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Long before the middle of the last century, the individual production of airplanes changed into the serial production used today. The forthcoming passenger planes needed to accommodate a suitable payload. The strong jet-engines had not yet been invented, also the power to weight ratio of internal combustion engines was not comparable with what we have today. So begun the search for light materials, resistant to corrosion and with an especially high degree of hardness. Their advantage, was twofold if they were used in propeller blades, and later in fast rotating turbine vanes. Experience with the use of Titanium in aviation was soon to be taken over by the space-flight programmes.

For some time now this relatively expensive material is also used in the motor industry, at the moment, however, extensively only in the racing area. However, the more demanding the material requirements become, the higher are the chances of Titanium being used. Currently, Titanium is used widely in the manufacture of connecting rods and valves used in high performance standard engines. Also the wheel suspension can contain, e.g., Titanium alloy springs.

How it works

Weighing only 4.51 g / cm , just short of the border to the heavy metals and still only half the weight of steel, Titanium is only just classified as a light-metal alloy. Because of its silver- white sheen it is attractive, not only for the motoring area, as a material of the future. The already relatively low heat conductivity can be reduced even further by alloying (mixing with other metals). This also improves the extendability, elasticity and thermal expansion behaviour. The hardness and heat resistance are also almost unequalled.

However, this quality makes machining difficult. It takes much longer to mill industrial (not pure) Titanium, e.g., the milling of turbocharger-compressor wheels, forging, however, is almost impossible. At the moment research is helping with the development of new alloys which are often changed only for as long as it takes to machine the material. High temperature consistency is also not the strong point of Titanium. Although Titanium is relatively widely used, the extraction is difficult and cost-intensive. This makes the application in mass production relatively unlikely in the near future. 06/08               Top of page               Index
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Translator: Don Leslie - Email:

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