You may have heard about all of the uses for titanium. From replacement body parts to jewelry to spacecraft materials, titanium is used to build lightweight and durable materials. However, have you ever wondered where this metal actually comes from? You may not know that titanium is obtained but never in its purest form. Before titanium can be ready for use, it must be combined with other materials to form usable alloys.
Titanium is the ninth most abundant element in the crust of the Earth. It’s found in soils, sands, rocks, clays, water, plants and animals. It is never found as a pure metal because it reacts so readily with oxygen. It, instead, is found in ores. It also is combined with other materials to form alloys in order to increase the durability of the metal.
Originally named by a German chemist, Martin Klaproth in 1795, titanium was named after Greek rulers known as Titans. Today, titanium is known for its light-weight and durable characteristics.
Titanium is typically manufactured through what is known as the Kroll process. During this process titanium dioxide is formed into titanium tetrachloride by being reacted with chlorine. Then, it is allowed to react with magnesium, which removes the chlorine and leaves a pure titanium sponge. This is then melted into bars known as ingots. The leading countries for titanium production include Japan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and China.
Titanium is combined with iron, aluminum, and other metals for uses in so many items. Almost 65 percent of all titanium produced is used in marine equipment and aircraft manufacturing since it is incredibly light and strong and resistant to corrosion. It improves our quality of life since it is long lasting and therefore used in bone plates, screws, pacemakers, and artificial replacements. It is extremely popular in jewelry and high-end sports cars.