The Element Titanium: Discovery, Properties, Compounds, and Uses of this Versatile Metal


What is Titanium element? Who discovered Titanium, what are the properties, compounds and the uses of Titanium element



Titanium; symbol Ti, is a light, strong, silvery metallic element. It is classified as one of the transition elements. Titanium was discovered by the British clergyman William Gregor in 1790. Gregor’s analysis of a black magnetic sand found near Falmouth, England, yielded a large proportion of a white metallic oxide. In 1795 the German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth realized that Gregor’s description of the oxide coincided closely with the properties of an oxide that he had isolated from a sample of Hungarian rutile. Klaproth gave the name “titanium” to the metallic element in the oxide.


The high cost of titanium metal often limits its use to military purposes. Because of its lightness and strength, titanium is used as a structural material in high-speed aircraft, rockets, guided missiles, and recoil mechanisms for artillery. Titanium is often used in the chemical processing industry because of its resistance to corrosion. This resistance is probably due to a thin coating of titanium dioxide, which protects the metal from further corrosion. The metal has unusually good resistance to corrosion by salt water, and so it is used in propeller shafts and other parts exposed to the sea.

Titanium is added to other metals, such as copper, steel, and aluminum, to affect certain properties. For example, in the manufacture of stainless steel, metallic titanium is used to stabilize the carbon and nitrogen content. Ferrotita-nium is added to steel as a deoxidizer.

Titanium dioxide, Ti02, a white compound, is used in the production of paint pigment, paper, plastics, glass, and ceramics. The presence of titanium dioxide produces the “stars” in star rubies and sapphires.


Titanium hydride, TiH2, is used in powder metallurgy, in the production of hydrogen, as a getter in vacuum tubes, and in the production of foamed metals. Barium titanate, BaTiOs, is widely used in the electronics industry because of its high dielectric constant. Organic alkali titanates are used as waterproofing agents. Titanium trioxide, TiO2, is used in dental porcelain. Titanium tetrachloride, TiCl,, is used as a mordant in the textile industry, in artificial pearls, and in titanium pigments. Titanium nitride, TiN, is used in cermets and semiconductor devices. Titanous sulfate, Ti2(SO4)3, is used as a reducing agent in the textile industry.

A new nickel-titanium alloy called nitinol has been developed, which has the unusual property of regaining its previous shape when heated. First the alloy is shaped and heated to a critical temperature. When the object has cooled, it can be mechanically reshaped. However, when it is then reheated, it will resume its original form. There are numerous potential uses for nitinol, particularly in construction, where areas are often difficult to reach. The alloy could be used to make rivets and cotter pins.


Titanium is located in Group IVB of the periodic table. Its atomic number is 22, and its atomic weight is 47.90. The element melts at 1675° C (3047° F) and boils at 3260° C (5900° F). Its density is 4.51 g/cc (0.16 lb/cu ft). There are two crystalline forms of titanium. The a form, which is formed at temperatures below 882° C (1620° F), is close-packed hexagonal, and the [1 form, which is formed above 882° C, is body-centered cubic.

Titanium is as strong as steel but almost 50% lighter. Pure titanium is easily fabricated, but it becomes brittle when contaminated with other elements, such as carbon and nitrogen.

There are nine isotopes of titanium, ranging from 43Ti to 51Ti. Of these, the isotopes 46Ti through 50Ti are stable. Of the titanium found in nature, 48Ti makes up about 74%, 46Ti 7.9%, 47Ti 7.3%, 49Ti 5.5%, and 50Ti 5.3%. The other isotopes, which are radioactive, have half-lives from 0.6 second to approximately 10^3 years.

Titanium exhibits oxidation states of + 4, + 3, and +2, with Tit4 being the most stable. The metal has a strong affinity for oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen, making it difficult to obtain in the pure state. Titanium will burn in air at about 1200° C (2192° F). It is one of the few metals that will burn in a stream of nitrogen gas. Metallic titanium is readily attacked by concentrated sulfuric and hydrochloric acids, but reacts slowly with the dilute forms of these acids. It is not much affected by nitric acid.


A number of titanium oxides can be prepared, including titanium monoxide, TiO; titanium sesquioxide, Ti203; titanium dioxide, Ti02; and titanium trioxide, Ti03. Titanium dioxide is the most stable of these compounds and is found in nature in several minerals. Beduction of titanium dioxide with charcoal produces titanium monoxide. Titanium sesquioxide is produced from the reduction of titanium dioxide. Titanium combines readily with fluorine, chlorine, bromine, and iodine.


Of the various compounds that can be formed, titanium tetrachloride, TiCl4, is the most common. This substance is a liquid at room temperature. Exposure to air results in its decomposition to form corrosive hydrogen chloride gas. The tetrabromide (yellow), the tetraiodide (reddish brown), and the tetrafluoride (white) are all solids at room temperature.

Titanates are compounds of the formula MTi03, M2Ti03, and M2Ti205, where M represents any of a number of metallic elements, including calcium, magnesium, manganese, barium, and iron. Liquid titanium metal reacts partially with carbon or nitrogen to form TiC and Ti3N4. Titanium also reacts with boron, silicon, and other less-common nonmetallic elements.

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