Is Titanium Expensive?

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘Why is Titanium Common But So Expensive?’ by OnTen Inc

Written by: Recapz Bot

Written by: Recapz Bot

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Titanium oxide mistaken for metal; light, strong, corrosion-resistant, used widely.

Key Insights

  • Titanium is often mistaken for a metal in nature, but it is actually an oxide that can be turned into metal.
  • Titanium, when in metal form, has a silver color, is extremely light, and has great strength.
  • Titanium is known to be highly resistant to corrosion and does not easily rust.
  • Titanium oxide was discovered in 1791 by William Greger in England and named by Martin Claproth, a German, after the Greek titans.
  • China is the largest exporter of titanium, providing 29% of the world's supply.
  • Titanium is in high demand due to its lightness and strength, making it useful in various industries like aerospace, hypercars, and high-end parts.
  • Titanium dioxide, a white powder, is commonly used in paints as a pigment.
  • To obtain pure titanium metal, the process involves separating titanium from oxygen by using hydrochloric acid and magnesium at a high temperature.
  • Purifying titanium is a complex and energy-intensive procedure requiring advanced machines.
  • Titanium is commonly used in laboratories for high-pressure containment and electromagnetic purposes due to its non-magnetic properties.
  • Titanium is frequently used in medical applications, such as bone replacements, due to its biocompatibility.
  • The aerospace industry is the primary consumer of titanium, but it is also used in jewelry, surgical tools, tennis rackets, bicycle frames, and some electronics.
  • Titanium is an expensive metal, costing more than 230 times the price of steel (based on current prices).
  • The current price for 1 kilogram of 99.99% pure titanium is $111.42.

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We got to the 22nd element on the periodic table, Titanium. A lot of people think that titanium is a metal in nature, but it’s an oxide that it could be turned into metal. When it becomes a metal, it gets a silver color, it’s extremely light, and unlike its weight that’s light, it’s extremely strong. And some people say that titanium is the strongest metal on earth.

Titanium is anti-corrosion, so it does not rust easily. In the year 1791, titanium oxide was discovered by William Greger, and that was in England. But the person that named this element was a year after, and that was a German by the name of Martin Claproth. And he got the name titanium from the Greek titans.

This table you’re seeing is the amount of elements on earth, and the bigger it is, the more we have here. Like oxygen is the biggest because we have so much of it, or carbon is in second place. This is aluminum, one of the most common metals on earth. This piece you’re seeing is titanium, so this shows us that it’s not a rare metal and there’s plenty of it on earth.

Titanium in oxide form is everywhere, and you could pretty much find it in every country. But if you want to know which country exports the most amount of titanium, that’s China. 29% of the titanium we use today, all of it comes from China.

Alright, we got to here, it was easy, we have plenty of it. But the hard part is to turn this into metal and get titanium metal. Titanium oxide is a mix of titanium and oxygen. To get pure titanium, you have to separate these atoms, so you get pure titanium. And the problem is, titanium does not like to get separated from oxygen. If titanium wasn’t so worth it, nobody would worry about separating these atoms because it wouldn’t be worth it. But titanium metal is so important that it’s well worth it.

Our world today is hungry for a metal like titanium because it’s 40% lighter than steel. And it’s good to know that titanium is much stronger than steel. A lot of high-end parts in different industries are made from titanium. Especially in aerospace technology, and even on the James Webb or rocket technology. It’s even used in hypercars. Cars like Pagani and Bugatti that cost millions of dollars.

Steel is very useful in a lot of places, but its weight is the biggest problem. And it lacks compared to titanium. If you have a piece of titanium ore, 45-60% of it is titanium dioxide. And when you separate it, you get a white powder. But don’t think the job’s finished, the job just started. This white powder is titanium atom, and each of them has two oxygen atoms stuck to it. In this situation, it’s perfectly fine to use for paints, especially white paint. Titanium dioxide is so common on earth, that it’s the cheapest method for using a white pigment in white paint.

Don’t make a mistake, we still haven’t gotten titanium metal. We just basically ground down the ore into this. But if we want to get titanium metal, we have to add hydrochloric acid to it. In this situation, titanium dioxide turns into titanium tetrachloride. This reaction removes the oxygen from titanium. The oxygen atoms leave, and four chlorine atoms stick to titanium.

We don’t want to stretch it out, but to purify titanium, you have to add magnesium to it. And that’s at a temperature of 825 degrees centigrade. In this situation, the magnesium and chloride stick together, and the titanium stays by itself and purifies. This procedure we just explained is extremely difficult and complicated. It needs a lot of energy and high-end machines.

Elon Musk has said something interesting about titanium. He says we know, back in the day, humans were not advanced, and there were no advanced aliens on earth. He says if we had advanced human civilization, or if aliens walked earth, we would find ancient titanium. A metal that’s extremely useful, very plenty, but it’s extremely hard to purify.

Right now, titanium is used in places where money is not being made. Like a car company is not going to make titanium cars and sell them. Unless it’s an extremely insane hypercar, and they’re going to charge you for all the titanium they use. Do you know the fastest airplane in the world? You might say Concorde, or the F-22. It’s none of those. That’s the SR-71 Blackbird. This airplane deserves its own video. But we have to say that titanium on this airplane speaks for itself.

Another place titanium is used is in different types of laboratories. And that’s when they want to keep something in a container. If the material is under high pressure, it has to be made from titanium. So it can withstand these insane pressures.

Another thing that makes titanium useful is that it’s not magnetic. And it’s important because in electromagnetic laboratories, you cannot use steel machines. The machines have to be made from titanium.

Either way, it’s an extremely useful and expensive metal. Inside the human body, when they want to replace a bone, they most likely use titanium. But they use other metals as well, like platinum. But titanium is the most common way. Like they make a hip bone with titanium. And the socket that gets inserted into it is made from a plastic called polyethylene. The reason they use plastic for that piece is that it allows it to move without causing friction.

In whole, titanium is used in jewelry, rods and screws in the body, expensive tennis rackets, surgery tools, expensive bicycle frames. And it’s also used in some electronics. But the things we just told you exclude the aerospace technology. And that’s the main use.

We keep saying it’s expensive. How much is it really? Let me get today’s prices, because these prices like to go up and down. This is from Amazon. One kilogram of 99.99% pure titanium costs $111.42. You might say that’s not that expensive, but you have to compare it to steel. And steel right now costs about 50 cents per kilogram. So you could say titanium is more than 230 times the price of steel.

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘Why is Titanium Common But So Expensive?’ by OnTen Inc