|Atomic mass||47.90 amu|
Titanium, discovered in 1791, occurs in various ores as titanium(IV) oxide, TiO2 and also in combination with iron and oxygen.
Titanium has a low density. It is heavier than aluminum but not quite as heavy as iron. Under normal environmental conditions, it does not tarnish. Its outstanding property is its lightness, which, combined with sufficient strength, makes it of unique value in the military and aerospace industries.
The two commercially important mineral forms of titanium are:
- rutile, TiO2, and
- ilmenite, FeTiO3.
In some parts of Australia, beach sands are rich in rutile, while the mineral in beach sands in India is essentially ilmenite. In Canada, an ore containing mainly ilmenite and hematite (Fe2O3) is mined in the Lac Tio area of Quebec.
Commercial applications of titanium include its use:
- as a structural metal in airplanes and aerospace vehicles.
- in desalination equipment because of its high resistance to chlorine.
- in alloys as titanium is a strengthening material for structural metals.
- as skeletal surgery because titanium does not react with flesh and bone.
- white pigment in paints, rubber, plastics and paper. TiO2 has now replaced "white lead" and zinc oxide. White lead is, in fact banned in most countries because of its high toxicity. Dupont is the world's largest producer of titanium dioxide.
- as a liquid smoke-producing product for skywriting and military smoke-screen devices. This uses TiCl4 as it generates a dense white vapour when it reacts with moist air.