titanium grade 2

Material Focus – Titanium Grade 2

titanium grade 2

Titanium Grade 2 sheet is one of the most useful and versatile metals out there. There are numerous different grades that all reflect their alloy status. Grade 2 is standard, unalloyed titanium. It is famously strong, corrosion resistant, and light. Because of these attributes, it is commonly found in aircraft and other high-end applications. What does the future hold for titanium, and how can you use it?

In the name of Greek gods

Titanium was discovered by the clergyman and amateur geologist William Gregor in 1791. It wasn’t actually named until 4 years later by Martin Heinrich Klaproth, a Prussian chemist. Klaproth chose to name the new metal after the Titans of Greek mythology. For about 140 years though, nobody really knew what to do with it. It was extremely difficult to mine titanium ore, and even more difficult to smelt it.

titanium grade 2

Martin Heinrich Klaproth (1743 – 1817)

In fact, it wasn’t until 1932 that people began to use titanium for something beyond laboratory experiments. Again, the cost and difficulty of manufacture kept use down for 20 more years. Finally, in the early 1950s, the Soviet Union began pioneering the usage of titanium. Due to its strength, weight, and corrosion resistance, they began using it for combat aircraft and submarines. The US picked up on the value of titanium shortly after, and began using it as well. Mostly it was used for aircraft. The F-100 Super Sabre and the SR-71 Blackbird were both developed in the 1950s-1960s and heavily used titanium.

The US and the USSR both stockpiled titanium for military applications throughout the Cold War. Consequently, it did slowly seep into the civilian market, mostly for aerospace.

titanium grade 2

The F-100 Super Sabre

Titanium today

Increased efficiency in mining/production and the end of the Cold War has opened titanium up to the civilian market. Cost also has gone down, though titanium remains one of the more expensive of the non precious/semiprecious metals. Interestingly enough though, most titanium mined isn’t used in its metal form. Rather, it is refined into titanium oxide, and intensely white and highly reflective permanent pigment used in everything from paint, pyrotechnics, and plastic, to paper, sunscreen, and toothpaste.

Titanium is also widely spread across the Earth’s crust, but most of the world’s titanium production falls under six main countries. China is by far the world’s largest producer, with annual output exceeding the second and third place combined. They also have the world’s largest titanium reserves. Russia is a distant second place in titanium production. Japan is a close third. Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and India follow up the remainder of the top slots. It’s worth mentioning that Ukraine produces 10%, and India produces a mere half of a percent, of what China does annually.

titanium grade 2

Custom motorcycle exhaust made from titanium

What can titanium grade 2 do for you?

A lot!

Titanium Grade 2 is known as the “workhorse” of commercially pure titanium for a reason. It is strong, though not as strong as some of the more specialized grades. However, it has good weldability, ductility, formability, and excellent corrosion resistance. Additionally, titanium Grade 2 has the ability to be continually exposed to temperatures up 800 F (427 C) with occasional increases to 1000 F (538 C) without losing its strength and other properties.

You should consider titanium Grade 2 sheet for architectural, automotive, outdoor, marine, or aerospace projects. Titanium sheet is popular for skin on crucial pieces of architecture, especially near water. For the same reasons, using titanium sheet to cover portions of boats or marine hardware is common. Similarly, seaplanes  routinely use this material for its mixture of weight, strength, corrosion resistance, and ease of working. Lastly, if you are looking for something that can be exposed to higher heats for long periods of time, look no further!