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Titanium alloys are metallic materials which contain a mixture of titanium and other chemical elements. Such alloys have very high tensile strength and toughness (even at extreme temperatures), light weight, extraordinary corrosion resistance, and ability to withstand extreme temperatures. However, the high cost of both raw materials and processing limit their use to military applications, aircraft, spacecraft, medical devices, and some premium sports equipment and consumer electronics.
Although "commercially pure" titanium has acceptable mechanical properties and has been used for orthopedic and dental implants, for most applications titanium is alloyed with small amounts of aluminum and vanadium, typically 3% and 2.5% respectively, by weight. This mixture has a solid solubility which varies dramatically with temperature, allowing it to undergo precipitation strengthening. This heat treatment process is carried out after the alloy has been worked into its final shape but before it is put to use, allowing much easier fabrication of a high-strength product.
Some alloying elements raise the alpha-to-beta transition temperature (i.e. alpha stabilizers) while others lower the transition temperature (i.e. beta stabilizers). Aluminum, gallium, germanium, carbon, oxygen and nitrogen are alpha stabilizers. Molybdenum, vanadium, tantalum, niobium, manganese, iron, chromium, cobalt, nickel, copper and silicon are beta stabilizers. Titanium alloys are usually classified as alpha alloys, near alpha alloys, alpha + beta alloy or beta alloys depending on the type and amount of alloying elements.
Generally, alpha-phase Titanium is more ductile and beta-phase Titanium is stronger but more brittle. Alpha-beta-phase Titanium has a mechanical property which is in between both.
Titanium dioxide dissolves in the metal at high temperatures, and its formation is very energetic. These two factors mean that all titanium except the most carefully purified has a significant amount of dissolved oxygen, and so may be considered a Ti-O alloy. Oxide precipitates offer some strength (as discussed above), but are not very responsive to heat treatment and can substantially decrease the alloy's toughness.
Aside from titanium-based alloys, the term may refer to "binary" alloys which consist of a nearly even mix, atom-by-atom, of titanium and another element. Nitinol, a shape memory alloy, is a mixture of titanium and nickel, while niobium-titanium alloys are used as wires for superconducting magnets.
Many alloys also contain titanium as a minor additive, but since alloys are usually categorized according to which element forms the majority of the material, these are not usually considered to be "titanium alloys" as such. See the sub-article on titanium applications.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Titanium_alloy". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|