Titanium is a metal with an interesting history. In 1791, it was discovered in Cornwall by the Reverend William Gregor. He found a previously unknown metal present in black sand. In 1795, Martin Heinrich Klaproth of Berlin Germany analyzed a Hungarian red ore and also found what is now called Titanium. While Titanium is the ninth most common element on Earth, it is very difficult to extract due to its reactivity. This is why the cost of the refined metal is quite expensive and has limited its use.
Pure Titanium was first produced in 1910. It took until 1916 before Titanium was used in commercial applications as a white pigment in paints. In 1932, Wilhelm Justin Kroll, from Luxembourg was able to create a process to extract larger quantities of Titanium by combining Titanium Tetrachloride with Calcium. In 1940 he modified his process, called the Kroll Process, to produce Titanium meeting commercial standards. This is the process still most often used today.
The DuPont Company was the first to produce Titanium commercially in 1948. In the 1960s, Titanium was used in military applications. The Russians used alloys of the metal in submarines, while the Americans used the alloys for fuselage and wing coverings in high performance military aircrafts, and for engine parts. Titanium is corrosion resistant which is why it is well fitted for ships, submarines, or pipes that are exposed to the salt in seawater.
Titanium is also used in medical procedures. In 1965, it was first used for dental implants. In 1985 the first hip replacement operation was performed using a Titanium alloy implant. The metal is biocompatible since it is nontoxic, connects well with bone and tissue, causes no infections, and is hypoallergenic. While it is lightweight, it is able to carry weight well. In 2001, Titanium was used to make parts of an artificial heart for the first transplant of this kind.
The first Titanium passenger plane was built and put into service in 2008. It is the Airbus A380 which has a capacity of 550 people. Titanium is also used in spacecrafts and missiles. It is ideal for applications such as these since Titanium is as strong as steel but weighs less. It is able to withstand extreme temperatures and resists corrosion.
Other applications for Titanium include laptops, crutches, golf clubs, bracelets, athletic tape, fireworks, and bicycles. While there is limited use of the metal in cars, it is used in race cars where cost is less of a consideration.
Titanium is also used to coat Quartz crystals. Titanium is combined with other metal oxides that are vaporized and then settle on the Quartz crystals that are in the chamber. The end product is called Titanium or Flame Aura Quartz. The metals produce a rainbow-like luster when they fuse onto the Quartz.
While Titanium is found almost everywhere, the largest deposits are found in Australia, Brazil Canada, China, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, and the United States of America (Florida, Nevada, Utah, and Virginia).