Why Titanium is So Expensive

Titanium is silver transition metal of an atomic number of 22. AS compared to other material it is lustrous in nature. The chemical element has a low density as well as high corrosion resistance to aqua regia, sea water and chlorine. Titanium has a vast application in the field of military, jewelry, aerospace, jewelry, telecommunications and others. Titanium comes in the form of titanium wires, titanium straight wires, titanium coiled wires, titanium welding wires, titanium tubes, titanium seamless tubes, titanium welded tubes as required in different applications. The purity of the metal depends on its grades. Pure Titanium comes in the range of Grade 1 to Grade 4, while the other grades are used for alloys. Pure titanium has the quality of a great corrosion resistance, while the alloy is used for extremely high strength to weight ratio. Apart from that Titanium powder, Titanium sponge and several machining components are also made from titanium.

The conventional method of producing titanium products undergoes through four steps:

  1. Firstly the production of the metal called porous or titanium sponge.
  2. Secondly formation of titanium ingot blocks through melting of the porous sponge, a high quality metal can be obtained by successive re-melting of the metal.
  3. The next process is to build small primary fabrication titanium products like bar, billet, strip, plate and sheet.
  4. The last and the final fabrication is to convert the small mill products into finished shapes through proper machining.

Titanium has a very high melting point. The metal is hard enough for machining. That is the real reason why the production process of titanium is energy intensive as well as expensive. Additionally, the multiple stages of handling the material expansively add to the manufacture costs.

  • It has been observed that the production and conversion cost to ingots of the metal cost 30 per cent of the total costs.
  • The primary fabrication of conversion ingots to  mill products like  billet, plate, bar,  strip and sheet include  30 per cent of costs, while 20 per cent of the original material wasted in the process.
  • The secondary fabrication or machining of the mill products to get final finished shapes includes 40 per cent of the total costs, through a 90 per cent of material loss.

Of course the machining of the metal is costly as the solidity of the metal makes it a slow process and in the process of production it generates lots of waste. You will be surprised to know that the aerospace industry has to purchases 11 kg of titanium for the production of every 1 kg of finished titanium product.

For more information about titanium and other advanced materials, please visit http://www.samaterials.com/

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