Titanium is named after the mythological Titans. William Gregor discovered it in 1791, but M. H. Klaproth gave it its present name in 1795. Pure titanium was first made in 1910 by Matthew Hunter, an American metallurgist. It is the ninth most abundant element in the earth's crust, making up about 0.63% of the crust. It's also found in the minerals sphene, ilmenite, and rutile.
Titanium is just as strong as steel and twice as strong as aluminum. However, it's 45% lighter than steel and only 60% heavier than aluminum. Because titanium is not easily corroded by sea water, it is used in propeller shafts, rigging, and other parts of boats that are exposed to sea water. Titanium and its alloys are used in airplanes, missiles, and rockets since strength, low weight, and resistance to high temperatures are needed. Also, titanium doesn't react within the human body, so it's used to create artificial hips, pins for setting bones, and other biological implants.
The symbol for titanium is Ti. It's atomic number is 22, and the atomic weight is 47.867. Titanium belongs to the transition metals on the Periodic Table. It does not occur as the native element, and it's not found in living things. The metal titanium has a lustrous silvery-white color.
An unusual fact about titanium is that it's the only element that will burn when in an atmosphere of pure nitrogen. Titanium is also much more abundant on the Moon. The most important titanium compound commercially is titanium dioxide. It is used extensively in paint, which replaces the poisonous lead white. Another compound is titanium tetrachloride, a colorless liquid that fumes in moist air. It's used in making artificial pearls, iridescent glass, and smokescreens for the military.
All in all, titanium is a very useful product. Since its discovery in 1791, many uses have been found for titanium and its alloys. Unfortunately, the high cost of this element has limited its widespread use....
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