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Mineral Monday- Titanium

Renowned for its durability, strength, light weight, and resistance to corrosion the focus of today’s Mineral Monday, Titanium, plays an invaluable role in many modern industries and applications.

First discovered in Cornwall by William Gregor in 1791, Titanium was named by Martin Heinrich Klaproth after the Titans in Greek Mythology.

Extracted from ores, using the Kroll or Hunter process, Titanium has found a multitude of applications in the aerospace, military, medical, automotive, agri-food, dental, sporting, jewellery, telecommunications and petrochemical industries.

Titanium possesses two key properties; corrosion resistance and the highest strength-to-density ratio of any metallic element which explains its widespread usage.

Where is it produced / mined?

Despite being discovered in 1791, it wasn’t until 1932 that Titanium was used outside of the laboratory environment- largely due to the fact that the process for extracting Titanium from its various ores is laborious and costly.

Currently the biggest producers of Titanium include China, Japan, Russia, Kazakhstan, the USA, Ukraine and India.

Did you know?

• As well as being found in a wide variety of minerals, Titanium is also found in every living thing.
• Titanium can be as strong as steel, but with weights as much as 45% lighter than steel.
• As it has a high melting point (higher than 3,000 degrees F), Titanium is often used as a refractory metal.
• The surface of Titanium oxidises immediately when exposed to air.
• Titanium is the seventh most common metal on Earth.
• Titanium played a key role in the Cold War, with both the US and the USSR stockpiling the metal and using it for military and defence.

With the pace of development as it is within the engineering industries it seems that Titanium will continue to be a much sort after and valued commodity in the coming decades.