While aluminium is used in the construction of aircraft due to its strength and low density, its melting temperature properties wouldn’t suffice in the case of the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, a surveillance aircraft that set a speed record of Mach 3.3 (2,193.2mph; 3,529.6km/h). Titanium was used in 85 per cent of its structure due to its high melting point and resistance to cavitation (the formation of small vapour-filled cavities). This is essential for a plane travelling at supersonic speeds, and the high levels of friction, changes in pressure and shock waves that entail from breaking the sound barrier.
As some of us may be all too aware, our bodies aren’t as reliable as we’d like. While knees and other joints can wear away, organic parts can now be replaced by synthetic ones. Specifically titanium. The metal is remarkably biocompatible, with a density similar to that of human bone, meaning the two can work together, allowing its use in situations such as replacement skeletal parts and sockets. It’s also durable and can be relied upon for decades.
In sports where the weight and efficiency of equipment are critical, titanium comes up trumps. Lighter and more durable than steel, and with high fatigue strength, it’s used commonly in racing bike frames, bobsleighs, racing wheelchairs and tennis rackets.