What is Titanium
Titanium (pronunciation: ti-TAY-nee-em) is a hard, shiny, strong, and lightweight element classified as a transition metal and represented by the chemical symbol Ti [1, 2, 3]. As compared to the other ferromagnetic elements, titanium is a weakly magnetic metal that shows its magnetic characteristics in the presence of external magnetic fields .
There are five stable naturally-occurring isotopes of titanium, including Titanium-46, Titanium-47, Titanium-48, Titanium-49, and Titanium-50, with Titanium-48 having the greatest natural abundance of 73.8% . Titanium is characterized by 21 radioisotopes out of which the most stable are Titanium-44, Titanium-45, Titanium-51, and Titanium-52 with half-lives of 60 years, 184.8 minutes, 5.76 minutes, and 1.7 minutes respectively .
Where is Titanium Found
As the 9th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, titanium is commonly found in igneous rocks and their sediments . It is present in minerals like rutile (titanium dioxide), ilmenite (titanium-iron oxide), and sphene (calcium titanium nesosilicate), as well as in titanate (titanium oxide) and several iron ores .
It is commercially extracted from its ore through reduction of titanium (IV) chloride using either sodium or magnesium . Titanium (IV) oxide is obtained from ilmenite by using either chlorine (chloride process) or sulfuric acid (sulfate process) .
The top 3 titanium producers are Canada, Australia, and South Africa while the top 3 titanium reserve holding countries include China, Australia, and India .
Origin of its Name: The name is derived from the word ‘Titan’, which in Greek mythology means “the sons of the Goddess Earth” [1, 2].
Who discovered it: Titanium was found by the British mineralogist and clergyman William Gregor .
When and How was it Discovered
In 1791, the titanium mineral menaccanite was found in Cornwall by William Gregor . He studied it and inferred that it consisted of iron oxide along with a new metal, which he reported to the Royal Geological Society .
The German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth, in 1795, analyzed a red mineral ore called Schörl . It was the oxide of an unknown element which Klaproth named titanium . After learning about Gregor’s discovery, Klaproth examined menaccanite and confirmed that it was made up of titanium .
M.A. Hunter, the metallurgist from New Zealand, produced pure titanium metal from titanium tetrachloride and sodium metal in 1910 .
|Atomic number||22 |
|CAS number||7440-32-6 |
|Position in the periodic table||Group||Period||Block|
|4 ||4 ||d |
Properties and Characteristics of Titanium
|Relative atomic mass||47.867 |
|Atomic mass||47.867 amu |
|Molar mass||47.8670 g/mol |
|Molecular weight||47.867 g/mol |
|Melting point/freezing point||1670 °C, 3038 °F |
|Boiling point||3287 °C, 5949 °F |
|Density||4.506 g cm-3 |
|State of matter at room temperature (solid/liquid/gas)||Solid [1, 8]|
|– Brinell||715 MPa |
|– Mohs||6 |
|– Vickers||970 MPa |
|Electrical Conductivity||2.5 X 106 S/m |
|Charge||+3, +4 |
|Thermal (heat) conductivity||22 W/(m K) |
|Specific heat||524 J kg-1 K-1 |
|Bulk modulus||Unknown |
|Shear modulus||43.8 GPa |
|Young’s modulus||115.7 GPa |
|– Temperature (K)||400||600||800||1000||1200||1400||1600||1800||2000||2200||2400|
|– Pressure (Pa)||–||–||–||–||9.69 X 10-9||7.44 X 10-6||1.06 X 10-3||0.0493||0.978||10.6||76.9|
|Oxidation states||4, 3 |
|Isotopes||Isotope||Mass||Abundance (%)||Half-life||Mode of decay|
Atomic Data of Titanium (Element 22)
|Valence electrons||4 |
|– n||3 |
|– ℓ||2 |
|– mℓ||-1 |
|– ms||+1/2 |
|Electron configuration (noble gas configuration)||[Ar] 3d24s2 |
|– Number of electrons||22 |
|– Number of neutrons||26 |
|– Number of protons||22 |
|Radius of Atom|
|– Atomic radius||2.11 Å |
|– Covalent radius||1.48 Å |
|Electronegativity (Pauling-scale)||1.54 |
|Electron affinity||7.622 kJ mol-1 |
|Ionization energy (kJ mol-1)||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||5th||6th||7th||8th|
What is Titanium Used for
- Titanium forms important alloys with other metals, including molybdenum, iron, and aluminum, that are used in missiles, aircraft, and spacecraft due to their low density and high-temperature resistance [1, 8].
- Although it is as strong as steel, it has a much lesser density because of which it is commonly used in laptops, golf clubs, crutches, and bicycles [1, 8].
- Since they resist corrosion, titanium pipes are used in power plant condensers .
- As it has excellent corrosion resistance in seawater, it is widely used for propeller shafts, hulls of ships, submarines, and in desalination plants [1, 8].
- Titanium has many surgical applications, including its use in hip joint replacements and tooth implants [1, 8].
- Since its pigment has great covering power, it is used in plastics, artists’ paint, house paint, enamels, and paper .
- It is used in solar observatories because of its excellent infrared-radiation reflective properties .
- Titanium oxide is an essential ingredient in sunscreens, used for protecting the skin from UV light .
Toxicity and Health Effects
While pure titanium is considered non-toxic, exposure to large amounts of titanium dioxide dust may be hazardous . Although the safety of nano-TiO2 is unclear, studies have shown that it may damage the liver, kidney, brain, and lung functions when it is inhaled or taken in high doses . It can also be toxic to embryos in development . Titanium is not known to play any biological role .
- Every igneous rock (that is formed due to the cooling and solidification of lava) consists of titanium .
- According to Boeing, the 737 Dreamliner comprises 15 percent titanium .
- A 2011-satellite-image revealed titanium-rich rocks on the moon’s surface .
- The graphical representation of titanium indicates an early votive statue based on the Titans in Greek mythology .
The cost of pure titanium is about $6.61 per gram .