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Titanium and its Application to the Blackbird SR-71.

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Titanium and its Application to the Blackbird SR-71


   William Gregor discovered titanium in 1791, it was first isolated and named after the powerful mythological first sons of the Earth – The Titans, titanium used mostly in jet engines and aircraft, but most recently it has been used widely in the prosthetic industry and the artificial heart. Titanium is the worlds fourth most abundant structural metal. It is found in North and South America, Europe, Africa and Australia in its ore. The most widely used extraction method of titanium from its ore is the Kroll process, which uses magnesium as the reducing agent to extract the titanium from its ore.

Titanium is number 22 on the periodic table. It is has a very high melting and boiling point, which enables it to be used in many situations where other metals would simply melt. It also has a very low density, this is what favours titanium to many other metals as it is light and very strong.

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 Titanium is used in many different ways all over the world and its many properties all help to favour this excellent metal. Titanium is used widely in aerospace as over 50% of the titanium-produced worldwide is used for aerospace parts. This is due to the fact that it is light and has a high melting point of nearly 1668.C*

Titanium is also very resistant to corrosion and is therefore used in many Chemical plants. Because titanium does not corrode it can be used in tubing and be as thin as 0.5mm and never have to be replaced. Usage of titanium in the chemical, nuclear and fossil plants make up over a third of the world production. Many titanium alloys are also used due to the fact that they are non-magnetic, excellent fire resistance and have a short radioactive half-life.

   Titanium is also used in many operations as it has a excellent resistance to corrosion and erosion, high heat transfer efficiency.

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 They solved this problem by using special drill bits and using special drilling angles and lubricants. They also changed the number of drilled holes from 30 to 120. The last problem that they had to solve was that when the titanium heated up it started to expand and this would cause unevenness in the wings. They solved this by corrugating the wing skin, which allowed the wing skin to expand at a different rate compared to the wing spars. This involves Young Modulus which is stress divided by strain. For example a material with a large strain for little stress is flexible and easy to stretch, where as a material with little strain for a large stress is stiff and hard to stretch. The Young Modulus is large for a stiff material and is small very a flexible material.

Overall titanium was used for the Blackbird SR-71 for a number of reasons and was chosen because of its unique properties that make it stand out from all other metals.

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