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The first titanium compound was identified by a Cornish vicar named William Gregor in 1791, when he extracted the impure oxide. He dissolved it in acid and got a colourless solution, but found that it could be reduced by zinc to make a purple solution. He was a transition metal chemist ahead of his time. Lots of chemists tried - for over a hundred years - to get the pure metal. We now know that this is very difficult because even the normally unreactive gas nitrogen reacts with hot titanium metal to form the nitride, TiN.
Nowadays titanium is manufactured by the Kroll process. First you heat titanium dioxide with carbon to about 1000 degrees C and pass chlorine over it. This makes TiCl4. People call that "Tickle". Then you cover the Tickle with an argon blanket and react with hot magnesium [at 850 degrees C] to get the metallic element.
Titanium metal is not as cheap as iron - because it is more difficult to extract - so its applications tend to be specialist ones. Titanium metal has some very valuable properties. In practice, it is pretty unreactive because, like aluminium, it forms a thin protective layer of the oxide, so it doesn't corrode. Its density is 4.5 grams per cm3, much less than iron, so titanium alloys are important in the aerospace industry. It was used to make much of the SR-71 Blackbird, the world's fastest manned aircraft, as well as a major parts of the engines and airframe of the big passenger aircraft including 747s and Airbuses.
This metal is resistant to seawater so it finds marine applications like propeller shafts, and the Russians are said to have used it to construct submarines. Titanium isn't toxic, and it is not rejected by the body. It also connects with bone, so it has found surgical applications such as in joint replacements - especially hip joints - and tooth implants.
So there are lots of applications for titanium and its compounds - we just can't do without it.