Interest in metals has never been higher, with a rising gold and silver price, meaning that we are looking at our precious metals in a way we never have before. Over the centuries, we have used metals in different ways, and some of the more unusual metals would have been practically unknown in our grandparents’ time. One of these newer metals are titanium, which is being used increasingly in jewelry, watches, and many other uses too.
The element titanium is a British discovery. It was discovered by William Gregor as far back as 1791, and the mineral was named manaccanite. Later the same year, a German chemist found the same element, and he chose the name titanium about the Titans of Greek mythology. This name stuck. Gregor was not a trained chemist or geologist; he was a Church of England vicar who had a considerable interest in the subject. When he was posted to a parish in rural Cornwall, he made it his life’s mission to discover as much as he could about the local rocks.
Strength and Weight
Titanium has the highest strength to weight ratio of all metals. This means that it is both incredibly light and robust. Because of this, titanium is often made into an alloy with other metals such as aluminum or iron and is used for items as diverse as the men’s Tissot PR100 watch range and the prosthetic limbs used by athletes competing in the Paralympics. The lightweight of the metal makes it ideal for jewelry use, and watches such as the men’s Tissor PR100 look chunky without being heavy.
The primary use of titanium is to produce a dye or coloring called titanium dioxide. This compound is bright white and is used in toothpaste, plastics, and paint. If you’ve ever applied one of those sunscreens which goes on white and does not rub into your face, the chances are that you’ve been applying some titanium dioxide onto your skin. It is used in most of the waterproof sunscreens on the market.
One of the other properties of titanium is that it is very resistant to cracking or splitting. Because of this, it is the material of choice to use in spaceships and aircraft. The lightweight material can also make places more fuel-efficient too. The titanium is used both in the construction of the frame of the plane and in internal parts such as rotor blades.
Allergies and Toxicity
Titanium jewelry is the best choice for people who have sensitive skin or allergies, as it is the metal least likely to provoke a reaction. Rising gold and platinum prices have made titanium a more popular choice, and ranges made purely from alloys of the metal are beginning to appear on the market. Titanium is entirely accepted by the body, meaning that it can be used for dental implants or other prosthetics without any risk that the body will reject the implant.