The Ultimate Guide to Titanium for Mechanical Designers & Product Developers

Imagine working with a material that epitomizes strength, resilience, and versatility—titanium. As seasoned experts in machining titanium parts, we at Modo Rapid have witnessed firsthand how this remarkable metal can revolutionize your projects. This guide is crafted to share our insights and help Mechanical Designers and Product Developers unlock the full potential of titanium.

From its intriguing discovery to its pivotal role in aerospace and medical industries, titanium’s journey is nothing short of extraordinary. Its superior strength-to-weight ratio and exceptional corrosion resistance make it an indispensable material for transforming ordinary projects into groundbreaking innovations. Whether you’re developing next-generation aircraft or cutting-edge medical implants, titanium ensures unmatched durability and performance.

Dive into this guide to explore titanium’s capabilities and benefits. With our extensive experience, we’ll provide you with invaluable material information and design tips to help your projects succeed.

CR 13.8Ti TC4 titanium alloy milling services

What is Titanium Alloy?

Titanium alloy is a combination of titanium with other metallic elements such as iron, aluminum, vanadium, and molybdenum. Titanium itself, with the symbol Ti and atomic number 22, is found in nature only as an oxide. It can be reduced to produce a lustrous transition metal with a silver color, low density, and high strength. Known for its resistance to corrosion in seawater, aqua regia, and chlorine, titanium is widely utilized across various industries.

The most common compound of titanium, titanium dioxide, is a popular photocatalyst used in the manufacture of white pigments. Other significant compounds include titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4), used in smoke screens and as a catalyst, and titanium trichloride (TiCl3), used in the production of polypropylene.

Titanium alloys are renowned for their strength, light weight, and versatility. These alloys are employed in a variety of applications, including aerospace (jet engines, missiles, and spacecraft), military, industrial processes (chemicals and petrochemicals, desalination plants, pulp and paper), automotive, agriculture, sports equipment, jewelry, and consumer electronics. Additionally, titanium is one of the most biocompatible metals, making it ideal for medical applications such as prostheses, orthopedic implants, dental implants, and surgical instruments.

The primary attributes that make titanium alloys valuable are their corrosion resistance and high strength-to-density ratio, the highest of any metallic element. In its unalloyed condition, titanium is as strong as some steels but significantly less dense. Titanium has two allotropic forms and five naturally occurring isotopes, with 48Ti being the most abundant (73.8%). These characteristics make titanium alloys an ideal choice for mechanical designers and product developers seeking high-performance materials.

Titanium Components

Historical Background and Discovery

Titanium was discovered in 1791 by clergyman and geologist William Gregor in Cornwall, Great Britain. Gregor identified a new element in ilmenite after noticing that black sand by a stream was attracted to a magnet. He found iron oxide and a white metallic oxide, which he named manaccanite. Around the same time, Franz-Joseph Müller von Reichenstein produced a similar substance. In 1795, Prussian chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth independently rediscovered the element in rutile and named it titanium after the Titans of Greek mythology.

Pure metallic titanium was first prepared in 1910 by Matthew A. Hunter. William Justin Kroll later refined the process in the 1930s, making titanium more commercially viable. The Kroll process remains the primary method for titanium production today. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Soviet Union pioneered its use in military applications, and the U.S. stockpiled titanium during the Cold War. By 2021, the leading producers of titanium sponge were China, Japan, Russia, and Kazakhstan.

Key Characteristics of Titanium

Titanium is known for its high melting point, low density, and excellent corrosion resistance. It is non-magnetic and has a relatively low thermal conductivity. These characteristics make it suitable for high-performance applications in extreme environments.

Aerospace-grade CR 13.8Ti TC4 titanium parts

Composition and Grades of Titanium

Property Pure Titanium Titanium Alloys
Strength Moderate tensile strength Significantly improved tensile strength with additions like aluminum and vanadium
Hardness Relatively soft Enhanced hardness, making it suitable for high-stress applications
Thermal Stability Lower thermal stability Superior thermal stability, retains properties at elevated temperatures
Corrosion Resistance Highly resistant to corrosion Even greater resistance in specific environments (e.g., marine, chemical processing)
Biocompatibility Biocompatible, suitable for medical applications Maintains biocompatibility, used in advanced medical devices and implants
Weight Low density, lightweight High strength-to-weight ratio, ideal for aerospace and automotive applications
Versatility Limited to specific applications due to softer nature Highly versatile, tailored to meet specific requirements across various industries
Melting Point High melting point Enhanced performance at high temperatures, suitable for jet engines and industrial use

Common Titanium Grades and Their Uses

1. Grade 11

Grade 11, also known as CP Ti-0.15Pd, is commercially pure titanium, similar to Grade 1 and Grade 2. Grade 11 provides enhanced crevice corrosion resistance due to added palladium. It also has high ductility, impact toughness, and weldability. Grade 11 is commonly used in chemical processing and storage, ducts, pumps, and heat exchangers.

2. Grade 12 or Ti 0.3-Mo 0.8-Ni

Grade 12 titanium, also known as Ti 0.3 Mo 0.8 Ni, is a durable, corrosion-resistant, and thermally stable titanium alloy that is valued for its weldability and formability. Grade 12 titanium alloy contains up to 99% titanium, 0.6-0.9% nickel, 0.2-0.4% molybdenum, up to 0.3% iron, up to 0.25% oxygen, and other elements. Because of its durability and resistance to corrosion, Grade 12 is commonly used in marine components such as ships or offshore drilling platforms, chemical manufacturing, and in heat exchangers.

3. Grade 4

Grade 4 titanium is the strongest commercially pure titanium. Grade 4 titanium’s strength rivals that of stainless and low-carbon steel, which makes the material a lighter-weight alternative. Because of its strength and corrosion resistance, Grade 4 is commonly used in aerospace, chemical processing, and marine components such as airframe structures and heat exchangers.

4. Grade 5 or Ti 6Al-4V

Grade 5 is the most commonly used titanium alloy. It accounts for around half of all the titanium used in the world. It has exceptionally high strength, heat resistance, ability to be heat treated, formability, and corrosion resistance. Grade 5 is also known as Ti 6Al-4V due to the percentage of aluminum and vanadium in the alloy. Grade 5 titanium contains 88-90% titanium, 5.5-6.75% aluminum, 3.5-4.5% vanadium, and trace amounts of other elements including iron, oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. Because of its properties, Grade 5 titanium is highly sought after in the aerospace industry to fabricate engines and structural components. Additionally, Ti 6Al-4V is often used in automotive parts like springs and exhausts and medical applications like joint implants..

5. Grade 7

Grade 7 is a titanium alloy that is nearly identical to Grade 2 titanium. The only difference between Grade 7 and Grade 2 is the addition of palladium in Grade 7 alloys. The composition of Grade 7 titanium is 99% titanium, 0.12-0.25% palladium, 0.3% iron, 0.25% oxygen, and other elements. Grade 7 has the highest corrosion resistance of all titanium alloys and exhibits excellent weldability and forming properties. Because of its excellent corrosion-resistant properties, Grade 7 titanium is often used in chemical manufacturing and desalination applications.

6. Grade 1

Grade 1 is the softest and most ductile pure titanium grade. Therefore, Grade 1 titanium possesses the best formability out of the different types of titanium. Grade 1 titanium is composed of 99% titanium, 0.2% iron, 0.18% oxygen, and trace amounts of other elements such as nitrogen, carbon, and hydrogen. It is often used in plating, piping, tubing, and other applications where formability and weldability are critical, such as in the aerospace, automotive, and power generation industries.

7. Grade 3

Grade 3 is the least commonly used pure titanium grade. Grade 3 is stronger than Grade 1 and Grade 2 titanium, but also has slightly less ductility and formability. Grade 3 is commonly used in cryogenic vessels, condenser tubing, heat exchangers, and other chemical processing equipment.

8. Grade 6 or Ti 5Al-2.5Sn

Grade 6 titanium is a titanium alloy containing approximately 5% aluminum, 2.5% tin, and 0.5% iron. The addition of aluminum and tin improves titanium’s creep resistance and temperature stability. Grade 6 is preferred for higher service temperatures around 900 °F where it is often used for casings and rings in turbine engines, structural members and frames in aircraft, and chemical processing parts.

9. Grade 2

Grade 2 is another commercially pure titanium and is the most commonly used commercially pure grade. Like other commercially pure titanium grades, it contains 99% titanium but differs from other pure grades in that it contains 0.3% iron, 0.25% oxygen, and trace amounts of other elements. The larger oxygen percentage allows Grade 2 titanium to be stronger than Grade 1. Additionally, its ductility and weldability make Grade 2 a highly versatile alloy. Grade 2 titanium is often more affordable than other grades of titanium because it is produced in large volumes for widespread uses. Grade 2 titanium is often used in power generation and petroleum industries as a lining material due to its corrosion resistance.

10. Grade 23 or Ti 6AL-4V ELI

Grade 23 titanium, also known as Ti 6Al-4V ELI due to its chemical composition, has high tensile and yield strength, toughness, ductility, and weldability. It has a composition of 88-90% titanium, 5.5-6.5% aluminum, 3.5-4.5% vanadium, 0.25% iron, 0.13% oxygen, and other elements. Grade 23 is considered a more pure version of Grade 5 titanium and is often the best choice for dental and medical applications. Therefore, Grade 23 titanium is often used in bone and joint replacements, surgical staples, ligature clips, tooth implants, and more.

High-performance titanium racing components

Physical Properties

  • High Strength-to-Weight Ratio: Titanium is a strong metal with low density.
  • Ductility: Quite ductile, especially in an oxygen-free environment.
  • Appearance: Lustrous and metallic-white in color.
  • Melting Point: Relatively high at 1,668 °C (3,034 °F).
  • Magnetism: Paramagnetic.
  • Conductivity: Fairly low electrical and thermal conductivity compared to other metals.
  • Superconductivity: Becomes superconducting when cooled below its critical temperature of 0.49 K.
  • Tensile Strength:
    • Commercially pure grades (~99.2% pure) have an ultimate tensile strength of about 434 MPa (63,000 psi).
    • Some titanium alloys (e.g., Beta C) achieve tensile strengths over 1,400 MPa (200,000 psi).
  • Density: 60% denser than aluminum but more than twice as strong as the commonly used 6061-T6 aluminum alloy.
  • Heat Resistance: Loses strength when heated above 430 °C (806 °F).
  • Hardness: Not as hard as some grades of heat-treated steel.
  • Non-magnetic: Titanium is non-magnetic.
  • Conductivity: Poor conductor of heat and electricity.
  • Machining: Requires precautions due to galling; sharp tools and proper cooling methods are necessary.
  • Fatigue Limit: Titanium structures have a fatigue limit ensuring longevity in some applications.

Allotropic Forms

  • Dimorphic Allotrope: Exists in two forms:
    • α form: Hexagonal structure, which transforms to β form at 882 °C (1,620 °F).
    • β form: Body-centered cubic (lattice) structure.
  • Specific Heat:
    • The specific heat of the α form increases dramatically as it heats to the transition temperature.
    • The specific heat falls and remains fairly constant for the β form regardless of temperature.

Chemical Properties of Titanium

  • Oxidation and Passivation:
    • Titanium and its alloys oxidize immediately upon exposure to air.
    • Forms a thin, non-porous passivation layer protecting the bulk metal from further oxidation or corrosion.
    • Initial protective layer thickness: 1–2 nm.
    • Layer grows to 25 nm thickness in four years.
  • Corrosion Resistance:
    • Excellent resistance to corrosion against oxidizing acids.
    • Dissolves in dilute hydrofluoric acid, hot hydrochloric acid, and hot sulfuric acid.
    • Resistant to dilute sulfuric and hydrochloric acids at room temperature, chloride solutions, and most organic acids.
    • Corroded by concentrated acids.
  • Reactivity:
    • Very reactive metal.
    • Burns in normal air at temperatures below its melting point.
    • Melting possible only in an inert atmosphere or vacuum.
    • Combines with chlorine at 550 °C (1,022 °F).
    • Reacts with other halogens and absorbs hydrogen.
  • Reactions with Gases:
    • Reacts with oxygen at 1,200 °C (2,190 °F) in air.
    • Reacts with oxygen at 610 °C (1,130 °F) in pure oxygen to form titanium dioxide.
    • Burns in pure nitrogen gas at 800 °C (1,470 °F) to form titanium nitride, causing embrittlement.
  • Titanium Sublimation Pumps:
    • Titanium evaporated from filaments used in sublimation pumps.
    • Acts as a scavenger for gases (e.g., oxygen, nitrogen) by chemically binding to them.
    • Produces extremely low pressures in ultra-high vacuum systems.

Biological Properties

Titanium is biocompatible, meaning it is non-toxic and not rejected by the human body. This property makes it ideal for medical implants, prosthetics, and dental devices. Titanium’s ability to bond with bone (osseointegration) further enhances its suitability for biomedical applications.

Advantages of Using Titanium

Strength-to-Weight Ratio: The Light Heavyweight

Titanium’s strength-to-weight ratio is among the highest of any metal, making it essential for applications where both strength and lightness are critical. For instance, in aerospace engineering, titanium is used extensively in aircraft frames and engine components. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner uses a significant amount of titanium to reduce weight while maintaining structural integrity, resulting in improved fuel efficiency and greater payload capacity. In the sports industry, titanium’s use in high-performance bicycles and golf clubs allows athletes to achieve better performance with lighter, more durable equipment.

Corrosion Resistance: The Rust-Proof Wonder

Titanium’s natural corrosion resistance ensures that it remains unaffected by elements that typically degrade other metals. This property is invaluable in marine environments where seawater corrosion is a constant threat. For example, titanium is used in the construction of propeller shafts, desalination plants, and underwater equipment. Its corrosion resistance also benefits chemical processing plants, where titanium vessels and pipes can withstand exposure to harsh chemicals without deteriorating, ensuring longevity and reliability in highly corrosive environments.

Biocompatibility: Perfect for Medical Applications

Titanium’s biocompatibility makes it an ideal material for medical applications. Its non-reactive nature and compatibility with human tissues ensure long-term success for implants and surgical instruments. For example, titanium hip replacements and dental implants have become standard due to their ability to integrate with bone and resist rejection by the body. This leads to fewer complications and longer-lasting medical solutions, enhancing patient outcomes and quality of life.

Heat Resistance: High-Temperature Performer

Titanium maintains its strength and integrity at high temperatures, making it a preferred material for high-temperature applications. In jet engines, titanium components can withstand the extreme heat generated during operation without losing their structural properties. This capability extends to gas turbines and other industrial machinery where sustained high temperatures are common. Titanium’s ability to perform under such conditions ensures safety, reliability, and efficiency in critical applications.

Longevity and Durability: Built to Last

Titanium’s resistance to wear, fatigue, and corrosion ensures long-term durability, making it a cost-effective choice despite its higher initial cost. Its longevity significantly reduces maintenance and replacement costs over time. For example, in the construction of modern landmarks like the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, titanium panels provide an enduring, low-maintenance exterior that withstands the test of time and environmental exposure. Similarly, in the automotive industry, titanium exhaust systems and engine components offer superior durability, enhancing vehicle performance and lifespan.

By leveraging titanium’s unique properties, mechanical designers and product developers can create innovative, high-performance products that stand out in their respective fields. Whether in aerospace, medical, marine, or industrial applications, titanium offers unparalleled advantages that justify its selection as a material of choice.

Challenges and Considerations

Cost Implications: Worth the Investment?

Titanium is more expensive than many other metals due to its complex extraction and processing methods. However, its long-term benefits often outweigh the initial costs. Evaluating the total lifecycle cost and performance benefits is crucial when considering titanium.

Machining and Fabrication Challenges

Machining titanium requires specialized tools and techniques due to its hardness and tendency to gall. Proper cooling and lubrication are essential to prevent tool wear and material damage. Fabrication challenges include welding, which requires an inert atmosphere to prevent contamination.

Availability and Supply Chain Considerations

While titanium is relatively abundant, the supply chain can be complex. Ensuring a reliable source and understanding the market dynamics are essential for consistent availability. Partnering with reputable suppliers can mitigate supply chain risks.

Environmental Impact and Sustainability

Titanium mining and processing have environmental impacts, including energy consumption and waste generation. However, titanium’s longevity and recyclability can offset some of these impacts. Sustainable practices and advancements in processing technologies are reducing the environmental footprint of titanium production.

Applications of Titanium in Various Industries

Alloying and Industrial Uses

Titanium is widely used as an alloying element in steel (ferro-titanium) to reduce grain size and as a deoxidizer. In stainless steel, it helps reduce carbon content. It is often alloyed with aluminum, vanadium, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, and other metals to enhance its properties. Titanium mill products, such as sheets, plates, bars, wires, forgings, and castings, find applications in industrial, aerospace, recreational, and emerging markets. Powdered titanium is also used in pyrotechnics for bright-burning particles.

Pigments, Additives, and Coatings

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is the most commonly used compound of titanium, accounting for about 95% of all titanium ore refinement. It is used as a white pigment in paints, paper, toothpaste, and plastics due to its intense whiteness and opacity. TiO2 is chemically inert, resists fading in sunlight, and is very opaque, imparting a pure and brilliant white color to household plastics and coatings. It is also used in cement, gemstones, and as an optical opacifier in paper, and in sunscreens for UV protection.

Aerospace and Marine

Titanium alloys are essential in aerospace and marine applications due to their high strength-to-density ratio, corrosion resistance, and ability to withstand moderately high temperatures. They are used in aircraft, armor plating, naval ships, spacecraft, and missiles. Notably, titanium is used in critical structural parts, landing gear, firewalls, exhaust ducts, and hydraulic systems in aircraft. The Lockheed A-12 and SR-71 Blackbird were early adopters of titanium in aircraft frames. Titanium’s resistance to seawater corrosion makes it ideal for marine applications like propeller shafts, rigging, and heat exchangers in desalination plants.

Industrial Applications

Titanium is used in welded pipes and process equipment (heat exchangers, tanks, valves) in chemical and petrochemical industries for corrosion resistance. Specific alloys are used in oil and gas applications and nickel hydrometallurgy for their high strength and corrosion resistance. The pulp and paper industry uses titanium in process equipment exposed to corrosive media. Titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4) is important in producing TiO2 and Ziegler–Natta catalysts and is used to iridize glass and create smoke screens.

Consumer and Architectural Uses

In the automotive industry, titanium is used for components requiring low weight and high strength, such as exhaust systems and engine valves. In sports equipment, it enhances performance in tennis rackets, golf clubs, and bicycle frames. Titanium is also used in spectacle frames, backpacking cookware, and horseshoes. Architectural uses include cladding on buildings like the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the Cerritos Millennium Library. Titanium is increasingly used in firearms and the bodies of laptops and smartphones due to its strength and light weight.

Jewelry and Artistic Uses

Titanium’s durability and inertness make it popular in jewelry, especially for those with allergies. It can be anodized to create a variety of bright colors. Titanium is also used in coins, medals, and sculptures. Its use in high-end watches is appreciated for its light weight and resistance to denting and corrosion.

Medical Applications

Titanium is biocompatible, making it ideal for surgical implements and implants, such as hip replacements and dental implants. Its ability to osseointegrate allows for long-term implants that bond well with bone. Titanium’s non-ferromagnetic properties make it safe for MRI scans. Advances in additive manufacturing have increased its use in orthopedic implants, allowing for patient-specific designs and improved osseointegration.

Nanoparticles and Modern Uses

Titanium dioxide nanoparticles are used in electronics, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics for their beneficial properties. These nanoparticles enhance the performance and application of various products, contributing to innovations in technology and healthcare.

CNC Machining Titanium

Designing with Titanium

Best Practices for Designing Titanium Parts

Designing with titanium necessitates a keen understanding of its unique properties to achieve optimal performance and longevity. Here are some best practices:

  • Minimize Sharp Corners: Sharp corners can act as stress concentrators and lead to premature failure. For example, in aerospace components like turbine blades, using fillets and rounded edges can distribute stress more evenly, reducing the risk of cracks.
  • Optimize Wall Thickness: Uniform wall thickness helps in maintaining structural integrity and ease of manufacturing. For instance, in medical implants such as hip joints, consistent wall thickness ensures uniform load distribution and enhances the implant’s durability.
  • Allow for Thermal Expansion: Titanium expands and contracts with temperature changes. Designing parts with allowances for thermal expansion prevents warping and maintains structural integrity. This is particularly important in applications like exhaust systems in automotive engineering, where temperature fluctuations are frequent.

Design Tips for Maximizing Performance

To leverage titanium’s strengths, consider the following design tips:

  • Use Ribbing for Structural Support: Adding ribs can significantly enhance the structural integrity of titanium parts without adding much weight. For instance, in bicycle frames, ribbed designs provide additional support, making the frames both strong and lightweight.
  • Incorporate Stress-Relief Features: Design features such as grooves or cutouts can help relieve stress concentrations. This is especially useful in aerospace brackets, where stress relief features can prevent fatigue failure over long-term use.
  • Optimize Weight Distribution: Proper weight distribution is crucial for maintaining balance and performance. In sports equipment like tennis rackets, strategically distributing weight can improve handling and performance, leveraging titanium’s lightweight and high-strength properties.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Avoiding common pitfalls can save significant time and resources in titanium design projects:

  • Incorrect Material Selection: Choosing the wrong titanium grade can lead to suboptimal performance. For instance, using commercially pure titanium instead of a stronger alloy like Ti-6Al-4V in high-stress applications can result in inadequate strength and potential failure.
  • Inadequate Cooling During Machining: Titanium has low thermal conductivity, leading to heat build-up during machining. This can cause tool wear and poor surface finish. Using proper cooling techniques, such as flood coolant or cryogenic cooling, is essential to maintain precision and surface quality.
  • Poor Surface Finishing: Neglecting surface finishing can lead to corrosion and reduced fatigue life. For example, in marine applications, ensuring a smooth and polished surface finish on titanium propeller shafts can significantly enhance corrosion resistance and longevity.

By understanding and applying these best practices, design tips, and avoiding common mistakes, mechanical designers and product developers can fully exploit titanium’s remarkable properties to create high-performance, durable, and innovative products.

medical device design

Fabrication Techniques for Titanium

CNC Machining: Precision and Efficiency

CNC machining is widely used for fabricating titanium parts due to its ability to achieve high precision and efficiency. This method is ideal for creating complex geometries and maintaining tight tolerances. For example, in the aerospace industry, CNC machining is used to produce turbine blades and other critical components where precision is paramount. However, due to titanium’s low thermal conductivity, proper tooling, cooling, and cutting speeds are essential to prevent tool wear and achieve the desired surface finish.

Best Material for CNC Machining:

  • Grade 5 Titanium (Ti-6Al-4V): This alloy is the most commonly used in CNC machining due to its excellent strength-to-weight ratio, machinability, and resistance to high temperatures.

Additive Manufacturing: The Future of Titanium Fabrication

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is transforming the fabrication of titanium parts. This technology allows for the creation of intricate and customized components with minimal material waste. For instance, in the medical field, 3D printing is used to produce custom implants that perfectly match a patient’s anatomy. Additionally, aerospace companies are leveraging additive manufacturing to create lightweight structures that were previously impossible to fabricate using traditional methods.

Best Material for Additive Manufacturing:

  • Grade 23 Titanium (Ti-6Al-4V ELI): This alloy is preferred for additive manufacturing due to its high tensile strength, biocompatibility, and excellent mechanical properties.

Welding and Joining Methods

Welding titanium requires specialized techniques to prevent contamination and ensure strong welds. Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding and laser welding are commonly used methods. For example, TIG welding is often employed in the fabrication of titanium piping systems in chemical processing plants, where clean and strong welds are critical. Laser welding, on the other hand, is used for precision joining of small titanium components in the electronics industry.

Best Material for Welding:

  • Grade 2 Titanium: Known for its excellent weldability, this commercially pure titanium grade is often used in applications requiring robust and clean welds.

Surface Treatments and Finishing Techniques

Surface treatments and finishing techniques are crucial for enhancing the performance and appearance of titanium parts. Anodizing, polishing, and coating are commonly used methods. For example, anodizing is used to create a protective oxide layer on titanium components used in marine environments, providing additional corrosion resistance. Polishing improves the aesthetic appeal of titanium jewelry, while coating techniques are used in aerospace to protect parts from harsh environmental conditions.

Best Material for Surface Treatments:

  • Grade 5 Titanium (Ti-6Al-4V): This alloy responds well to various surface treatments, making it versatile for applications requiring enhanced durability and aesthetic appeal.

CR 13.8Ti TC4 titanium alloy CNC parts

Testing and Quality Control

Essential Tests for Titanium Parts

Testing titanium parts is crucial to ensure they meet the necessary quality and performance standards. Several common tests are used to verify the properties of titanium components:

  • Tensile Testing: This test measures the material’s resistance to tension. For example, in the aerospace industry, turbine blades undergo tensile testing to ensure they can withstand the high stresses encountered during flight without breaking.
  • Fatigue Testing: This test evaluates the material’s durability under cyclic loading. For instance, titanium bicycle frames are subjected to fatigue testing to ensure they can endure repeated use over time without failure.
  • Corrosion Testing: This test assesses the material’s resistance to corrosion in various environments. Titanium parts used in marine applications, such as propeller shafts, are tested for their ability to resist seawater corrosion, ensuring long-term performance and safety.

Ensuring Compliance with Industry Standards

Compliance with industry standards is a fundamental aspect of titanium fabrication. Standards such as ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials), ISO (International Organization for Standardization), and AMS (Aerospace Material Specifications) define the requirements for titanium materials and products.

  • ASTM Standards: These standards cover various aspects of titanium production, including chemical composition, mechanical properties, and testing methods. For example, ASTM B348 specifies the requirements for titanium bars and billets, ensuring consistent quality across manufacturers.
  • ISO Standards: These international standards ensure that titanium products meet global quality and safety benchmarks. ISO 5832-2, for example, specifies the requirements for titanium alloys used in surgical implants, ensuring biocompatibility and mechanical performance.
  • AMS Standards: These standards are specific to the aerospace industry and ensure that titanium components meet the stringent requirements for aviation applications. AMS 4928, for instance, outlines the specifications for titanium alloy bars used in aerospace structures, ensuring high strength and reliability.

Common Quality Issues and How to Address Them

Quality issues in titanium fabrication can impact the performance and safety of the final product. Identifying and addressing these issues is critical to maintaining high standards. Common quality issues include:

  • Porosity: This refers to small voids within the material that can weaken the part. For example, in medical implants, porosity can compromise the integrity of the device, leading to potential failure. Addressing this issue involves using proper casting techniques and thorough inspection methods, such as X-ray or ultrasonic testing.
  • Inclusions: These are foreign materials or impurities within the titanium that can affect its mechanical properties. Inclusions can be particularly problematic in aerospace components, where any flaw can have severe consequences. Implementing stringent material sourcing and refining processes, as well as regular inspection, can mitigate this issue.
  • Surface Defects: Surface defects such as scratches or pits can reduce the fatigue strength of titanium parts. For example, in automotive racing components, surface defects can lead to premature failure under high-stress conditions. Ensuring proper machining practices and using surface treatments like polishing or anodizing can help prevent these defects.

FAQs about Titanium

Is titanium stronger than steel?
Titanium is not stronger than the strongest steels, but it has a very high strength-to-weight ratio, making it stronger than many steels for its weight.

Is titanium a rare metal?
Titanium is not rare; it is the ninth most abundant element in the Earth’s crust.

What does titanium do in the body?
Titanium is biocompatible, meaning it is non-toxic and not rejected by the body, making it ideal for medical implants and prosthetics.

What is titanium’s weakness?
Titanium can be brittle at lower temperatures and can lose strength when exposed to high temperatures above 430°C (806°F).

Is titanium more expensive than gold?
No, gold is generally more expensive than titanium.

Why is titanium so expensive?
Titanium is expensive due to its complex extraction and manufacturing processes.

How much is an ounce of titanium worth?
As of now, an ounce of titanium is worth approximately $0.40 to $0.70.

Can titanium rust?
Titanium does not rust; it forms a protective oxide layer that prevents corrosion.

What can destroy titanium?
Titanium can be damaged by exposure to hydrofluoric acid, high concentrations of sulfuric acid, or high temperatures in the presence of certain chemicals.

Is titanium bulletproof?
Titanium is not completely bulletproof but is used in bullet-resistant armor due to its high strength-to-weight ratio.

What are 5 interesting facts about titanium?

  1. Titanium is as strong as steel but 45% lighter.
  2. It is highly resistant to corrosion, even in seawater.
  3. Titanium is used in jet engines, spacecraft, and medical implants.
  4. It is the only element that burns in pure nitrogen.
  5. Titanium alloys are used in many high-performance sports equipment.

Is titanium tougher than gold?

Yes, titanium is tougher than gold. It has a higher strength-to-weight ratio and is much more resistant to scratches and deformation.


Titanium stands out as a versatile and high-performance material that offers unmatched strength-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance, and biocompatibility. Its applications span across aerospace, automotive, medical, and various other industries, making it a vital component in modern engineering and product development.

Since 2005, our company has been at the forefront of titanium alloy part fabrication for the aerospace, racing, and medical sectors. Our expertise and commitment to quality ensure that we deliver top-notch, customized titanium components tailored to meet the unique demands of your projects.

Got a design in mind? Share your drawings with us, and let’s get started on creating your custom titanium parts. Reach out today for a quote and see how we can bring your innovative ideas to life with the exceptional properties of titanium.

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