Titanium is important as an alloying agent with most metals and some nonmetals. Some of these alloys have much higher tensile strengths than does titanium itself. Titanium has excellent corrosion-resistance in many environments because of the formation of a passive oxide surface film. No noticeable corrosion of the metal occurs despite exposure to seawater for more than three years. Titanium resembles other transition metals such as iron and nickel in being hard and refractory. Its combination of high strength, low density (it is quite light in comparison to other metals of similar mechanical and thermal properties), and excellent corrosion-resistance make it useful for many parts of aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, and ships. It also is used in prosthetic devices, because it does not react with fleshy tissue and bone. Titanium has also been utilized as a deoxidizer in steel and as an alloying addition in many steels to reduce grain size, in stainless steel to reduce carbon content, in aluminum to refine grain size, and in copper to produce hardening.
Although at room temperatures titanium is resistant to tarnishing, at elevated temperatures it reacts with oxygen in the air. This is no detriment to the properties of titanium during forging or fabrication of its alloys; the oxide scale is removed after fabrication. In the liquid state, however, titanium is very reactive and reduces all known refractories.