Titanium (Ti) is a pliable, extraordinarily strong, silvery-white metal noted for its corrosive resistance capacity and the artistic medium selected by architect Frank Gehry's in designing the Guggenheim Bilbao. Ti's lustrous exterior beauty belies its steely inner strength capable of withstanding thousands of years beneath the sea. Noted for its high strength to weight ratio, Ti in its various forms has made possible innovations in human endeavours from aerospace to golf clubs.
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Ti was discovered in 1791 by an amateur geologist. Subsequently in 1795 chemist Martin Klaproth identified the same metal in the mineral ilmenite. He named it titanium, which is derived from the Greek word Titan found in mythology describing "the first sons of Earth." Not until 1910 was pure titanium created by Matthew Hunter. In 1936, the Kroll Process involving heating titanium (IV) chloride with magnesium allowed commercial production of the shimmering metal. Ti has an atomic weight of 47.867.
Ti is as strong as steel but weighs 45 per cent less. Ti in its pure solid form is nontoxic and does not negatively interact with the human body. Ti is pliable when heated and can be forged into various shapes and thickness but cannot be soldered. Its corrosive resistance capabilities, particularly to seawater, is unsurpassed among metals.
Ti is a metal that is absent in the human body. Thus, the human body generally will not reject the metal or create an allergic reaction. Ti is used for hip, knee replacements, pins and screws for repairing fractures and other skeletal repairs.
Ti is utilised by the golf industry in the manufacturing of clubs and drivers. Ti is an alloy that is combined with other metals, such as aluminium and iron, in the production of boat hulls, rigging and other recreational uses. Ti is used in bicycles. Titanium oxide is used in paint for its corrosive-resistant capabilities.
The aerospace industry utilises titanium alloy in the manufacturing of engines, aircraft, satellites, rockets and spacecraft. Ti has a boiling point of 3287 degrees Celsius and its light weight makes it ideal for heat resistance and reducing payload.
Titanium oxide is used in white paint, toothpaste, plastics and other household products due to its strong UV light absorption. Ti is used in tools, watches, jewellery and laptop computers and a variety of home improvement products.
Ti can burn at high temperatures in an atmosphere of nitrogen. Ti powder or shavings are a fire hazard. Ti is insoluble in water. However, it is soluble in acids.
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