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What is Titanium?

the chemical element titanium

Titanium Chemical Element

Titanium is a chemical element discovered by a British amateur geologist in Cornwall in 1791.  It was named after the Titans from Greek mythology because of its natural strength.

As strong as some steel, titanium is less dense which means it weighs about half as much.  This lustrous corrosion resistant metal is found in almost all living things, in natural bodies of water, in most igneous rocks and some soils.

The mineral ilmenite is the primary ore of titanium followed by rutile and a small number of other minerals.  It can also be found in meteorites and the sun.

The ninth most abundant element in Earth's crust, titanium is combined with other metals to form a strong, lightweight, corrosion resistant alloy

Titanium is used in applications where strength, low weight and resistance to heat are important.  It's widely used in aviation, aerospace and for many medical and dental implants.  Titanium is not harmful in any way to the human body.

These characteristics make it ideal to use for replacement body parts.  The only drawback is that it's expensive because it's difficult and time consuming to extract from its respective ore. 

Australia, South Africa and China are the world's largest producers of titanium.

The vast majority of titanium is processed for use as titanium dioxide.  An important pigment with bright white colour that's resistant to fading, titanium dioxide is used to add brightness and opacity to a huge variety of products.

It improves the whiteness of paper, is used in toothpaste, pharmaceuticals particularly tablets, white paint and sunscreen.

The brightness of titanium dioxide reflects and scatters light.  It also absorbs UV light which protects the skin.  It's used in food colourings ceramics and textiles because it brightens and in cosmetics because being opaque it covers unwanted marks and blemishes.

Article Photo

The photo of titanium is courtesy of Stan Celestian.  It's clickable and redirects to the original image. 

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