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Titanium (Ti) is the fourth most abundant structural metal in the Earth’s crust, but sufficient amounts have recently become available to make it useful as an engineering material. Prior to the development of better extraction techniques in the 1940s, the presence of relatively small amounts of impurities, such as oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, and hydrogen, which dissolve in the material and corrode the material, prevented its commercial exploitation.
Discovered by William Kroll in 1937 the method of reducing titanium tetrachloride with molten magnesium to produce a porous mass of titanium also known as the Kroll method, marked the beginning of the titanium’s widespread use.
Work on the extraction of titanium in the UK took a slightly different route than that discovered by Kroll. Here sodium was employed as the reduction medium instead of magnesium, the essential difference in the size of the particles in the products, due to the sodium reduction process resulting in the granules being superior to the sponge.
Research and development on melting and production processes began in the United Kingdom in 1948 and after a pilot plant phase, a completely modern production plant was established in the middle of the 1950s.
Since that time, great progress has been made not only in a better understanding of the basic metallurgy of titanium, but also in the development of process and production techniques, alloy development, measurement of properties and characteristics, and applications in many industries.
The need in certain applications for the absolute reliability of equipment, as well as the continuous drive for high efficiency at increased temperatures, pressures, and speeds, is the reason for the increasing use of titanium in many industries and its assurance for the future.
Stainless steel is not a single material but the name of a family of corrosion-resistant steel. Like many scientific discoveries, stainless steel originated in a serious accident. In Sheffield, England, in 1913, Harry Brearley was investigating the development of new steel alloys for use in gun barrels.
He noticed that some of his specimens did not rust and were difficult to dig up. These alloys contain about 13% chromium. The first use of these steels was in cutlery for which Sheffield later became world-famous. The development of austenitic stainless steel preceded the work together in France.
The worldwide demand for stainless steel is growing at the rate of about 5% per annum. The consumption of stainless steel is now exceeding20 million tonnes annually and constantly increasing in other sectors as well such as home appliances and the construction industry. The world is also constantly finding new uses for stainless steel’s corrosion resistance, attractive appearance, low maintenance, and strength. Stainless steel is more expensive than standard grades of steel, but has greater resistance to corrosion, requires less maintenance, and has no need for painting or other protective coatings. So, as per the above description, stainless steel may be more economically viable when life and life-cycle repairing costs are calculated.
According to the data, titanium is a metal while stainless steel is an alloy and this is the key difference between stainless steel and titanium. The unique and basic characteristics of a stainless steel is completely there due to the alloys it is made with, while the basic characteristics of a titanium is found naturally inside it.
It has been found that the one substance is better than the other one when they are being used in a particular activity or project. For instance, when the weight is more important requirement than the strength, titanium is more often preferred by some manufacturers because of its unique properties that provide strength and durability with low density.And vice versa, stainless steel is mostly preferred by the industries that place more importance on weight than on the strength. While the titanium is not that dense as the steel, it is similarly strong, making it highly suitable for specific industries, such as aerospace, an industry that requires low density in addition to strength.
Titanium is more expensive than stainless steel, making it less important for certain industries such as construction which require larger quantities. Therefore, when money is an important part of the equation, stainless steel is sometimes chosen over titanium if both substances are deemed suitable.
When mixed with other metals such as aluminum or vanadium, titanium becomes dramatically stronger than many steels. In terms of sheer strength, the best titanium alloys beat low to medium grade stainless steels. However, the highest grades of stainless steel are stronger than titanium alloys. If you’re looking for strength, we recommend sticking with a generic titanium alloy.
Given its strength, titanium is remarkably light. When compared to steel in a strength-to-weight ratio, titanium is far superior, as it is as strong as steel but 45% lighter. In fact, titanium has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of all known metals.