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  • Titanium is light, strong and resistant to corrosion and is the metal of the future. Explore its past in this timeline.

    1791 – Titanium discovered

    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.

    1795 – Titanium named

    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.

    1910 – Metal isolated from oxide

    Matthew Hunter, an American chemist, isolates the metal from its oxide.

    1916 – Commercial application

    Titanium dioxide becomes available as a commercial product and is used as a white pigment in paints.

    1932 – Titanium production breakthrough

    Wilhelm Justin Kroll, from Luxembourg, produces significant quantities of titanium by combining titanium tetrachloride with calcium.

    1940 – Kroll Process developed

    Kroll moves to America and modifies his process to meet commercial standards. Today, titanium is produced by the “Kroll Process”.

    1948 – Commercial production

    The DuPont Company is the first to produce titanium commercially.

    1960s – Military applications

    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.

    1985 – Titanium hip

    The first hip replacement operation using titanium alloy implants. Titanium alloys are biocompatible, corrosion-resistant, able to carry mechanical loads and are lightweight.

    2001 – Titanium heart

    First artificial heart transplant operation. The metallic parts are made of titanium.

    2008 – Titanium plane

    Airbus A380, capable of carrying 550 passengers, weighs in at 280 tonnes – 145 tonnes of this is the titanium alloy Ti-6Al-4V.

    Find out more, in this video on titanium’s special properties.

      Published 17 September 2009, Updated 29 April 2014 Referencing Hub articles
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