Many industries and manufacturing plants today make use of titanium and titanium alloys in many stages of their operations and applications. They take advantage of the properties of this particular metal in ensuring that they are creating high quality consumer goods and services. What exactly is titanium and what makes it a popular choice among businesses?
Titanium is an element that has the symbol Ti. It is known to have a low density, good luster, and great resistance to corrosion. It is silver in color and has an atomic number of 22.
Like many other metals, titanium can be used to make alloys with other metals such as molybdenum, iron, vanadium and aluminum. This is done to create lightweight but durable alloys to be used in military, aerospace and industrial purposes. Missiles, jet engines, spacecraft, desalination plants, paper and pulp are the most common finished products of titanium alloys.
In a smaller scale, it can also be used in the food, agriculture, and medical fields. Dental implants, orthopedic implants, prostheses, endodontic instruments, and other medical tools are often made of titanium and its alloys. Even simple accessories and gadgets like jewelry, sporting goods and mobile phones make use of this metal.
When we speak of titanium alloys, we are referring to a mixture that resulted from combining titanium with other chemical elements. They are divided into four general categories.
1. Alpha alloys – these are a mixture of alpha stabilizers (like aluminum and oxygen) and any neutral alloying elements like tin.
2. Near-alpha alloys – these types contain a small trace of ductile beta-phase (like silicon, vanadium, or molybdenum), added to alpha-phase stabilizers.
3. Alpha and Beta alloys – these are metastable and are a combination of beta stabilizers and alpha stabilizers.
4. Beta Alloys – these are also metastable and contain enough amounts of beta stabilizers (like vanadium, silicon and Molybdenum Tube) that enable them to stay in their beta phase even when quenched.
Titanium alloys possess many properties. Titanium in the alpha-phase is generally stronger than titanium in beta-phase. However, the former is less ductile compared to the latter. If we look at the titanium metal alone, it is as durable, strong and sturdy as steel, but about half as light. When compared to aluminum, it is more than half as heavy but twice as sturdy. It also has good corrosion resistance, especially to water, that is why it is often used in the manufacture of boat parts.