The history of titanium stretches way back to 1791 when it was discovered by a pastor in Cornwall, England. However, it wasn’t until 1910 that it became prominent on the manufacturing scene when metallurgist Matthew A. Hunter began producing it in the United States. As the ninth most abundant element on earth, it can be found in minerals like rutile and sphene.

As strong as steel but only about half as heavy, titanium alloys are used extensively in the aerospace and automotive industries, not only for its lightweight strength, but also because titanium is durable and not susceptible to corrosion. This versatile metal also is used for bone setting, artificial hips, and other medical implants for the human body.

History of Titanium

It wasn’t always called titanium. Originally, it was known as gregorite—named after the Reverend William Gregor who discovered it in 1791. The good pastor was an amateur geologist in his free time, and he had been analyzing some magnetic black sand when he realized he’d happened upon a new metal. Two years later, it was “discovered” again, this time by a German chemist who called it titanium, a nod to the strength of the Titans from Greek mythology. In 1797, he realized his titanium was the same as the aforementioned gregorite, but it still took more than 100 years before titanium was successfully isolated and put on its path to be used in all the products you can find it in today.  Now the 22nd element on the periodic table, titanium is useful in a wide range of industries due to its strength, corrosion resistance, and compatibility with the human body. 

History of Titanium

Titanium Applications

Titanium is popular in any situation where it’s important to maintain a high tensile strength to density ratio, such as automobiles, airplanes, spacecraft, naval ships, and motorcycles. It’s also valuable in these uses because it improves durability, fuel efficiency, and safety. You’ll find titanium across the aerospace, industrial, medical, and architectural industries as well as in a variety of consumer products, like tennis rackets, golf clubs, helmet grills, lacrosse stick shafts, and bicycle frames. It’s used in surgical instruments and medical implants, wheelchairs, crutches, and more in the clinical setting. 

When compared to steel, titanium is equal in strength but lighter in weight. When compared to aluminum, titanium is somewhat heavier, but twice as strong. Depending on the situation, it can be an ideal alternative for either of those materials. 

Let’s look more closely at the uses for titanium in two major industries: aerospace and medical.

Titanium in Aerospace and Medical

In the aerospace industry, common uses for titanium include:

  • Rotors
  • Compression blades
  • Hydraulic system components
  • Armor plating
  • Naval ships
  • Spacecraft
  • Missiles
  • Structural parts
  • Landing gear
  • Helicopter exhaust ducts

The Grade 5 Titanium alloy or 6AL 4V (6% Aluminum, 4% Vanadium) is used in nearly 50% of all aircraft applications, from engines to frames, valued for its corrosion resistance, heat resistance, maintainability, and lightweight strength. 

Titanium is biologically compatible with the human body, meaning that the body does not try to reject it. It also has the natural ability to integrate with the bones in the body to create a permanent structure. This makes it useful for a wide range of medical device components including medical and dental implants, medical instruments, and beauty supplies:

  • Heart valves
  • Plates, pins, rods, and cages surgically implanted in the body
  • Hip and knee replacements
  • Needles, surgical tweezers, scissors, forceps, etc.
  • Tooth implants
  • Hearing aids
  • Spinal fusion cages

Read more about the benefits of titanium in the medical space.

Ask Hudson Technologies About Your Titanium Needs

At Hudson Technologies, we work with titanium and other metals in a variety of manufacturing processes, serving the aerospace, defense, energy storage, medical, semiconductor, and oil and gas industries. We offer customized solutions within our numerous capabilities:

  • Deep drawing
  • Shallow drawing
  • Stamping
  • Progressive die
  • Forming
  • CNC milling and lathes
  • Wire EDM
  • Wire, sinker and hole puncher
  • Spot welders
  • Spinning
  • Surface grinders

Our skilled team is experienced with the complex processes designed to give you high-quality, cost-effective metal components while meeting all international standards, maintaining our status as a green manufacturer, and providing quality customer service for all your custom orders. We work with top-of-the-line tools and equipment, and are committed to quality control from start to finish in a safe working environment. From prototypes to large production runs, we can work with you to deliver what you need, when you need it. 

Request a quote, and you’ll hear from us within two business days with more information and pricing. We look forward to working with you on all your titanium needs. 

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