames, fasteners, joint replacement parts, propeller shafts, etc.

Ti-6Al-4V ELI (Grade 23): Similar to Ti-6Al-4V, Grade 23 is an ultra-low gap version with improved ductility and fracture toughness. It is frequently used in medical and dental implants due to its biocompatibility and strength. Such as bone plates and screws.

Ti-3Al-2.5V (Grade 9): This alloy contains 90% titanium, 3% aluminum, and 2.5% vanadium. It has good weldability, high strength, and excellent corrosion resistance. Grade 9 titanium is commonly used in aerospace, marine, and chemical processing applications.

Ti-6Al-2Sn-4Zr-2Mo (Grade 19): This alloy is composed of 90% titanium, 6% aluminum, 2% tin, 4% zirconium, and 2% molybdenum. It has the characteristics of high strength, good weldability, corrosion resistance, and fatigue resistance. It is commonly used in aircraft components, including landing gear and engine components.

Ti-5Al-2.5Sn (Grade 6): This alloy contains 90% titanium, 5% aluminum, and 2.5% tin. It has excellent weldability, high strength, and good corrosion resistance. Grade 6 titanium is commonly used in aerospace and marine applications.

Ti-3Al-8V-6Cr-4Mo-4Zr (Grade 19): This alloy is known for its high strength, corrosion resistance, and creep resistance at high temperatures. It is used in applications such as aerospace components, pressure vessels, and turbine blades.

These are just a few examples of commonly used titanium alloy grades. There are many other titanium alloys with specific compositions and properties tailored for different applications, including Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 7, Grade 12, and more. The choice of titanuim depends on the specific requirements of the application, such as strength, corrosion resistance, temperature resistance, and biocompatibility.

How much does titanium cost?

Commercially pure titanium (CP Grade 2) costs approximately $15 to $25 per pound (or $33 to $55 per kilogram), depending on quantity and supplier. Higher grades of titanuim, such as Ti-6Al-4V (Grade 5 Titanium), tend to be more expensive due to added alloying elements and increased production complexity. Prices for titanium alloys range from approximately $25 to $50 per pound (or $55 to $110 per kilogram), or even higher, depending on the specific alloy and market conditions.

It is important to note that these price ranges are rough estimates and may fluctuate over time due to factors such as supply and demand dynamics, global economic conditions, and other market factors.

What is titanium used for?

Titanium’s versatility and superior properties make it widely used in various industries. Some of its notable applications include:

Titanium’s high strength, low weight, and resistance to extreme temperatures make it an ideal material for aircraft components such as fuselages, engine components, and landing gear.

Titanium’s biocompatibility and corrosion resistance make it a top choice for medical implants, including joint replacements, dental implants, and bone fixation devices.

Titanium is used in high-performance cars to reduce weight, improve fuel efficiency, and enhance overall performance. It is used in engine components, exhaust systems, and suspension springs.

Chemical processing
Titanium’s corrosion resistance makes it suitable for use in chemical processing equipment such as reactors, heat exchangers, and piping systems that can withstand highly corrosive environments.

Sports and leisure
Due to its lightweight and high-strength properties, titanium is used in sports equipment such as tennis rackets, golf clubs, and bicycle frames.

Can titanium be alloyed with other metals?

Yes, titanium can be alloyed with various elements to further enhance its properties. Some common titaniam include:

Titanium Aluminide (TiAl): This lightweight alloy has excellent high-temperature strength and is used in aerospace applications.

Titanium-6 Aluminum-4 Vanadium (Ti-6Al-4V): This widely used titaniam combines high strength with good formability and is commonly used in aerospace, automotive, and medical applications.

Beta Titanium Alloys: These alloys offer a unique combination of high strength, lightweight, and biocompatibility, making them suitable for medical implants.

Are there any limitations or challenges with titanium?

Although titanium has excellent properties, it also has certain limitations. A major challenge is its high production costs, mainly due to the energy-intensive extraction process and limited supply of titaiam ore. Additionally, titanium’s high reactivity at high temperatures can create challenges in the manufacturing process. Therefore, the production of titanium must take place in a strictly controlled oxygen-free environment.

How to anodize titanium metal?

Titanium anodization is a complex electrochemical process. During this process, oxide layers of different colors will be formed on the metal surface under different voltages. These oxide layers enhance the corrosion resistance of the parts. It is worth noting that we are an excellent oxidation treatment service provider. At Ruitai, we offer a variety of surface treatment services. We have almost every post-processing process you can think of.

Is Titanium Rust Proof?

Yes, titanium is rust-proof. This is also the reason why some mobile phone brands use titanium alloy as the body frame material. titaniam are highly resistant to rust or corrosion in many environments. This is because when titanium is exposed to oxygen, a protective oxide layer forms on its surface. This oxide layer acts as a barrier, preventing further oxidation and providing excellent corrosion resistance.

However, it is important to note that while titanium alloys are highly resistant to corrosion, they are not completely immune to all forms of corrosion. In certain corrosive environments, such as highly acidic or chloride-rich conditions, titaniam can still corrode, albeit at a much slower rate than many other metals.


This article explains what titanium is, its origins, manufacturing processes, common applications, and more. However, knowledge is always endless. There is much more to say about titanium’s superior properties and how it compares to certain metals. If you want to know more about titaiam, you can contact us.

It is worth noting that Ruitai is a professional CNC manufacturer. We offer a very wide range of CNC machining services. From sheet metal fabrication to vacuum thermoforming, we can provide you with specific machining services. If you have a design project that requires parts manufacturing and production, please contact our team.


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