Titanium

Name: Titanium
Symbol: Ti
Atomic Number: 22
Atomic Mass: 47.867 AMU



Titanium was discovered in 1791 in the mineral named Menachanite. By the British clergyman William Gregor. He named the element menachite. Four years later, the German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth rediscovered the element in the mineral Rutile and named it titanium for the strength of the mythological Greek Titans. The metal was isolated in 1910.

It is the 9th most abundant among the elements in the crust of the earth but is never found in the pure state. It occurs as an oxide in the minerals ilmenite, rutile and sphene. To obtain titanium oxide, the mineral is ground and mixed with potassium carbonate and aqueous hydrofluoric acid to yield potassium fluorotitanate. The fluorotitanate is extracted with hot water and decomposed with ammonia. The resulting ammoniacal hydrated oxide, when ignited in a platinum vessel, yields titanium dioxide, TiO2. Titanium is obtained in the pure form by first treating the oxide with chlorine to form titanium tetrachloride, a volatile liquid, and then reducing the liquid with magnesium in a closed iron chamber to yield metallic titanium. The metal is then melted and casted.

Because of its strength and lightweight, titanium is used in metallic alloys and as a substitute for aluminum. Mixed with aluminum and vanadium, titanium is used in aircraft for firewalls, outer skin, landing-gear components, hydraulic tubing, and engine supports. The compressor blades, disks, and housings of jet engines are also made of titanium. Titanium is also widely used in missiles and space capsules; the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo capsules were made largely of titanium. Titanium’s inertness makes it available as a replacement for bone and cartilage in surgery and as a pipe and tank lining in the processing of foods. Titanium dioxide, known as titanium white, is a brilliant white pigment used in paints, lacquers, plastics, paper, textiles, and rubber.