Is Titanium Stronger than Steel? (Yes…Sort Of)

Yes, titanium is considered to be stronger than steel. But there’s more to this conclusion that just which is stronger or weaker.

Titanium and steel might be confused as being the same materials.

However, when doing construction projects, it’s important to remember that Titanium and steel have the same strength, but Titanium is about 40% lighter than steel. 

This makes a huge difference when it comes to choosing the right materials for a building project.

Is Titanium Stronger than Steel (EXPLAINED)

What is Titanium?

Titanium and steel are both very strong metals. However, unlike steel, Titanium is a pure element found in the periodic table under the name Ti and with the atomic number 22. 

In its pure form, Titanium appears as a solid gray metal.

However, it is rarely found in its purest form in nature, and is often mixed as an alloy when used for building projects and other engineering purposes.

Titanium was first discovered by William Gregor in 1791, and it’s the 9th most abundant metal on planet Earth.

Titanium can be found in various rocks, other metals, mineral deposits and soils.

It can be found in the Earth’s crust and Lithosphere.

Are Titanium and Steel Alloys?

Titanium might often be confused with steel because it is not often used in its pure form.

Rather, it can be mixed into different alloys.

Alloys are metals made by combining two or more metallic elements, such as brass, amalgam, pewter, and…you guessed it…steel!

However, steel is an alloy consisting of iron and carbon.

Steel often contains less than 2 percent carbon and a small amount of manganese, silicon, phosphorous, and sulfur.

There are hundreds of steel alloys available today, each with their own properties dealing with strength, malleability, corrosion, and so on.

Steel doesn’t often contain any titanium, but rather is an alternative to titanium and titanium alloys. 

Titanium alloys, on the other hand, are made of mainly titanium and mixed with different metals.

They are available in 6 grades and 4 varieties, and include 

  • Ti 6AL-4V
  • Ti 6AL ELI
  • Ti 3Al 2.5
  • Ti 5Al-2.5Sn

These titanium alloys have their own uses besides steel, such as automotive engines, jewelry, dental implants, and everything in between.

How is the Strength of Steel and Titanium Determined?

When wondering is titanium stronger than steel, the answer might be a bit more complex than a simple yes or no.

Titanium and steel have their strengths determined by what’s known as tensile strength.

Tensile strength is referred to as the maximum load that a material can withstand before it breaks.

This is often measured in pounds per square inch, or PSI.

Titanium and steel have varying levels of tensile strength, which are based on the amount of heat treatment that the element might have, any alloys it is mixed with, and other factors such as its density.

However, overall, Titanium is measured to have a tensile strength of 20300 psi, while steel has a tensile strength of 50800 psi! 

If Titanium has a Lower Tensile Strength, How is Titanium Stronger than Steel?

Although steel has a bigger tensile strength than Titanium, Titanium is considered to be stronger due to its extreme lightweightness compared to its durability.

In fact, Titanium is about 40% more lightweight than steel.

Titanium’s density is about 4.51 grams per cubic centimeter, while steel has a density of 7.8-8 grams per cubic centimeter.

This means that Titanium is stronger in terms of mass to strength ratio, while steel has a bigger tensile strength overall.

What are the Benefits of Titanium?

Besides being more lightweight and having a greater mass to strength ratio than steel, Titanium is also corrosion resistant.

This is due to a layer of oxide that forms outside of Titanium when it is near air or water. 

Titanium, on top of being corrosive resistant, is also resistant to erosion (meaning it doesn’t wear away), and cavitation.

Cavitation is the process air bubbles forming under a metal due to rapid and repeated changes in pressure.

Because Titanium is resistant to corrosion and cavitation, it is used in aerospace technology, including in airplanes, spaceships, and areas where a high heat resistance is needed.

In addition, Titanium is also biocompatible.

This gives it the ability to be used within the body safely.

Indeed, Titanium has been a lifesaver for those looking to fix broken bones, for hip and other replacements, and more recently has been used in orthodontic surgery.

What are the Benefits of Steel?

Steel is much more dense than Titanium, and it is by far stronger in terms of tensile strength.

Steel is a metal alloy that is used in a variety of building, aerospace, automotive, and other engineering projects today.

However, unlike Titanium, steel does have a couple of drawbacks, including being susceptible to corrosion and other deformities.

The good thing about steel, however, is that it is easily treated with heat to bring out an immense number of properties, such as strength, to the forefront.

Steel can also be mixed with chromium to make “stainless steels” that can resist corrosion to some degree.

In addition, steel is also readily available, and because it can be treated with heat to create different properties within it, several different steels can be used for building projects.

Steel is also much cheaper than Titanium, which is hard to purify and difficult to produce for building projects.

Choosing a Metal

Although titanium and steel are two completely different metals, both are used extensively as building materials.

Both can be used in construction projects ranging from aerospace, to aviation and civil engineering. 

However, Titanium is stronger than steel in terms of its light weight and strength-to-mass ratio. 

Steel has a greater tensile strength, meaning the strength it takes for a metal to succumb to pressure.

One other factor to consider between the two is how they will be used in a project.

For instance, Titanium is a softer metal than steel, and can easily be molded to fit projects such as watches and biomedical surgeries. 

Titanium is also hypoallergenic, meaning it won’t give other people allergies.

Surprisingly, steel commonly includes Nickel, which can be an allergen to some.

If you are choosing a metal between Titanium and steel, it’s important to keep strength and these additional properties in mind.

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