Chem Explorers

The Versatility and Hazards of Titanium: Properties Uses and Health Effects

Introduction to Titanium

When it comes to strong, light-weight metals, titanium is one of the most well-known. As a transition metal with the chemical symbol Ti, this element boasts impressive properties that make it sought after in a variety of industries.

In this article, we’ll explore the characteristics of titanium, its isotopes, and how it is extracted from the Earth’s crust. We’ll also take a look at the history of titanium, including its origin and discovery, and how it has been produced in a pure form.

Characteristics of Titanium

Titanium is a transition metal, meaning that it belongs to a group of elements that have partially filled d or f electron shells. It has a low density, is highly resistant to corrosion, and boasts a high strength-to-weight ratio, making it an ideal material for aircraft and spacecraft construction, as well as medical implants and sporting equipment.

Interestingly, titanium is not magnetic, which sets it apart from many other metals. This feature makes it useful in applications where magnetic interference can be problematic.

Additionally, titanium has a low thermal conductivity, which means it doesn’t readily conduct heat. This characteristic makes it useful as a heat shield material in spacecraft.

Isotopes of Titanium

Titanium has five stable isotopes, which means they do not undergo radioactive decay over time. These isotopes are Ti-46, Ti-47, Ti-48, Ti-49, and Ti-50.

However, there are also ten radioisotopes of titanium, each with their own half-lives. The radioisotopes of titanium are produced through nuclear reactions, and have applications in scientific research and medical imaging.

Occurrence and Extraction of Titanium

Titanium is the 9th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, but occurs primarily in the form of minerals and ores, such as ilmenite and rutile. The process of extracting titanium from these materials requires several steps, including reduction and purification.

Reduction is the process of removing the oxygen from the titanium-containing compound. The most common method of reduction is the Kroll process, which involves heating titanium (IV) oxide with magnesium at high temperatures.

After reduction, the resulting titanium sponge is subjected to additional purification processes such as vacuum arc remelting, electroslag refining, and plasma arc welding.

History of Titanium

The name “titanium” comes from Greek mythology, where it was named after the Titans, the sons of the Earth goddess, Gaia, and the Sky god, Uranus. The Titans were known for their great strength and power, which is why titanium, with its strength-to-weight ratio, was named after them.

The discovery of titanium is credited to William Gregor, a Cornish mineralogist and clergyman, who identified it in menaccanite, a black mineral found in Cornwall, England, in 1791. However, it wasn’t until 1795 that titanium was confirmed as a new element by German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth, who identified the element in the mineral schrl.

The production of pure titanium was accomplished in 1910 by M.A. Hunter, a metallurgist from New Zealand. Hunter used a method called the Hunter process, which involved reacting titanium tetrachloride with sodium at 900C to form metallic titanium.


In conclusion, titanium is a versatile metal with unique properties that make it useful in a variety of industries. Its low density, high strength-to-weight ratio, and resistance to corrosion continue to make it an ideal material for aircraft and spacecraft construction, medical implants, and sporting equipment.

Titanium has a rich history that dates back to Greek mythology, and its discovery and production have been accomplished through the work of many scientists and metallurgists. Properties and

Characteristics of Titanium

Titanium is a metallic element with the atomic number 22, and an atomic mass of 47.87.

It has a molar mass of 47.87 g/mol, and a density of 4.54 g/cm at room temperature. Titanium has a high melting point of 1668C (3034F) and a boiling point of 3287C (5949F).

In this section, we’ll explore the physical and chemical properties of titanium in more detail.

Physical Properties of Titanium

Titanium is a silvery-white metal that can exist in solid, liquid, and gaseous states at different temperatures. At room temperature, it is a solid metal that is hard and brittle at low temperatures but can become malleable at higher temperatures.

Titanium is also known for its lightness, with a density that is less than half that of steel. Another important physical property of titanium is its electrical and thermal conductivity.

Titanium is not a great conductor of electricity or heat, compared to other metals like copper and aluminum. However, it is still used in applications that require conductivity due to its corrosion resistance and strength.

Chemical Properties of Titanium

Titanium exhibits different oxidation states, with the most common ones being +2, +3, and +4. In its natural state, it is found as a +4 oxidation state, meaning that it has four valence electrons in its outermost shell.

These valence electrons are arranged in the Lewis dot structure as two electrons in the 4s orbital and two in the 3d orbital. Titanium has five stable isotopes and several unstable isotopes.

Its electron configuration is [Ar] 3d2 4s2, with a first ionization energy of 6.82 electron volts (eV). This means that it takes 6.82 eV of energy to remove one electron from each titanium atom.

Uses of Titanium

Titanium has a wide range of uses due to its unique combination of properties, including its strength-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance, and biocompatibility. Here are a few examples of how titanium is used:

Alloys of Titanium with Other Metals

Titanium is often alloyed with other metals like aluminum, vanadium, and iron to produce high-strength, lightweight materials that can resist high temperatures and corrosion. These alloys find applications in the aerospace industry for building missiles, aircraft, and spacecraft.

Applications of Titanium in Various Industries

Titanium is used in a variety of industries, including the medical industry, where it is used for surgical implants due to its biocompatibility and low toxicity. Titanium is also used in the production of paints and sunscreens because of its high refractive index, which gives them a bright, opaque finish.

Interesting Facts about Titanium

Titanium occurs in igneous rocks, such as granite and basalt, and is often found in mineral deposits around volcanic areas. It has also been used in the aerospace industry to construct planes for many years.

For instance, Boeings commercial airplane, 737 Dreamliner, is primarily made out of titanium. It is also found on the moon’s surface.

Titanium is an essential metal because it helps to ensure that people can fly and live in space.

In conclusion, titanium is a unique metal with physical and chemical properties that make it useful in a wide range of industries.

Its low density, high strength-to-weight ratio, and corrosion resistance make it an ideal material for aerospace applications. Additionally, its biocompatibility and low toxicity make it useful in the medical industry, where it is used for surgical implants.

Finally, some interesting facts about titanium include its occurrence in igneous rocks, its use in constructing commercial airplanes, and its presence on the moon’s surface.

Toxicity and Health Effects of Titanium

Titanium is generally considered non-toxic, and pure titanium poses no significant health risks to humans. However, exposure to titanium dioxide (TiO2) dust can have harmful effects.

In this section, we’ll explore the safety of pure titanium, the hazardous effects of nano-TiO2, and how it can affect human health.

Safety of Pure Titanium

Pure titanium is considered non-toxic and poses no significant health risks, even in the event of accidental exposure. This is because pure titanium is an inert metal, meaning that it is not reactive to biological systems.

As a result, it does not cause an immune response or biological tissue damage. Titanium is also resistant to corrosion, so it does not react with water and is not dissolved by common acids or bases.

This property makes it an ideal material for use in medical implants like joint replacements and dental implants. In fact, titanium has been used for decades in these types of applications because of its biocompatibility and resistance to corrosion.

Hazardous Effects of Nano-TiO2

While pure titanium is non-toxic, nano-TiO2 – a form of TiO2 with particles smaller than 100 nanometers in size – has been found to have harmful effects on human health. Nano-TiO2 is commonly used in sunscreens, cosmetics, and various industrial and commercial applications.

Studies have shown that exposure to nano-TiO2 can lead to hazardous effects on the liver, kidney, brain, lungs, and reproductive system. When nano-TiO2 particles enter the body, they can accumulate in organs and cause inflammation and organ damage.

Additionally, nano-TiO2 has been linked to embryo toxicity, meaning that it can cause developmental problems in fetuses and embryos. To avoid these health risks, regulations have been put in place to limit the amount of nano-TiO2 that can be used in products and to ensure that workers who handle it are protected from exposure.

Titanium Price

The price of pure titanium can vary depending on a number of factors, including supply and demand, location, and purity. Currently, the price of titanium is around $7-9 per gram, which makes it more expensive than other common metals like steel and aluminum.

The high cost of pure titanium can be attributed to the difficulty of its extraction and purification. The Kroll process used to reduce titanium involves the use of high temperatures and expensive equipment, which contributes to the high cost of production.

Additionally, the cost of transporting and storing titanium can also impact the final price. Despite its high price, the unique properties of titanium make it a valuable material in many industries, and its cost is often justified by its performance and durability.


In conclusion, pure titanium is generally non-toxic and poses no significant health risks to humans. However, nano-TiO2 – a form of titanium dioxide with particles smaller than 100 nanometers – can have hazardous effects on human health.

These effects include damage to the liver, kidney, brain, and reproductive system. While the price of pure titanium is relatively high compared to other metals, its unique properties make it a valuable building material in many industries.

In conclusion, titanium is a versatile and valuable metal with a wide range of applications. Its properties, such as its strength-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance, and biocompatibility, make it desirable in industries such as aerospace and medicine.

While pure titanium is non-toxic, caution should be exercised with nano-TiO2 due to potential health risks. Despite its higher price, the unique characteristics of titanium justify its cost.

This article highlights the importance of understanding the properties, uses, and potential hazards associated with titanium, emphasizing the need for responsible use and regulation.


  1. Is titanium toxic? – No, pure titanium is considered non-toxic to humans.

  2. Are there any health risks associated with titanium?

    – Exposure to nano-TiO2 can lead to harmful effects on organs and embryo development.

  3. What is the cost of pure titanium? – The price of titanium is around $7-9 per gram.

  4. Why is titanium more expensive than other metals?

    – The cost of extraction, purification, transportation, and storage contributes to its higher price.

  5. What industries commonly use titanium? – Titanium is used in aerospace, medical, and various other industries due to its unique properties.

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