Timeline – Early discoveries about titanium
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Slide the time bar to see key dates relating to early discoveries about titanium. Pause the mouse pointer over any of the boxes to see additional information about each event. Find out more by browsing or searching the hub.
William Gregor, Vicar of Creed Parish in Cornwall and amateur geologist, examines magnetic sand from a local river. After removing the magnetic iron oxide and treating the residue with hydrochloric acid, he is left with an impure white oxide of a new element.
Martin Heinrich Klaproth, a chemist working in Germany, independently isolates a white oxide from a Hungarian mineral known as rutile. He gives the name titanium to the new metal element.
Metal isolated from oxide
Matthew Hunter, an American chemist, isolates the metal from its oxide.
Titanium dioxide becomes available as a commercial product and is used as a white pigment in paints.
Titanium production breakthrough
Wilhelm Justin Kroll, from Luxembourg, produces significant quantities of titanium by combining titanium tetrachloride with calcium.
Kroll Process developed
Kroll moves to America and modifies his process to meet commercial standards. Today, titanium is produced by the “Kroll Process”.
The DuPont Company is the first to produce titanium commercially.
Russia uses titanium alloys in military and submarine applications, while America uses titanium alloys for engine parts and fuselage/wing coverings in high-performance military aircraft.
The first hip replacement operation using titanium alloy implants. Titanium alloys are biocompatible, corrosion-resistant, able to carry mechanical loads and are lightweight.
First artificial heart transplant operation. The metallic parts are made of titanium.
Airbus A380, capable of carrying 550 passengers, weighs in at 280 tonnes – 145 tonnes of this is the titanium alloy Ti-6Al-4V.
Image: iStockphoto.com/Jeff Fullerton