Metals rust and corrode as the result of the metal breaking down when exposed to extreme, wet or acid dominated environments. All metal eventually experiences this kind of break down. Some metals, however, are more resistant to them than others. This is the case of the titanium that is common today.
Titanium is a popular metal that is recognized as more durable and stronger than steel, yet is lighter and more flexible than steel. These properties of titanium make it a popular metal used in chemical plants, airplanes, and various military and engineering applications. Titanium is also used in rifles and air guns. Titanium can withstand extreme temperature and exposure to salt water. It has been hailed as one of the strongest, most durable metals around.
Characteristics of Titanium
Titanium is a resilient metal that is also highly reactive. When titanium is exposed to certain environments such as those with hot nitric acid, chlorine, salt water and extreme temperatures, titanium oxide is created on the surface of the titanium. This titanium oxide can occur quickly. It provides a strong, durable, almost impenetrable barrier that protects the pure titanium metal underneath it from further corrosion.
Pure titanium is resistant to rusting and corrosion from liquids including chemicals, acids, and saltwater as well as various gases because of its oxide barrier.
As the name oxide implies, oxygen is needed to produce this barrier. In vacuum-like environments, where oxygen is limited, titanium will corrode and rust quickly. Pure titanium that is completely rust and corrosive resistant, however, is rare and hard to find and produce. Many titanium parts and objects are made of a titanium alloy which includes the combination of various levels of titanium and other metals. Because they are not made of pure titanium, they are susceptible to rust and corrosion. Being more resistant to rust and corrosion than other metals and metal alloys, common titanium used today has the appearance of not rusting or corroding and is more durable and longer-lasting than other metals.
Titanium shavings, like shavings from other metals, are highly reactive and flammable even in relatedly low temperatures. This makes titanium a poor choice for some mechanical operations. Titanium oxide comes in the form of a white powder. This protective barrier does eventually break down, but it takes many years to do so. With its slow corrosion process, titanium is a good choice for piping. Unlike pipes made from other metals, titanium piping typically doesn’t require an additional protective coating.
While titanium is tough, durable and rust and corrosion resistant in harsh conditions, it is still susceptible to tarnishing and requires regular, though little cleaning and maintenance.
Titanium is a metal that is easy to maintain, mainly in part because of its unique titanium oxide barrier. With titanium, one doesn’t need a fancy store-bought cleaner. DIY cleaning solutions of warm water and jewelry cleaner, mild liquid dish soap or window cleaner works great on sprucing up the appearance of titanium. It’s important to note that one should avoid using any bleach or chlorine-based products as these can damage and worsen the look of titanium. After cleaning, dry the titanium with a soft, clean cloth. Colored or dyed titanium pieces, however, should be wiped extra carefully as the coloring can be rubbed off. For titanium that is scratched or tarnished, special metal polisher works best with its oxidation remover properties.
Common Uses For Titanium
Titanium has many favorable properties that make it ideal for a variety of uses and applications. It is lightweight, durable, strong, is long-lasting, and is resistant to heat, acid, salt water and chemicals. It is also less prone to rust and corrosion than other metals and alloys. You’ll find titanium piping in power plants, desalination plants, off-shore drilling platforms and in everyday private and commercial structures and factories. Titanium is also found in many everyday objects in the home as well.
Titanium Metal Uses
One doesn’t have to look far to see the widespread use of titanium metal. As titanium is resistant to moisture, certain chemicals, and extreme temperatures, the metal is found in a variety of manufacturing facilities, desalination plants, oil and gas facilities and ocean platforms, power plants and chemical reactors. With its light weight and long life span, titanium piping is a popular addition for a variety of buildings from business offices to hospitals to hotels.
The military and aerospace engineering firms use titanium parts in aircraft, weapons, and vehicles because of its ability to handle extremely high temperatures, and its rust and corrosion resistance. Titanium is found in a variety of car parts such as mufflers and exhaust pipes and in a number of outdoor gear such as hunting knives, fishing reels and poles, golf clubs, air rifles and air pistols.