All About Titanium Aerospace Metal
Titanium is 30% stronger than steel, but is nearly 50% lighter. Titanium is 60% heavier than aluminum, but twice as strong. Titanium has excellent strength retention to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Titanium is alloyed with aluminum, manganese, iron, molybdenum and other metals to increase strength, to withstand high temperatures, and to lighten the resultant alloy. Titanium’s high corrosion resistance is also a valuable characteristic; as when exposed to the atmosphere, titanium forms a tight, tenacious oxide film that resists many corrosive materials, particularly salt water.
In the 1950s, the titanium metal industry was established primarily in response to the emerging aerospace industry, which used it in the manufacture of airframe structural components and skin, aircraft hydraulic systems, air engine components, rockets, missiles, and spacecraft, where these properties are invaluable. The military also uses titanium in its guided missiles and in artillery. Other practical applications have evolved over time such as shipbuilding: in submarines, ship’s propellers, shafts, rigging, and other highly corrosive parts. Titanium is being increasingly utilized for medical applications due to its lightweight, its strength, and its hypoallergenic properties, as titanium is also nickel free. Titanium products are becoming increasingly utilized in other industries as well, from petrochemical applications to sporting goods.
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Titanium Grade 1 is an unalloyed, low strength titanium product containing low oxygen with high formability; this titanium grade is used in airframes, heat exchangers and desalination units.
Titanium Grade 2 is an unalloyed, medium strength titanium product. This titanium grade is used in airframes, aircraft engines, and marine parts; good weldability and corrosion resistance are its distinguishing characteristics.
Titanium Grade 3 is an unalloyed, high strength, titanium product providing excellent corrosion resistance and good weldability. This titanium grade is primarily used in airframe and aircraft engine parts.
Titanium Grade 4 is the highest strength pure unalloyed titanium product. This titanium grade is used almost exclusively for airframe, aircraft engine parts, marine, surgical implants, hydraulic tubing. Good formability and corrosion resistance are its hallmark.
Titanium Grade 5 (6AL-4V)is an alloyed titanium product containing 6% Aluminum and 4% Vanadium; is a medium
strength product. This titanium grade is predominantly used in airframe and turbine engine parts; and for use in
surgical implants. Technical Info
Titanium 6AL – 4V ELI is an alloyed titanium product containing 6% Aluminum and 4% Vanadium, ELI (Extra Low Interstitial).
6AL–2Sn–4Zr–2Mo (6-2-4-2)is an alloyed titanium product containing 6% Aluminum, 2% Tin, 4% Zirconium, 2% Molybdenum.
6AL–6V–2Sn (6-6-2)is an alloyed titanium product containing 6% Aluminum, 6% Vanadium, 2% Tin.
5AL–2.5Sn & ELI (5-2.5)is an alloyed titanium product containing 5% Aluminum and 2.5% Tin. Also ELI (Extra Low Interstitial).
8AL–1V–1Mo (8-1-1)is an alloyed titanium product containing 8% Aluminum, 1% Molybdenum and 1% Vanadium.
15V–3Cr–4AL–3Sn (15-3-3-3)is an alloyed titanium product containing 15% Vanadium, 3% Chromium, 4% Aluminum, 3% Tin.
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Titanium was originally discovered by amateur scientist William Gregor in 1791 as a reddish brown calx he could not identify. In 1795, Austrian chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth identified titanium as an entirely new element and named it Titanium after the Greek Gods known as Titans. The Titans were strong and giant deities in Greek mythology and is the root of many words, such as titanic, words associated with great size and strength.
Titanium is a naturally occurring element found in the minerals rutile, sphene, ilmenite, and in titanates and many iron ores; titanium is the ninth most abundant element found in the crust of the earth. Titanium is also found in meteorites, in the sun, and in rocks obtained from the moon. Titanium, when pure, is a bright, lustrous white metal. The extraction of titanium from the ores in which it is found is a slow and very costly process, making titanium quite expensive.
Wilhelm Kroll is widely recognized as the father of the modern titanium industry. In the 1930s and 40s, he developed the method of manufacturing titanium metal still used today and known as the ‘Kroll Method’. The Kroll method involves creating a titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4) via a process of fractional distillation: the action of chlorine and carbon upon the rutile or ilmenite in which it is found. This titanium tetrachloride is then ultimately reduced to the metallic titanium using magnesium. Excess magnesium is removed from this product with water and hydrochloric acid, leaving a ’titanium sponge’. This ‘titanium sponge’ can then be melted into titanium castings, titanium bars, and other forms using helium or argon. Air is excluded from this process to prevent contamination. The metal burns in air and is the only element that burns in nitrogen.
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