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Uses Of Titanium

Dec 19, 2017

Could we live without the titanium alloys that are used to make airplane parts? In some modern planes, titanium has been used in everything from the outer "skin" and the landing gear to the hydraulic pipes and the innermost parts of the jet engines (because it's light and good at withstanding high-temperatures and the stresses and strains caused by friction when air moves through at supersonic speeds). Since titanium is so useful in airplanes, it's not surprising it's used in spacecraft too.

And what about medical items made from titanium—could we live without those? Many people have strong but flexible eyeglasses made from titanium alloys. Thanks to its protective oxide coating, titanium is a perfect metal for making things like replacement hip joints because it won't rust or react adversely with tissue or bone. The same quality makes it ideal for lining food manufacturing equipment. You can probably see that strength, lightness, and an ability to resist rusting in seawater for years on end also makes titanium a perfect construction material for submarines.

Titanium and its compounds are also important in the manufacture of other chemicals. Titanium chlorides are used as catalysts (accelerators that speed up chemical reactions) in the manufacture of plastic polypropylene and many other organic (carbon-based) chemicals.

New uses are being found for titanium all the time. In our environmentally conscious age, more people are installing heat-reflecting windows (also called low-E windows) to reflect heat back into their homes (or keep sunlight out) and save on heating and air-conditioning bills. A thin layer of titanium oxide (or another metal) on the glass is the secret ingredient that makes these windows work.

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