Discovered by Gregor in 1791; named by Klaproth in 1795. Impure titanium was prepared by Nilson and Petterson in 1887; however, the pure metal was not made until 1910 when Hunter by heating TiCl4 with sodium in a steel bomb. Titanium is present in meteorites and in the sun. Rocks obtained during the Apollo 17 Lunar mission showed presence of 12.1% of TiO2. Analyses of rocks obtained during earlier Apollo missions show lower percentages. Titanium oxide bands are prominent in the spectra M-type stars. The element is the ninth most abundant element in the crust of the earth.
Titanium is as strong as steel, but 45% lighter. It is 60% heavier that aluminum, but twice as strong. Titanium has a potential use in desalination plants for converting sea water into fresh water. The metal has excellent resistance to sea water and is used for propeller shafts, rigging, and other parts of ships exposed to salt water.
Titanium paint is an excellent reflector of infrared, and is extensively used in solar observatories where heat causes poor seeing conditions.