HISTORY OF TITANIUM
About 0.6% of the earth's crust is made up of titanium, making titanium the fourth most abundant structural metal after aluminum, iron, and magnesium, adn the ninth most abundant mineral overall. Titanium ore mainly comprises of ilmenite (FeTiO3) and rutile (TiO2).
The element was initially discovered in 1791 by clergyman and amateur mineralogist Gregor, but it is 4 years later that this was confirmed by Klaproth, a German chemist, analyzed rutile from Hungary and identified an oxide of an unknown element that he named "titanium" after the Titans, a race of powerful deities linked to the earth, the wind, and the sea, that were later supplanted by the Olympians, in Greek mythology.
Isolating the metal from the titanium ore proved to be a challenge, requiring titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4) as an intermittent step. High purity titanium (ductile) was impeded by the strong tendency of this metal to react with atmospheric oxygen and nitrogen. Only well into the 20th century (1937-1940) did a commercially attractive process surfaced, making use of inert atmospheric gases, resulting in a product that resembles a metallic sponge, and thus called "titanium sponge." This is the "Kroll process" and is still in use today. Only 5% of the TiCl4 production is used to produce titanium metal - a large amount is used as an opaque white paint pigment and has replaced lead for that purpose, worlwide.
Production capacity of titanium sponge in metric tons