An excellent strength-to-weight ratio is the primary attribute that makes titanium an attractive material, providing weight savings attractive to the petrochemical and aerospace industries.
Other attractive attributes of titanium include biological compatibility, which is of interest to the medical industry, and corrosion resistance, especially appealing to the architectural, petrochemical, chemical and aerospace industries.
Due to its excellent corrosion resistance, the chemical industry is the largest user of this material, especially in the presence of oxidizing acids. The next largest user is the aerospace industry, mostly due to its elevated temperature capabilities and weight savings due to its low density and high strength. The ballistic properties of this material are also great on a density-normalized basis. Titanium has a number of other uses too, and in this article we will also discuss all the other great applications of this material.
Since the advent of the jet engine, this material has been used in production techniques to meet even tighter standards for creep resistance, metallurgical structure, high-temperature performance, and strength.
In the airframe structural market, innovative alloys replace nickel and steel alloys in nacelle and landing gear applications. By using these substitutions, airframe manufacturers are able to improve efficiency and save weight of aircrafts.
There are many titanium applications in a number of industries. More and more engineers are discovering that titanium can reduce lifecycle costs across a broad range of processes and equipment. This material has great strength to weight ratio. Its favorable density means that when equipment costs are calculated on a per unit area of measure basis, the differential cost of material required narrows dramatically. Therefore, about half as much titanium is required to do the same job, based on strength, or the same weight of this material will go twice as far.
In power generating plants, where polluted, brackish or saline waters are used as the cooling medium, titanium thin wall condenser tubing will last for a long time and eliminate the need for a corrosion allowance.
Flexibility and light weight of titanium pipe make it a great material for deep sea production risers in petroleum production and exploration. Additionally, its immunity to attack by sea water makes it an excellent material for topside water management systems. Titanium is also the material of choice in desalination plants since it shows no corrosion in salt water.
Titanium is a promising substrate for hard disk drives in the computer industry. It provides significant advantages over aluminum, which is the primary material currently used. Titanium’s ability to withstand heat allows higher temperatures during the coating process, its non-magnetic properties prevent interference with the data storage process, and its purity permits closer read/write head tolerances, resulting in increased disk capacity.
The uses of titanium in the automotive industry are being developed in the motorcycle/automotive after racing market. For example, some engine parts, such as wrist pins, valves, connecting rods, valve retainers and springs, camshafts and rocker arms, lend themselves to fabrication from titanium, since it’s strong, durable, resists corrosion and heat and is lightweight.
Titanium is ideal for medical replacement structures, such as knee and hip implants, because it is completely inert to human body fluids. This material allows the growth of bone to adhere to the implants, so they last longer compared to those which are made of other materials. In addition, reconstructive titanium plates that support broken bones are also commonly used today.
There are a number of chemical processing operations that specify this material in order to increase equipment life. It offers lifecycle cost advantages over stainless nickel, copper and stainless steel grades, while providing initial cost advantages over materials such as zirconium, tantalum and high nickel alloys.