Titanium is an element you will see quite a bit of in the aerospace industry and jewelry as well.
Titanium is a strong and corrosion-resistant material which will hold up for a very long time.
Of course, like all good things, titanium is quite expensive.
There are several reasons titanium is expensive, from the origin of the metal to the way it is processed.
Let’s take a look at five reasons titanium is so expensive.
Why Is Titanium So Expensive?
Not all titanium is created equal.
The grade of titanium is going to vary, and when the grade changes, so will the pricing.
Not all titanium is pure titanium.
Some titanium is going to be an alloy that is bonded with other materials.
Those materials usually are aluminum.
There are both positives and negatives to pure titanium.
When you look at Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, and Grade 4 titanium, you will notice that it is pure titanium.
Anything higher than Grade 4 is going to be an alloy.
Just because something is not pure titanium does not necessarily mean that it is not a good product.
It is simply going to be used for other applications.
These alloys are more weldable, and they can be fabricated much more easily as well.
Sometimes, since they are easier to work with, you will end up paying more for the alloy.
If a worker has to spend less time forming a product to the exact specification, then the higher price tag will be worth it to those who are producing these types of products.
The positive aspect of pure titanium is going to be its ability to resist corrosion.
Something that is a Grade 1 is going to resist corrosion better than a Grade 5.
2. Wide Range of Uses
Titanium is expensive because it can be used for quite a few things.
When a product is more popular and has lots of uses, the pricing will tend to increase accordingly.
Since there are some very desirable things about titanium, it is important to know that this can affect the cost.
Many people who are in the world of manufacturing products know that titanium is going to be their only choice for the product they are trying to manufacture.
Titanium is highly resistant to corrosion.
It can be exposed to seawater and chlorine and not be adversely affected.
Of course, this makes titanium valuable for certain industries and therefore lowers the overall supply of titanium.
Titanium is very popular in the aerospace industry and in the military as well.
You can purchase titanium in a variety of different formats, and this it helps to make it easier to work with as well.
You can purchase titanium in wires, tubes, and sheets as well.
Titanium is also used in many types of jewelry.
Since titanium holds up so well over time, people are happy to spend extra money on it.
When purchasing titanium jewelry, it is good to see where it was produced and the actual characteristics of the metal.
It is also a good idea to make sure that the grade of titanium is appropriate for a jewelry application.
Sometimes titanium will be expensive because of the fact that it is certified.
When you purchase titanium products, how do you truly know they are titanium?
If you get something that is truly titanium, then it must be certified at some point.
There are lots of different certifications when it comes to titanium.
The lowest-priced titanium that you will be able to find is non-certified.
This means that you are getting a material that tests to be titanium, but there is no larger organization that will confirm it is titanium.
This material also has no certifications that go along with it which will let you know what the original source was for the metal.
The testing of the titanium will tell the material grade, but it will still not link back to its original source.
For some people, this is all that is needed to produce a titanium product.
However, for other projects, a certified piece of titanium may be necessary.
Another type of titanium is something that is lab certified.
A lab-certified titanium will tell you that, although there are no documents from the original manufacturer, it has been tested in a lab.
In the lab or testing facility, they will be able to do tests which provide more detailed information about the chemical and physical makeup of the titanium.
The lab-certified product is not going to be as cheap as the non-certified titanium.
This titanium has a certain amount of information which comes with it, making it a bit more valuable for resale.
There are two types of certified titanium you can find.
These types of titanium are going to be your most expensive types because they come with the paperwork showing the origin of the titanium.
The certification will be from the original mill where the titanium was first produced.
This will give details on the grade, properties, and the heat number as well.
The two types of these titanium certifications are going to be Foreign Mill Certified or Domestic Mill Certified.
Domestic Mill is the more expensive of the two, and it takes a long time to obtain such a certification as well.
Companies or individuals that need to purchase Domestic Mill Certified titanium should know that they will pay a good amount for this material.
The domestic milled titanium is made in the United States.
Not only does it cost money to obtain these certifications, but the process of transferring this information along from one part of the supply chain to the next can get costly.
Although it can be beneficial to purchase this certified titanium, you will spend quite a bit of money on it in the long run.
4. Production Costs
One of the main reasons titanium is so expensive is that it has a complicated production process to go through.
The process of producing titanium takes four main steps.
Each of these steps takes time and will also take money, thereby increasing the final cost of the titanium.
The first step includes producing the titanium sponge.
The titanium sponge is a porous form of the metal.
Once the titanium sponge is created, then it will be melted.
The metal needs to be melted to get it to the point of being a higher quality metal like titanium.
Once the metal is now melted, it can be made into different titanium products.
You will see this in a titanium bar or a titanium plate.
Once the products are made into pieces like this, they can be machined to be formed into the proper shape.
If the titanium is being used for a tool or a golf club, it will be machined in a number of different ways.
However, to get to the point of the machining, the production costs are going to be quite high.
This will end up being part of the final cost you pay to purchase a product made with titanium.
5. High Melting Point
We mentioned that titanium is expensive to produce, but one of the reasons behind this is that it has a very high melting point.
Having a high melting point also means that the titanium is quite hard.
When a medal is hard and has a high melting point, it means that it can be produced and manufactured into a variety of things.
The production of titanium uses a lot of energy, and it takes workers quite a bit of time to properly create the finished product.
The high melting point of titanium makes it a great metal for certain applications, but this also makes it more expensive.
When you look at product manufacturing, you will notice that the more times a product needs to be handled, the more expensive it will be.
For a simple manufacturing process, a person may only need to handle a product once or twice for a short period.
When it comes to titanium, there is quite a bit of handling that must be done.
These are all factors that will add to the final cost.
When a titanium product is going through its final stages of development, it is going to lose part of its material.
Yes, some of this material that was just paid for and was extremely costly to produce is now going to be removed and essentially trashed.
However, when that titanium was first produced, there were costs involved.
When you pay for a product made from titanium, chances are you are paying for some of the waste that was created as well.
Although this is hard for people to wrap their heads around, it is just a factor in the manufacturing process of metals.
This is something which has occurred for many years, and it is not likely change anytime soon.
We have found that, in industries that use a lot of titanium, like aerospace, titanium waste is one of their larger production expenses.
They must purchase about ten times the amount of titanium they need to complete a project.
This allows them to shape and manufacture pieces to fit their needs and dispose of the excess.
It is hard to pay for products that will get thrown away, but it is a reality of the metal and titanium business.
How Is titanium Found in Nature?
Now that you know why titanium is so expensive, it can also be interesting to know how it is found in nature.
Of course, we talked about the production and all that is involved, but this is a metal which occurs naturally in our world.
Titanium is found in rock, and it is one of the more abundant elements in nature.
You will see that titanium comes from igneous rocks.
There are many places around the world where mining is done to find titanium that occurs naturally in our world.
Since this is a natural resource, you will notice that the supply is usually lower than the demand.
As you can see, there are several good reasons behind titanium being so expensive.
If you purchase a product made with titanium, chances are it has gone through a lengthy process to get to this point.
The titanium products occur naturally in our world, and they must be handled with care and precision.
Those who work with titanium know what an important product this is and how useful it can be for a variety of applications.
The next time you purchase an expensive product made of titanium, think about the process it had to go through to get into your hands.
Chances are you will have an easier time understanding the high pricing.