A Look at the Differences between Titanium and Stainless Steel

Many businesses and industries utilize titanium and/or stainless steel during their daily operations. The primary difference between these two substances is that titanium is a metal while stainless steel is a metal alloy. Keep reading to get a better understanding of the implications of this difference as well as to form a clearer picture of other differences existing between titanium and stainless steel. 


What is Titanium?



A metallic element, titanium has silver-to-grey coloring. Its atomic number is  22, and its symbol as a chemical element is Ti. It offers a high strength-to-weight ratio, creating an extremely strong substance. Titanium also offers a high heat transfer efficiency as well as being highly resistant to corrosion. As a result, it is highly desirable for use in certain industries such as construction, where temperature changes and the elements of weather can create adverse effects on structural components. 


Titanium offers a high level of mechanical resistance, making it extremely durable. Its low density makes it lightweight, adding to its desirability in certain industries. Its corrosion resistance is found across a wide field, making it highly resistant to corrosion created by a wide assortment of alkalis, acids, industrial chemicals, and natural waters.


What is Stainless Steel?


Stainless steel is an alloy steel, which means that it is steel combined with one or more elements in order to change its characteristics. Alloying refers to the process of mixing more than one metal together. In the case of stainless steel, it is often made with approximately ten to thirty percent chromium and seventy percent iron to give it corrosion resistance as well as the ability to hold up well to temperature changes. 


When other elements are added to the mix, it is usually done to enhance the steel's ability to resist corrosion or oxidation. In some cases, a specific element is added in order to encourage a unique characteristic in a particular type of stainless steel. Although they are not always added to alloy steel, one or more of the following elements are sometimes included in the mix of metals: titanium, copper, aluminum, sulfur, nickel, selenium, niobium, nitrogen, phosphorus, or molybdenum. The specific metals that have been added to the steel to produce stainless steel are known as alloying elements.  


What is the Difference between Titanium and Stainless Steel?


The main difference between stainless steel and titanium is simply that stainless steel is an alloy metal while titanium is a metal. The unique characteristics of stainless steel are created by adding alloying metals to it, while titanium's characteristics are naturally found within it. 


Circumstances exist that often suggest one substance is better suited than the other for use in a specific project or activity. For example, titanium is often preferred by some manufacturers due to its unique qualities that deliver strength and durability along with low density. Therefore, when  weight is a more important consideration than strength, titanium is often preferred.  Conversely, stainless steel is preferred by industries that place a higher importance on weight than strength. While titanium is not as dense as steel, it is just as strong, making it highly suitable for specific industries, such as aerospace, an industry that requires lower density in addition to strength. 


Titanium is more expensive, though, than stainless steel, making it cost-prohibitive for some industries, such as construction, which requires large quantities. Therefore, when money is an important part of the equation, stainless steel is sometimes chosen over titanium if both substances are deemed suitable. 


Titanium is extremely biocompatible, meaning that it is nontoxic to the human body. Therefore, it is used regularly in the medical industry as an excellent source for replacement parts such as hip implants, knee replacements, cases for pacemakers, and craniofacial plates for the human body. It is also utilized in the dental industry for dental implants, a growing area of the dentistry field. Due to its biocompatibility, titanium is commonly used to make jewelry, corrosion resistance, and lightweight nature compared to stainless steel. 


Stainless steel offers both weldability and formability, allowing it to be easily shaped, adding to its popularity for use in a number of industries. Due to its shiny appearance, stainless steel is often used to make household items, such as kitchen pots and pans, as well as to make healthcare products, such as sinks, countertops, portable carts, shelving, and tables.


Stainless steel is subject to fatigue and shattering, while titanium is highly resistant to fatigue caused by fluctuating changes in temperature. Therefore, titanium is a better choice when variations in temperature lead to extreme highs or lows.


Stainless steel and titanium are used in various industries around the world. Both are highly durable, corrosion resistant, and strong. Typically, it is the nature of its use that determines which metal is chosen.