The content of titanium in the earth’s crust ranks ninth among metals, is 66 times higher than copper. The futures market now has the purest titanium sponge (one of the industrial forms of titanium) at about $10,500 a tonne, or $10.5 a kilogram, which is not much more than $8 per kilogram of copper. So why are titanium alloy products expensive?
Let’s start with the name titanium. Titanium, named for Titan, is an ancient god who ruled the world in Greek mythology. The family is the children of Uranus, the god of heaven, and Gaia, the goddess of earth, all of which are powerful symbols.
In 1910, less than 1 gram of titanium was painstakingly extracted by Americans, so titanium was included in the rare metal series, which became a misunderstanding.
At present, the commonly used extraction method is titanium tetrachloride reduction method. At high temperature, titanium tetrachloride is generated by the reaction of chlorine and titanium in ore, and then titanium tetrachloride is reduced by magnesium to form magnesium chloride and titanium chloride.
Then let’s have a look of β titanium. Actually, β titanium is more expensive than pure titanium. Pure titanium is almost inelastic, and titanium makes up for it, not only is it elastic, but it also has the characteristics of super light corrosion resistance. But why are many frames made from β titanium cheaper than that of pure titanium? In fact, β titanium is a kind of titanium alloy, and it does not have a specific composition. At room temperature, titanium alloys of β titanium are composed of titanium, molybdenum, vanadium or titanium, vanadium, and aluminum.
Almost all titanium alloys are more expensive than pure titanium. However, due to the public’s lack of understanding of titanium and the difficulty in distinguishing materials, some profiteers have taken advantage. They will take some pure titanium waste, titanium alloy waste, anyway, some things that are not clear, melted together, which also called β titanium. This is one of the reasons that although standard titanium is more expensive than pure titanium, some β titanium is cheaper than pure titanium. Another reason is processing.
Memory titanium is also a type of titanium alloy, but this material with superelasticity and shape memory can cost 10 times or even dozens of times as much as pure titanium. Compared to βtitanium, the memory titanium is too difficult to process. It is so elastic that it is difficult to shape, while memory titanium heat treatment is another difficult and even secret process. As for welding, it is also much more difficult than β titanium and pure titanium.
Titanium products have a very thin structure and require a lot of fine processing, which is definitely a challenge for this particularly difficult material. Besides, titanium alloy products also involve titanium alloy welding technology, which is more difficult. The application of titanium alloy is not particularly popular at present. In recent years, the media have heated titanium alloy into aerospace, high-end decorative materials and medical materials for human implants, which makes a screw made from titanium cost thousands of dollars, so the price of titanium alloy products naturally will be high.
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