Titanium is a chemical element with the symbol Ti and atomic number 22. Sometimes called the “space age metal”, it has a low density and is a strong, lustrous, corrosion-resistant (including sea water, aqua regia and chlorine) transition metal with a silver color.
Titanium was discovered in England by William Gregor in 1791 and named by Martin Heinrich Klaproth for the Titans of Greek mythology.
The element occurs within a number of mineral deposits, principally rutile and ilmenite, which are widely distributed in the Earth’s crust and lithosphere, and it is found in almost all living things, rocks, water bodies, and soils. The metal is extracted from its principal mineral ores via the Kroll process or the Hunter process. Its most common compound, titanium dioxide, is a popular photocatalyst and is used in the manufacture of white pigments. Other compounds include titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4), a component of smoke screens and catalysts; and titanium trichloride (TiCl3), which is used as a catalyst in the production of polypropylene).
Titanium can be alloyed with iron, aluminium, vanadium, molybdenum, among other elements, to produce strong lightweight alloys for aerospace (jet engines, missiles, and spacecraft), military, industrial process (chemicals and petro-chemicals, desalination plants, pulp, and paper), automotive, agri-food, medical prostheses, orthopedic implants, dental and endodontic instruments and files, dental implants, sporting goods, jewelry, mobile phones, and other applications.
The two most useful properties of the metal form are corrosion resistance and the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal. In its unalloyed condition, titanium is as strong as some steels, but 45% lighter. There are two allotropic forms and five naturally occurring isotopes of this element, 46Ti through 50Ti, with 48Ti being the most abundant (73.8%). Titanium’s properties are chemically and physically similar to zirconium, because both of them have the same number of valence electrons and are in the same group in the periodic table.