Chemical Element: titanium

(Modern Latin: from the Titans of classical mythology; metal)

Chemical-Element Information

Symbol: To
Atomic number: 22
Year discovered: 1791

Discovered by: Reverend William Gregor (1761-1817), an English minister.

  • Titanium was discovered by the Reverend William Gregor, in 1791, because he was interested in mineralogy.
  • More out of curiosity than for any other reason, he analyzed as many odd minerals as he could find.
  • In 1791, he isolated a substance from one of these minerals that he thought might be a new element.
  • It was, and four years later, it was named “titanium” by German chemist, Martin Heinrich Klaproth.
  • Gregor called it “menchanite” (or “menaccanite”) after the Cornish town Manaccan near where he discovered it.
  • Klaproth named it for the mythological first sons of the earth, the Titans, an allusion to the incarnation of natural strength in the metal.
  • In 1797, Klaproth found that titanium also was present in the mineral “ilmenite” and recognized that it was the same element discovered in England at the same time by William Gregor.
  • In 1910, M. Hunter succeeded in isolating titanium by reducing titanium tetrachloride with sodium in an airtight steel cylinder.
  • Because of its excellent corrosion resistance, it is used in many applications in the chemical industry.
  • As a result of its light weight and high strength, particularly in alloy form, it is in demand for use in structural parts of high-speed aircraft, some bicycles, specialized-wheel chairs, etc.

Name in other languages:

French: titane

German: Titan

Italian: titanio

Spanish: titanio

Information about other elements may be seen at this Chemical Elements List.

A special unit about words that include chemo-, chem- may be seen here.