What is titanium?

What is titanium?

Titanium is known as a transition metal on the periodic table of elements and is denoted by the symbol Ti. It is a lightweight, silver-gray material with an atomic number of 22 and an atomic weight of 47.90. It has a density of 4.54g/cm3 , which is somewhere between the densities of aluminum and stainless steel. It has a melting point of roughly 1,667°C and a boiling point of 3,287°C. Rutile and ilmenite, the two primary minerals which contain titanium, make up 24% of the earth’s crust, thus making titanium the ninth most abundant element on the planet. However, it occurs in nature only in chemical combinations, the most common of which are oxygen and iron. As a metal, titanium is well known for corrosion resistance and for its high strength-to-weight ratio. Approximately 95% of titanium is consumed in the form of titanium dioxide (TiO2), a white pigment in paints, paper and plastics. Titanium alloys are widely used in the aerospace, chemical, auto, medical industries.

Resources, reserves and production of titanium
Industry standards of titanium
Titanium materials’ grades
Uses of Titanium
The Manufacturing Process of Titanium
Properties of Titanium
Titanium Weight Formulas

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Reverend William Gregor, 1762—1817

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The first suspicion of a new, unknown element present in a dark, magnetic iron-sand (ilmenite) in Cornwall (UK) was expressed in 1791 by Gregor, a clergyman and amateur mineralogist. He analyzed some black magnetic sand (menachanite) from Cornwall and found a residue he couldn’t identify and thought it might be a new metal.
Martin Heinrich Klaproth, 1743—1817
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In 1795, Klaproth, a German chemist, analyzed rutile from Hungary and verified an oxide of an unknown element, the same as the one reported by Gregor. He named it Titanium after the Titans Greek mythology, the powerful sons of the Earth in Greek mythology and “the incarnation of natural strength.” However, the element was not successfully isolated until 1910.
Matthew A. Hunter
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In 1910 Hunter, an American professor, was the first to make pure elemental titanium. Titanium remained a laboratory curiosity until metallurgist William Kroll invented the Kroll Process in 1946, a technique that enabled titanium production in large quantities. Still, by 1947 only two tonnes of titanium had been produced in the US.

Industry development

The Titanium Industry was born in 1948 after the US. Government funded the start-up to produce the “strategic” metal for aircraft, missiles and spacecraft. Never before had a structural metal received such scientific, financial and political attention. By 1953, annual production of titanium reached two million pounds.
Since then, titanium production has grown by about 8% per year, and from the early 1960s as prices dropped, its use shifted significantly from military applications to commercial uses. Still, as of 2006, 72% of titanium metal in the US is utilized for aerospace construction. This high demand by a single industry is the primary reason for the recent surge in titanium prices. The United States imports 99% of its titanium from Russia, Kazakhstan and Japan.
Today, titanium is utilized in modern applications including aircraft, sports equipment, pigment, corrosion resistant industrial pumps, high performance automobile components, turbine blades, golf clubs, bicycles, eyeglass frames, watches and, of course, jewelry.

Resources, reserves and production of titanium

Occurrence in nature
Titanium is present in the Earth’s crust at a level of about 0.6% and is therefore the fourth most abundant structural metal after aluminum, iron and magnesium. Titanium is always bonded to other elements in nature. It is present in most igneous rocks and in sediments derived from them (as well as in living things and natural bodies of water). Of the 801 types of igneous rocks analyzed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), 784 contained titanium. Its proportion in soils is approximately 0.5 to 1.5%. It is widely distributed and occurs primarily in the minerals anatase, brookite, ilmenite, perovskite, rutile and titanite (sphene). The most important mineral sources are ilmenite (FeTiO3) and rutile (TiO2).
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Significant titanium-bearing ilmenite deposits exist in Western Australia, Canada, China, India, Mozambique, New Zealand, Norway, Ukraine and South Africa, while rutile deposits are found in South Africa, India and Sierra Leone.
Major ilmenite deposit regions: eastern coast and western coast of Australia; Richards Bay in South Africa; eastern coast of America; Kerala in India; eastern coast and southern coast of Brazil.
Major rutile deposit regions: eastern coast and western coast of Australia; southwest coast of Serra Leone; Richards Bay in South Africa, Canada, China and India’s minerals belong to titanium rock minerals, a primary mineral, featuring a lower grade of titanium concentrates, abundant reserves and concentrated producing areas. With higher grades of raw ore and scattered resource locations, titanium placer minerals mainly occur in Australia and the US. South Africa is abundant in both rock minerals and placer minerals.
Rutile and ilmenite are extracted from sands that may contain only a few percent by weight of these minerals. After the valuable minerals are separated, the remaining sands are returned to the deposit and the land recultivated. In the United States, titanium-rich sands are mined in Florida and Virginia.
World titanium reserves
Titanium is obtained from various ores that occur naturally on the Earth. Ilmenite (FeTiO3) and rutile (TiO2) are the most important sources of titanium.
According to USGS, Ilmenite accounts for about 92% of the world’s consumption of titanium minerals. World resources of anatase, ilmenite and rutile total more than 2 billion tonnes. Identified reserves total 750 million tonnes (ilmenite plus rutile).
From the table below, China, with 20 million tonnes–accounting for 29% of the world total– is now the country that is most abundant in terms of ilmenite reserves. Meanwhile, Australia, with 24 million tones rutile reserves—accounting for 50% of the world total—is now the country that is most abundant in terms of rutile reserves.
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The total world reserves of ilmenite are around 700 million tonnes while rutile reserves are far less, numbering about 48 million tonnes.
Titanium resources in China
According to USGS, China has the world’s largest titanium reserves, with a total of 200 million tonnes identified to date, which make up 28.9% of the world total. Ilmenite is the principal source of titanium in China with rutile making up very little of the total.
Around 108 mine fields across 21 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities have found titanium resources, with Panxi in Sichuan, Chengdu in Hebe, along with others in Yunnan, Hainan, Guangxi and Guangdong the most prominent. Sichuan province is the foremost of these mining areas.
Primary titanium ore and titanium placer deposits are of great importance to China. Panxi and Chengde have most of the nation’s total primary reserves.
Titanium placer deposits are also distributed in Hainan, Yunnan, Guangdong and Guangxi provinces. Henan, Hubei and Shanxi provinces have limited rutile reserves.
World titanium concentrates production
According to USGS, in 2013, the leading producers of titanium concentrates included South Africa (1.22 million tonnes), Australia (1.39 million tonnes), the US (300 thousand tonnes), China (950 thousand tonnes), Canada (770 thousand tonnes) and India (366 thousand tonnes).
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Even though the United States mines and processes titanium and titanium dioxide, it still imports significant amounts of both. Metallic titanium is imported from Russia (36%), Japan (36%), Kazakhstan (25%) and other nations (3%). TiO2 pigment for paint is imported from Canada (33%), Germany (12%), France (8%), Spain (6%) and other nations (36%).
Titanium production in China

From the data above, we can see that China’s titanium concentrates are mainly extracted from ilmenite, with very little from rutile. In China, Sichuan province, Hainan and Hebei are the main titanium concentrates producers. Although titanium resources are abundant in China, the grade is not sufficient to produce high-grade titanium concentrates, which necessitates imports from countries like Australia, Vietnam and India. At present, Vietnam is China’s biggest source of imports.

Industry standards of titanium


  • ISO 22960:2008 Titanium and titanium alloys — Determination of iron — Molecular absorption spectrometry using 1, 10-phenanthroline
  • ISO 22962:2008 Titanium and titanium alloys — Determination of iron — Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry
  • ISO 22961:2008 Titanium and titanium alloys — Determination of iron — Atomic absorptionspectrometry
  • ISO 22963:2008 Titanium and titanium alloys — Determination of oxygen — Infrared method after fusion under inert gas


Titanium materials’ grades

Grade 1

Grade 1 titanium is the first of four commercially pure titanium grades. It is the softest and most ductile of these grades. It possesses the greatest formability, excellent corrosion resistance and high impact toughness.

Because of all these qualities, Grade 1 is the material of choice for any application where ease of formability is required and is commonly available as titanium plate and tubing. These include:

  • Chemical processing
  • Chlorate manufacturing
  • Dimensional stable anodes
  • Desalination
  • Architecture
  • Medical industry
  • Marine industry
  • Automotive parts
  • Airframe structure

Grade 2

Grade 2 titanium is called the “workhorse” of the commercially pure titanium industry, thanks to its varied usability and wide availability. It shares many of the same qualities as Grade 1 titanium, but it is slightly stronger. Both are equally corrosion resistant.

This grade possesses good weldability, strength, ductility and formability. This makes Grade 2 titanium bar and sheet are the prime choice for many fields of applications:

  • Architecture
  • Power generation
  • Medical industry
  • Hydro-carbon processing
  • Marine industry
  • Exhaust pipe shrouds
  • Airframe skin
  • Desalination
  • Chemical processing
  • Chlorate manufacturing

Grade 3

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Grade 3 Titanium Parts

This grade is least used of the commercially pure titanium grades, but that does not make it any less valuable. Grade 3 is stronger than Grades 1 and 2, similar in ductility and only slightly less formable – but it possesses higher mechanicals than its predecessors.

Grade 3 is used in applications requiring moderate strength and major corrosion resistance. These include:

  • Aerospace structures
  • Chemical processing
  • Medical industry
  • Marine industry

Grade 4

Grade 4 is known as the strongest of the four grades of commercially pure titanium. It is also known for its excellent corrosion resistance, good formability and weldability.

Though it is normally used in the following industrial applications, Grade 4 has recently found a niche as a medical grade titanium. It is needed in applications in which high strength is required:

  • Airframe components
  • Cryogenic vessels
  • Heat exchangers
  • CPI equipment
  • Condensor tubing
  • Surgical hardware
  • Pickling baskets

Titanium Alloys

Grade 7

Grade 7 is mechanically and physically equivalent to Grade 2, except with the addition of the interstitial element palladium, making it an alloy. Grade 7 possesses excellent weldability and fabricality, and is the most corrosion resistance of all titanium alloys. In fact, it is most resistant to corrosion in reducing acids.

Grade 7 is used in chemical processes and production equipment components.

Grade 11

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Grade 1 Titanium Machining

Grade 11 is very similar to Grade 1, except for the addition of a tiny bit of palladium to enhance corrosion resistance, making it an alloy. This corrosion resistance is useful to protect against crevice erosion and reducing acid in chloride environments.

Other useful properties include optimum ductility, cold formability, useful strength, impact toughness and excellent weldability. This alloy can be used in the same titanium applications as Grade 1, especially where corrosion is a concern such as:

  • Chemical processing
  • Chlorate manufacturing
  • Desalination
  • Marine applications

Ti 6Al-4V (Grade 5)

Known as the “workhorse” of the titanium alloys, Ti 6Al-4V, or Grade 5 titanium, is the most commonly used of all titanium alloys. It accounts for 50 percent of total titanium usage the world over.

Its usability lies in its many benefits. Ti 6Al-4V may be heat treated to increase its strength. It can be used in welded construction at service temperatures of up to 600° F. This alloy offers its high strength at a light weight, useful formability and high corrosion resistance.

Ti 6AI-4V’s usability makes it the best alloy for use in several industries, like the aerospace, medical, marine and chemical processing industries. It can be used in the creation of such technical things as:

  • Aircraft turbines
  • Engine components
  • Aircraft structural components
  • Aerospace fasteners
  • High-performance automatic parts
  • Marine applications
  • Sports equipments

Ti 6AL-4V ELI (Grade 23)

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Grade 23 Surgical Titanium

Ti 6AL-4V ELI, or Grade 23, is the higher purity version of Ti 6Al-4V. It can be made into coils, strands, wires or flat wires. It’s the top choice for any sort of situation where a combination of high strength, light weight, good corrosion resistance and high toughness are required. It has a superior damage tolerance to other alloys.

These benefits make Grade 23 the ultimate dental and medical titanium grade. It can be used in biomedical applications such as implantable components due to its biocompatibility, good fatigue strength and low modulus. It can also be used in detailed surgical procedures, as:

  • Orthopedic pins and screws
  • Orthopedic cables
  • Ligature clips
  • Surgical staples
  • Springs
  • Orthodontic appliances
  • In joint replacements
  • Cryogenic vessels
  • Bone fixation devices

Grade 12

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Grade 12 Titanium Applications

Grade 12 titanium holds an “excellent” rating for its high quality weldability. It is a highly durable alloy that provides a lot of strength at high temperatures. Grade 12 titanium possesses characteristics similar to 300 series stainless steels.

This alloy can be hot or cold formed using press brake forminghydropress formingstretch forming or drop hammer method. Its ability to be formed in a variety of ways makes it useful in many applications. This alloy’s high corrosion resistance also makes it invaluable to those manufacturing equipment where crevice corrosion is a concern. Grade 12 can be used in the following industries and applications:

  • Shell and heat exchangers
  • Hydrometallurgical applications
  • Elevated temperature chemical manufacturing
  • Marine and airfare components

Ti 5Al-2.5Sn

Ti 5Al-2.5Sn is a non-heat treatable alloy that can achieve good weldability with stability. It also possesses high temperature stability, high strength, good corrosion resistance and good creep resistance. Creep refers to the phenomenon of plastic strain over long periods of time, which happens at high temperatures.

Ti 5Al-2.5Sn is mostly used in aircraft and airframe applications, as well as cryogenic applications.

Chemical components of each grade















































5.5 – 6.75

3.5 – 4.5








0.12 – 0.25








2.5 – 3.3

2.0 – 3.0








0.2 – 0.4

0.6 – 0.9








5.5 – 6.75


Mechanical characteristics of each grade


Tensile Strength (min)

Yield Strength 0.2% Offset

Elongation in 2 inch or 50mm % (min)








20 – 45

138 – 310





40 – 65

275 – 450





55 – 80

380 – 550






































Uses of Titanium

Titanium has been traditionally used as a lightweight, extremely strong and exceedingly corrosion-resistant material in aircraft, electric power plants, seawater desalination plants, and heat exchangers. More recently, it has found increasing applications in consumer products, sporting goods and information technology (IT) equipment by making use of its aesthetic surface appearance and luxurious feel.

Thousands of titanium alloys have been developed and these can be grouped into four main categories. Their properties depend on their basic chemical structure and the way they are manipulated during manufacture. Some elements used for making alloys include aluminummolybdenum, cobalt, zirconium, tin and vanadium. Alpha phase alloys have the lowest strength but are formable and weldable. Alpha plus beta alloys have high strength. Near alpha alloys have medium strength but have good creep resistance. Beta phase alloys have the highest strength of any titanium alloys but they also lack ductility.
There is a difference between countries on titanium applications. While aerospace accounts for half of the titanium demand in the US, Europe and Russia, industrial applications, particularly in chemical plants, dominate in Asia. These differentiated markets will continue to be the main demand drivers behind a growth of 4.6%py (in the past year) through to 2018.

The aerospace industry is the largest user of titanium products. It is a useful material for this industry because of its high strength to weight ratio and high temperature properties. Titanium is typically used for airplane parts and fasteners. These same properties make titanium useful for the production of gas turbine engines while it is also used for other parts such as the compressor blades, casings, engine cowlings and heat shields.
The expansion in use of titanium within the aerospace market can be attributed to several factors, including the demand for newer aircraft designs with increased CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced polymer [or plastic]) composition. By sharing the same thermal expansion rates as many popular composite materials, titanium is highly favored as a composite interface material.
The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner is estimated to use 15 percent titanium by weight, 5 percent more than steel and is surely the exemplar for the increased use of titanium in commercial aircraft manufacturing. Increased titanium use in this aircraft directly corresponds with that of composite components based on the materials’ compatibility. The rise in composite design, construction and use is a strong indicator of additional increases in titanium part production.
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Current industry projections for titanium indicate a 40 percent increase in demand by 2015. Anticipating this growth, many major producers of titanium have announced plans to increase their production capacities.
Military aircraft

Titanium has been used in aircraft for nearly 60 years now, especially in military aircraft. Forty-two percent of the structural weight of the Lockheed Martin F22 Raptor, which entered service in the US at the end of 2005, consists of titanium. And even back in the ‘60s, some 93 percent of the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird’s structural weight consisted of titanium alloys. It is also used in the Lockheed Martin JSF (accounting for around a third of the aircraft by weight), and in the Airbus A350 and A380 commercial airliners.
The importance of titanium in the aerospace industry cannot be overstated. According to the latest figures from the US Geological Survey, in 2012, some 72 percent of titanium metal consumed in the US was used in aerospace applications, with the remaining 28 percent being used in “armor, chemical processing, marine, medical, power generation, sporting goods, and other nonaerospace applications.”
Globally, as the English metal research house Roskill Information Services says in an overview of its forthcoming report on the metal (“Titanium Metal: Market Outlook to 2018”), with the increased use of composites, particularly carbon-compatible reinforced polymers (CFRP) in the manufacture of large passenger aircraft: “titanium’s position as a key material in the aerospace industry is assured and growing.”
Ocean engineering
People have been developing using the ocean resource since the technology allows us to do it and the land resource is getting exhausted. Titanium is appealing for ocean engineering applications because of its excellent corrosion resistance feature. Therefore a great many of titanium products have been applied to the desalination of sea water, as well as for vessels and exploration of ocean resources.
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As early as the 1960s, China had begun carrying out application research into the use of titanium in vessels. With much effort, a sound system of vessel grade titanium was established. Titanium enjoys unique advantages when applied to vessels and the marine industry. Submarines, bathyvessels, atomic icebreakers, hydrofoils, hovercrafts, minesweepers and propellers all have titanium in them.
Though China has a sound system for vessel grade titanium and the titanium used on vessels is growing, many key technologies haven’t yet been grasped due to the lack of cooperation between research organizations, material research institutions and vessel companies.
In Russia, titanium consumption on vessels has reached 15%-20%, meaning the titanium market will be boosted dramatically, reaching hundreds of billions of dollars in market value. Oil exploration and exploitation will be the next potential market for titanium. Just one offshore oil drilling platform requires 1,500-2,000 tonnes of titanium. China plans to construct 70 platforms in the next 3-5 years, and consumption of titanium will reach 140 thousand tonnes. In addition, China has a great need for desalination and coastal power stations, and if cost reductions and quality improvements can be achieved, the titanium market’s prospects will be very bright.
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The list of titanium’s benefits is lengthy. This makes it incredibly useful for a number of different industries, including the automotive, aerospace and architectural worlds. But because titanium resists corrosion, is biocompatible and has an innate ability to join with human bone, it has become a staple of the medical field, as well. From surgical titanium instruments to orthopedic titanium rods, pins and plates, medical and dental titanium has truly become the fundamental material used in medicine.
Common titanium applications in terms of medical industry:

  • Hip and knee joints
  • Bone screws
  • Bone plates
  • Dental implants
  • Surgical devices
  • Pacemaker cases
  • Spectacle frames
  • Heart valves
  • Pharmaceutical equipment
  • Wheelchairs

It is expected that uses for titanium within the biomedical industry will only continue to grow in the coming years. With the baby-boomer demographic continuing to age and our health industry pushing people to live more active lives, it’s only logical that the medical industry will continue researching new and innovative uses for this popular metal alloy. And with healthcare reform a current major issue, titanium’s cost-efficiency adds even more appeal to those looking to cut healthcare costs.
In the field of automobiles, titanium found its first application within the engine parts of racing cars early in the 1980s. Since then, the range of applications for titanium has expanded to include its application in the muffler systems of super short-type bikes and limited models of high-performance cars.
Because of its great strength and low density, combined with virtual immunity to corrosion in the automotive environment, titanium offers many attractions for use in automobile applications. Despite its advantages, however, titanium hasn’t yet found a widespread use because the automotive industry is very price sensitive. The cost of titanium is relatively higher than that for steel or aluminum alloys. However, for some applications titanium is attracting great interest.

Production passenger automobile components which could benefit from using of titanium include engine valves, connecting rods and valve spring retainers, as well as valve springs. However, until recently the use of titanium in the family automobile had not progressed beyond the prototyped stage because of the high cost of titanium compared to competing materials. There are two major obstacles that must be overcome if titanium is to be used in high-volume production.
According to a survey, in China, titanium is primarily used in chemical applications such as heat-exchanger (57%), titanium anode (20%), titanium container (16%) and others (7%). In the chemical industry, chlor-alkali and sodium carbonate are major consumers of titanium.
Recreational uses
Titanium distributors are quickly finding more widespread uses for titanium tubing in recreational products, including sports equipment such as bicycles, golf clubs and tennis racquets. Titanium sheet and wire is now an attractive alternative to other special metals used in the jewelry industry, particularly in wedding jewelry.
In 2008, titanium consumption on sports equipment accounted for 13% of the total in China, with golf heads and golf clubs alone consuming over 1,000 tonnes. Bicycles made with titanium alloy frames are also catching on, and there are nearly 50 companies currently doing business in the titanium bicycles field. For a long time the US has been the biggest titanium bicycle producer and consumer. Spectacle frames are another famous application of titanium due to its extraordinary lightness and less tendency to be less allergenic to skin. Besides, after anodic treatment, titanium can be colorful which makes it even more popular as a frame material.
With ever advancing technologies, applications for titanium in daily life are expanding rapidly, but still, America and Japan are the leaders in this field.
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Major titanium products

Titanium metal and TiO2 pigment are the two main products made from titanium minerals, and upon them large industries depend. First by far in terms of volume produced is microcrystalline TiO2 for white pigment. Because of the extremely high refractive index of TiO2 as rutile (2.6 to 2.9, or higher than diamond), it is the chief opacifying pigment used in paint and other products such as plastics and paper, not only for white color but for quite a range of colors. Titanium dioxide pigment commonly forms more than 20 percent by weight of some paints. The pigment industry consumes more than 90 percent of all titanium minerals mined.

The product ranked second by volume, though perhaps not in importance, is titanium metal. The high strength-to-weight ratios and resistance to corrosion and high temperatures of titanium metal and titanium-based alloys make them important ingredients in many industries. Most important is the aircraft industry, where the use of titanium has been growing for more than 30 years, to the point that the current generation of commercial airliners can contain 30 percent titanium by weight. Another trend during recent times has been a diversification of titanium-metal uses in other industries. Many industries take advantage of titanium’s corrosion resistance, as in heat exchangers and desalination plants.

What is titanium sponge
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Titanium Sponge is the product resulting from the application of the Kroll process on raw titanium ore. Depending on the application of this process, differing purities of titanium sponge can be obtained. The resulting impurities in the sponge usually include iron, chloride, magnesium, silicon, nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.

How is titanium sponge processed
Titanium sponge is created by applying what is known as the “Kroll process” to Rutile mineral, where the mineral is treated with a chloride compound.
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What is titanium sponge used for
Titanium sponge is the product in its purest form and is used as the base of for titanium alloys, billets, ingots etc.
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What are the benefits of titanium sponge

  • Resistance to corrosion
  • Fire and shock resistant
  • Light weight
  • Low cost of maintenance
  • Biocompatible
  • Recyclable

Titanium sponge producers
There are nearly as few quoted titanium sponge producers as there are quoted ilmenite and rutile producers. And production of sponge is currently concentrated in just six countries, with China being both the largest producer and the one with the largest production capacity.
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In terms of the titanium sponge market, the United States, Europe and South Korea are the main export destinations for Chinese-produced titanium sponge. In recent years, titanium sponge output has gradually declined in the United States, where titanium product manufacturers including TIMET are experiencing short supply of the material. As for the European market, it relies entirely on imported titanium sponge. Currently, VSMPO-AVISMA and ATI are the main producers of aerospace titanium sponge in the European and American markets. Chinese titanium sponge enterprises mainly focus on the production of industrial titanium sponge.
Zunyi Titanium Co., Ltd., the leading titanium sponge manufacturer, is still in its production recovery stage, after suffering a drastic decline in 2009 and IPO failure. Its production, sales and prices for titanium sponge improved markedly in H1 2011. Huashen Titanium realized titanium sponge capacity of 10,000 tonnes/year, after receiving investment from Baoji Titanium in 2010. Meanwhile, its titanium sponge products for aerospace and military use saw a proportional rise, which further enhanced the connection with titanium mill products coming from the production lines of Baoji Titanium.

What is Titanium Dioxide
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Titanium dioxide pigment (chemical symbol: TiO2) is an inorganic white pigment founded in a variety of end-uses, including paints (50%+ of global production), plastics (30%), and papers (5%). TiO2 possesses unique opacity and brightness characteristics with no cost-effective known replacement. Right now, TiO2 is the world’s most widely used white pigment accounting for more than 80 percent of global consumption.

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Why is it used in cosmetics and personal care products

Titanium Dioxide is used to impart a whiteness to color cosmetics and personal care products that are applied to the skin (including the eye area), nails and lips, which it also helps to increase the opacity, and reduce the transparency of a product formula. Titanium Dioxide also absorbs, reflects or scatters light (including ultraviolet radiation in light), which can help protect products from deterioration.

How is titanium dioxide pigment manufactured
TiO2 pigment is extracted from the raw feedstock with either sulfuric acid or chlorine. The chlorine process is the more advanced technology and is generally regarded as having a lower cost structure than the sulfate process. While the chlorine process has a higher raw ore cost due to using purer feedstock, the sulfate process has higher labor, waste and environmental liability costs. The chloride process is generally preferred for the major end uses in paint and plastics, and about two thirds of global capacity utilizes chloride.
The overall chemistry of the two processes can be represented as:
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Comparison of the two processes for the manufacture of titanium dioxide.
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TiO2 industry
The global titanium dioxide industry has gravitated towards the Asia-Pacific region. In terms of supply, the titanium dioxide capacity of China has surpassed that of the US and hit more than 2 million tonnes, making China the world’s largest titanium dioxide producer. In 2011, the titanium dioxide output of China surged by 23.10% year-on-year to 1.812 million tonnes. Apart from the new capacity of 350,000 tonnes contributed by DuPont, any increase in titanium dioxide capacity is expected to come mainly from China in the future.
This table shows the latest data of titanium dioxode production capacity in 2013, released by USGS.
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The industry has been plagued with overcapacity since the 1990s. TiO2 pricing in real terms fell close to 50% between 1990 and 2009. Due to the high fixed cost structure of the business, in periods of overcapacity producers cut prices in a desperate attempt to use up excess capacity.
The last two decades have been marginally profitable at best for TiO2 producers, with plants often running at breakeven. However, overcapacity has persisted, in part due to the large environmental liabilities associated with decommissioning a TiO2 plant.
TiO2 demand underwent a rare sequential decline in 2008-9, dipping by 8% globally and 16% in Western markets over those two years. Several producers responded by permanently shuttering higher cost plants constituting 7% of worldwide capacity. Additionally, many producers temporarily idled plants due to weak demand. These shutdowns, coupled with a rise in demand due to inventory restocking in the global recovery, led to tightening supply and sharply rising prices starting in the back half of 2009. Prices have risen consistently since then, with price increases for the third and fourth quarters of 2011 already announced by the major producers. While there is no uniformly agreed price index for the industry, based on industry data and public company reports prices have risen about 40% in the past year.
The major question on the supply side is China. Ti Insight estimates that there are currently between 60 and 80 TiO2 plants in China with about 1 million mt of capacity, which is almost entirely sulfate capacity. Chinese producers have announced some significant capacity expansions, but there are doubts as to whether those plants will actually get built let alone whether they will actually run at their stated capacity. (DuPont has had a Chinese plant project stuck in the early planning stages since 2005.) Ti Insight estimates that China will add 770,000 mt of capacity by 2015. The consensus confirmed by both industry consultants and TiO2 buyers is that Chinese production is generally regarded as suitable only for lower-end markets and is not a substantial threat to Western producers at the present time. The sulfate process produces a lower quality base pigment than chloride. While sulfate TiO2 can be finished in a way that makes it comparable in quality to chloride, the finishing process is proprietary to each producer and the Chinese are not up to Western standards in that area. Only the top five producers possess chlorine technology and it is assumed the Chinese producers will have a tough time replicating it even if they attempt to do so. And even with the anticipated Chinese capacity expansions the total supply CAGR is only 3% through to 2015. That will probably just about keep up with demand growth.

The Manufacturing Process of Titanium

Raw material
Titanium comprises 0.63% of the Earth’s crust and is the fourth most abundant structural metal, after aluminium, iron and magnesium.
Titanium deposits that can be mined economically are found throughout the world. The main ores are rutile (TiO2) and ilmenite (FeTiO3) in beach sand deposits (Western Australia), ilmenite-haematite (Canada), and ilmenite-magnetite (Ukraine) in hard rock deposits. Although rutile is scarcer and more expensive than ilmenite, it is more commonly used because it does not contain iron compounds and can therefore be more readily processed. However, ilmenite is sometimes processed to remove the iron and make ‘synthetic’ rutile.

Stockpiling heavy mineral concentrate which contains rutile, ilmenite and zircon, and other heavy minerals that are not valuable. It will then be further processed to separate the rutile prior to beginning the process for the extraction of the titanium—By kind permission of Iluka Resources.

The Kroll Process
Most titanium is manufactured from ores containing titanium dioxide using a lengthy four-stage process:

  • a) chlorination of the ore to titanium(IV) chloride
  • b) purification of titanium(IV) chloride
  • c) reduction of titanium(IV) chloride to titanium sponge
  • d) processing of titanium sponge

(a) Chlorination of the ore to titanium (IV) chloride
Titanium dioxide is thermally stable and very resistant to chemical attack. It cannot be reduced using carbon, carbon monoxide or hydrogen, and reduction by more electropositive metals is incomplete. If the oxide is converted into titanium (IV) chloride, however, a route to titanium becomes viable, as the chloride is more readily reduced.
The dry ore is fed into a chlorinator together with coke forming a fluid bed. Once the bed has been preheated, the heat of reaction with chlorine is sufficient to maintain the temperature at 1300 K:
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(b) Purification of titanium (IV) chloride
The crude titanium(IV) chloride is purified by distillation, after chemical treatment with hydrogen sulfide or mineral oil to remove vanadium oxychloride, VOCl3, which boils at the same temperature as titanium(IV) chloride. The final product is pure (>99.9%) titanium(IV) chloride which can be used either to make titanium or oxidized to give titanium dioxide for pigments.
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(c) Reduction of titanium (IV) chloride to titanium sponge
Titanium (IV) chloride is a volatile liquid. It is heated to produce a vapour which is passed into a stainless steel reactor containing molten magnesium (in excess), preheated to about 800 K in an atmosphere of argon. Exothermic reactions giving titanium (lll) and titanium (ll) chlorides cause a rapid temperature rise to about 1100 K. These chlorides undergo reduction slowly, so the temperature is raised to 1300 K to complete the reduction process. Even so, it is a lengthy process:
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After 36-50 hours the reactor is removed from the furnace and allowed to cool for at least four days.
The unreacted magnesium and the chloride/titanium mixture is recovered, crushed and leached with dilute hydrochloric acid to remove magnesium chloride. In an alternative method, used in Japan, magnesium chloride, together with unreacted magnesium, is removed from the titanium by high temperature vacuum distillation.
The magnesium chloride is electrolysed to generate magnesium for the reduction stage and the chlorine is recycled for the ore chlorination stage.
The titanium is purified by high temperature vacuum distillation. The metal is in the form of a porous granule which is called sponge. This may be processed on site, or sold on to other companies for conversion to titanium products.
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Summary of the conversion of titanium ore into useful products
(d) Processing of titanium sponge
As titanium sponge reacts readily with nitrogen and oxygen at high temperatures, the sponge must be processed in a vacuum or an inert atmosphere such as argon. At this stage scrap titanium may be included, and other metals may be added if a titanium alloy is required. A common method is to compress the materials together to create a large block which then becomes an electrode in an electric arc melting crucible. An arc forms between the crucible and the electrode, causing the electrode to melt into the crucible where it is cooled and forms a large ingot. This may be repeated to produce a “second melt” ingot of higher quality.
ITP Armstrong Process
Titanium and its alloys can be produced from titanium(IV) chloride using sodium instead of magnesium. Although the chemistry is not new, a continuous rather than batch process has now been developed, significantly reducing costs.
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A continuous process for the reduction of titanium (IV) chloride
Titanium (IV) chloride vapour is introduced into a stream of molten sodium, and the chloride is reduced to the metal. Titanium and sodium chloride are formed as solids, and are extracted from the sodium stream by filtering. After removing residual sodium, the titanium metal can be separated from the salt by simple washing. The sodium chloride is dried, heated until molten and electrolysed, generating sodium for re-use and chlorine for the initial chlorination stage.
If the titanium (IV) chloride feed is mixed thoroughly with the correct proportions of other metal chlorides before being fed into the liquid sodium stream, the result is a very high quality titanium alloy powder, one of the major advantages of this process. For example, Ti-6Al-4V is produced by including aluminium chloride and vanadium (IV) chloride in the correct proportions in the feed.
FFC Cambridge Process
Research in Cambridge (UK) has led to the development of an electrolytic method for reducing titanium dioxide directly to titanium.
Titanium dioxide (usually rutile) is powdered and then made up into pellets to act as the cathode. They are placed in a bath of molten calcium chloride and connected to a metal rod which acts as the conductor. The cell is completed with a carbon anode. On applying a voltage, titanium oxide is reduced to titanium and the oxide ions are attracted to the carbon anode, which is oxidised to carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.
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The electrolytic reduction of titanium (IV) oxide
If a much higher voltage is applied the mechanism is different. Calcium is deposited at the cathode and reacts with the titanium dioxide to form titanium and calcium ions are regenerated.
The process is much simpler than existing methods, operating at lower temperatures (saving energy costs), and has a lower environmental impact. It has the potential to reduce the production costs significantly, making it possible for the advantages of titanium metal to be applied to a wider range of end-products.
The process is also being considered for the production of other metals, for example, tantalum.

Properties of Titanium

Atomic Number 22
Heat of Vaporization 9.83MJ/kg
Atomic Weight 47.9
Machinability Rating 40
Atomic Volume 10.6W/D
Magnetic Susceptibility 1.25×10-6 / 3.17 emu/g
Boiling Point 3260 °C/5900 °F
Melting Point 1668°C + 10°C (3035°F + 18°F)
Coefficient of friction 0.8 at 40 m/min (125 ft/min) / 0.68 at 300 m/min (1000 ft/min)
Modulus of Elasticity 14.9 x 106psi
Coefficient of thermal expansion 22
Atomic Number 8.64 x 10-6°C
Poisson’s Ratio 0.41
Color Dark Grey
Solidus/Liquidus 1725°C/ (3137°F)
Covalent Radius 1.32 A
Specific Gravity 4.5
Density 4.51 gm/cm3   (0.163 lb/in3)
Specific Heat (at 25oC) 0.518 J/kg °K,  (0.124 BTU/lb °F)
Electrical Conductivity 3% IACS (copper 100%)
Specific resistance 554 μohm-cm
Electrical Resistivity 47.8 μohm-cm
Tensile Strength 35 ksi min
Electronegativity 1.5 Pauling’s
Thermo-Conductivity 9.0 BTU/hr ft2°F
First Ionization Energy 158 k-cal/g-mole
Thermal Neutron Absorption Cross Section 5.6 barnes/atom
Hardness HRB 70 to 74
Young’s Modulus of Elasticity 116 x 106 lbf/in2, 102.7 GPA
Heat of Fusion 440 kJ/kg (est.)


1 inch (in) 25.4  mm 1 Millimeter (mm) 0.03937 in
2.54  cm 0.003281 ft
0.0254 m 0.001094 yd
1 Foot (ft)   304.800 mm 1 Centimeter (cm)   0.3937 in
30.480 cm 0.03281 ft
0.3048 m 0.01094 yd
1 Yard (yd) 91.4402 cm 1 Meter (m) 39.37 in
0.9144 m 3.2808 ft
0.000914 km 1.0936 yd
  0.0005214 mi
1 Mile (mi) 1609.344 m 1 Kilometer (km) 3280.833 ft
1.6093 km 1093.611 yd
  0.6214 mi


1 Cir Mil 0.0005067 sq mm 1 sq mm 1,973.55 cir mils
  0.001550 sq in
  0.00010764  sq ft
  0.000001196 sq yd
1 sq inch (in) 645.163 sq mm 1 sq cm  0.1550 sq in
6.4516 sq cm 0.001076 sq ft
0.0006452 sq m 0.000,1196 sq yd
1 sq foot (ft)   92,903.41 sq mm 1 sq m  1,549.9969 sq in
929.0341 sq.cm 10.7639 sq ft
0.0929 sq m 1.1960 sq yd
0.000929 sq km 0.0003861 sq mi
1 sq Yard (yd) 836,130.74 sq mm 1 sq km 10,763,867.36 sq ft
8,361.307 sq cm 1,195,985.26 sq yd
0.83613 sq m 0.3861 sq mi
0.000836 sq km  
1 sq Mile (mi) 2,589,998 sq m  
2.590 sq km

Titanium Weight Formulas


  • Lbs per linear foot = 1.5369 x dia2
  • Lbs per linear inch – 0.1281 x dia2

Rectangles/Squares (width = thickness)

  • Lbs per linear foot = 1.9568 x thickness x width
  • Lbs per linear inch = 0.1631 x thickness x width

Circles (Disks)

  • Lbs per linear foot = 1.6211 x dia2
  • Lbs per linear inch = 0.1351 x dia2
  • Lbs per piece = thickness x input2 x 0.128


  • Lbs/Square Foot = Thickness x 23.472
  • Weight per piece = Thickness x width x length x 0.163


  • Lbs/Square Foot = Thickness x 23.472
  • W = 6.14 (OD-T)T
  • Skelp Size: (OD-T) x 3.14
  • W = weight in lbs/ft
  • OD = outer diameter in inches
  • T = thickness of the tube wall in inch

Source: China Titanium Pipe Fittings Manufacturer – Yaang Pipe Industry (www.steeljrv.com)

(Yaang Pipe Industry is a leading manufacturer and supplier of nickel alloy and stainless steel products, including Super Duplex Stainless Steel Flanges, Stainless Steel Flanges, Stainless Steel Pipe Fittings, Stainless Steel Pipe. Yaang products are widely used in Shipbuilding, Nuclear power, Marine engineering, Petroleum, Chemical, Mining, Sewage treatment, Natural gas and Pressure vessels and other industries.)

If you want to have more information about the article or you want to share your opinion with us, contact us at [email protected]


  • www.supraalloys.com
  • www.yaang.com

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