Pursuing, developing and supporting new uses for titanium is a priority for the titanium industry. This includes help for companies that are developing new uses for titanium, by providing dependable metal supply, advanced metallurgical design and expertise, and in some cases capital support.
In the computer industry, titanium is a promising substrate for hard disk drives. Compared to aluminum, which is the primary material currently used, titanium provides significant advantages. Its non-magnetic properties prevent interference with the data storage process; its ability to withstand heat allows higher temperatures during the coating process, which improves manufacturing rates; and the purity of titanium permits closer read/write head tolerances, increasing disk capacity.
In the automotive industry, uses are being developed for titanium in the automotive/motorcycle aftermarkets and racing market. Engine parts such as connecting rods, wrist pins, valves, valve retainers and springs, rocker arms and camshafts, to name a few, lend themselves to fabrication from titanium, because it is durable, strong, lightweight, and resists heat and corrosion. While titanium initially may be more expensive for these applications, designs that exploit its unique characteristics yield parts that more than pay for themselves with better performance and longer life.
An all-titanium exhaust system is also being developed to reduce weight and increase longevity. The use of titanium on production vehicles is also being evaluated for engine parts to improve efficiencies and suspension springs to increase interior space.
There are new opportunities in geothermal power generation, where highly caustic steam released from the earth is captured to generate electricity. The low lifecycle cost of titanium in these applications provides significant savings compared to competing materials.