Titanium is a chemical element that was 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 it's less dense which means it weighs about half as much. Titanium is a lustrous, corrosion resistant metal that's 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, it's combined with other metals to form a strong, lightweight, corrosion resistant alloy.
Titanium is used in applications where where strength, low weight and resistance to heat are important. It's widely used in aviation, aerospace and in association with a wide range of medical and dental implants because it's not harmful in any way to the human body. These characteristics make it ideal to use for replacement body parts but 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, it's 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. Not only does the brightness of titanium dioxide reflect and scatter light but it absorbs UV light which protects the skin. It's also used in food colourings, ceramics, textiles and cosmetics because it brightens and being opaque can be used to cover up blemishes.