Do you know the history of titanium and titanium tubing? Keep reading to learn the entire backstory of this essential metal!
The History of Titanium
Titanium’s history begins around 1790, when an ore of titanium was discovered in England and named after “Titan”, the Greek God of enormous strength. It took a while, 120 years after its initial discovery in fact, but in 1910 a process to extract the metal from the ore was finally developed.
This process was created by M.A. Hunter and made it possible for titanium to be used as an alloying agent for steel production. It involved mixing TiO2 with coke and chlorine and heating it to produce TiCl4. Sodium would then be used to reduce the TiCl4.
While the Hunter process proved to be a great way to extract Titanium from the ore, it was not feasible for large scale manufacturing efforts. Because of this, Dr. Wilhelm Kroll created a new process that was more conducive for larger projects. This process used magnesium, instead of Hunter’s sodium, as the reducing agent. This process ended up getting named after its founder and is still referred to as the Kroll process.
The Kroll process was a major improvement from Hunter’s, but it still wasn’t perfect. This extraction process left a chloride residue in addition to the fact that it lacked the capability to recover the unreacted magnesium metal. To tackle these contamination issues, the Kroll process is now combined with vacuum distillation. This updated method now acts as the most common way to extract titanium from the ore.
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