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Metals in Medicine

Titanium is used to make hip replacements

Periodic Table with Titanium highlighted

Titanium is a light metal but very strong, e.g. it is as strong as steel but 45% lighter. For these properties it is used to make lightweight alloys for aircraft, bikes and laptop computers.

The compound Titanium dioxide (TiO2) absorbs UV light and is used in sunscreen. It is the largest use of the element because it is used extensively in paints.

Titanium dioxide powder

Titanium dioxide powder

Titanium is resistant to corrosion by sea water and therefore is used on parts of ships. The non-reactive properties of titanium make it ideal for use in the body as hip replacements and pacemakers, which won't be attacked by body fluids. The strength of titanium also means that it can be used in hip joints, which get a lot of wear and tear. Unfortunately titanium is expensive but we can use ELECTROPLATING (link to Material World topic) to coat cheaper metals with a thin layer of titanium.

An artificial hip joint Plated with titanium to give it strength and resistance to corrosion inside the body.

An artificial hip joint Plated with titanium to give it strength and resistance to corrosion inside the body.


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Back to the Topics List

Metals Are Essential for Life - Lithium treats mental illness - Carbonate - Why Are Fizzy Drinks Bad for our Teeth? - Iron compounds are essential to life - Iron Makes Our blood red - How Do We Get Energy From Oxygen? - Iron is Used to Make Steel - Platinum is Used in Treating Cancer - Cis and Trans? - Titanium is used to make hip replacements - Barium is used to see inside our bodies - Lead: a toxic metal that protects us from x-rays

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