guest author - Copper Mutant
When I was a boy, I remember going to the first showing of the movie the Clash of the Titans at the Pearlridge Mall in Hawaii. Monorail overhead, I rushed across the parking area toward the front of the theater waiting to see Ray Harryhausen's latest creation. I wasn't disappointed with all of the imagery of Greek gods and the battles with Medusa and the Kraken. Even before that I had been obsessed with reading about mythology either Greek or Norse, so it stands that all these years later I would be curious to dig into the origins of the name of the metal called titanium, of which Liberty Copper recently sent me some samples I shared a couple of videos back, and look how it might fit into my preparations for the Apocalypse ...
Today the topic is Titanium. So what is Titanium and why would you want to own it? Well, let's start with the basics. Titanium is a metal represented by the symbol Ti and atomic number 22. It has a silver color, is lightweight, and strong. Due to this combination of lightness and strength, titanium has become a vital material for aerospace, medical, and sporting goods industries. You've probably heard about its use in golf clubs, for example, but the applications go far beyond that.
So what's in the name? In Greek mythology, the Titans were a race of powerful deities who preceded the gods of Olympus. The name "titanium" is derived from the Titans, as the element was named by German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth in 1795, who named it after the mythological figures for their legendary strength.
I dug into the history and the first item successfully commercially forged from titanium from what i found was a compressor blade for a gas turbine engine, which was produced in 1948 by William J. Kroll and his colleagues at the United States Bureau of Mines. The blade was made using a new process for reducing titanium tetrachloride with magnesium, which Kroll had developed. This process made opened up new possibilities for the use of titanium in various industries.
Among all the other things I mentioned I know it's used to create strong and lightweight armor and weapons such as this Level 3 body armor, or a weight reduced 1911. This conjures to my mind the scene in the Clash of the Titans where Perseus is granted a sword, shield, and helmet by the gods. One could imagine the gods as having the technology available to forge titanium before we did. That said, titanium alloys can ironically (no pun intended) be brittle and not hold an edge well, so there's that. If you see it advertised with a knife it's more likely to be used in the handle to cut down on weight.
There are other applications such as in canteens. The general idea is to replace heavier steel components with titanium where possible. Aside from the mythical sword and its lightweight strength, other properties and associations of the metal, if you get a little creative, could be compared to those of the gods and goddesses of Greek mythology. And Liberty Copper in fact offers titanium bar designs that play into the correlation and name of the metal. That said, I think the reasons I own and collect copper are very different from a case I could make to own more titanium.
For example, as I've explained before on my channel copper is something I want in my preps for a post-apocalyptic future like the one in my fictional, but not TOO separated from a possible reality Johnny Apocalypseed world. The key points of copper that I value are:
Ductility, malleability, and ease for an amateur to work and form the metal into something useful with "backyard tools". A good example of this is a video by Mickey Wilson Bushcraft and Survival where a short length of copper pipe is hammered into a simple blade.
It has a low price relative to other pure metals and bullion, and if I only have a few bullion coins on hand and no sack of pipes and wire on my back I won't feel too bad about turning the copper rounds into something useful in a pinch like a handful of nails.
It has historic precedent being used as a currency, with examples such as the Dutch Stuiver or the Fugio Cent that predate the small pennies we are all familiar with.
It's something you can obtain from scrap in a pinch.
All of these reasons I have given however are probably quite niche, unusual, and uncommon if you look at the typical reasons people give for owning any type bullion like silver or gold, however. Most people stack metals simply to stack metals - and they invest in the value of the metal in the market versus post-societal collapse utility and barter. And those who do collect copper like crazy are likely doing so with pipes, wires, scraps - that sort of thing. That said, let's look at the contrast with Titanium and compare the two metals around the key things that attracted me to copper:
Titanium has a very high melting point. Once you have something made from the metal, you are unlikely to have the tools and equipment required to change its determined shape and form it into something else, especially in a post-apocalyptic environment. That said, there is a new innovation in 3d printing using titanium. 3D printed titanium can be made on a powder bed metal 3D printer that uses a process called direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). An arm spreads a thin layer of extremely fine titanium powder down into the printing bed while a powerful carbon dioxide laser is used to melt the powder and fuse the titanium together. I won't pretend to know more, just that this is one way you could in fact use the metal, though it would be from a powder base and of course require that the lights be on so you can use a full 3d printer setup after the apocalypse.
The price for Titanium is higher than copper, but in my opinion reasonable considering that it's the strongest metal in the world and generally not easy to extract, form, and work with. It's worth noting that the cost of commercially pure titanium (the "CP" you might see listed on Titanium Bullion) has risen steeply since 2003, from about $15.00 per lb to $30.00 per lb.
Titanium has not been used as a traditional metal for coinage.
Titanium is a very expensive scrap-valued metal, especially when combined with other unique alloys. A perhaps macabre fact is that Titanium is often recovered from crematoriums now as a scrap metal to be recycled, since it survives intact due to the lower temperatures used in cremation.
So given all of those contrasts, let's look again at some persuasive reasons to own titanium as an investment in its market value and industrial utility, as as silver bug might:
Durability: Titanium is known for its strength and durability, making it ideal for various applications in industries such as aerospace, defense, and medical implants.
Corrosion Resistance: Titanium is resistant to corrosion from saltwater, chemicals, and other harsh environments, making it a popular material for products that will be exposed to harsh conditions. One reason for this is that titanium naturally forms an oxide layer on its surface when exposed to oxygen in the air. This oxide layer is very thin, transparent, and stable, and it serves as a protective coating for the underlying metal. I've personally noticed that the titanium bars and rounds from Liberty Copper don't discolor with fingerprints like copper will, but respond more like stainless steel.
Lightweight: As I mentioned before titanium is a lightweight metal, which makes it ideal for applications where weight reduction is critical, such as in aircraft and bicycles.
Biocompatibility: Titanium is biocompatible, meaning that it is well-tolerated by the human body, making it a common material for medical implants and devices.
Value: The demand for titanium is growing in various industries, and the supply is limited, which can result in an increase in value for titanium products over time, making it a valuable investment.
If you see the value of titanium as one to continue to skyrocket as its applications increase, then investing in the physical metal as a bullion would make sense. Silver and Gold have industrial applications that are often touted by Silver and Gold bugs, so why not Titanium? I think the biggest hurdle to acceptance of titanium bullion from people who stack copper, silver, gold, and even platinum to a smaller degree is perhaps the 3rd reason I gave to own copper, which is the extensive history it has as a currency. While some countries have issued commemorative coins made of titanium or used titanium in coinage production, these coins have never been put in circulation as legal tender.
Titanium is significantly rarer however than copper. Copper is one of the most abundant metals on Earth, making up about 0.0068% of the Earth's crust by weight. In contrast, titanium is much less abundant, making up only about 0.57 parts per million (ppm) of the Earth's crust by weight. This means that titanium is more than a thousand times rarer than copper.
Titanium is more common element than silver, but the process used to make titanium bullion versus silver is an interesting one to consider and explore.
The relative expense of making a silver bullion coin versus a titanium bullion coin can differ significantly due to the properties of the metals themselves.
Titanium is more abundant in the Earth's crust than silver, while silver is much rarer. However, titanium is less commonly found in its pure metallic form in nature, as it is usually in a state of combination with other elements in minerals. On the other hand, silver is often found in its pure form in nature, as well as in various ores.
Silver is a relatively soft and malleable metal, which makes it easier of course to mint into coins. The production process for silver coins generally involves the following steps: melting and refining the silver bullion, rolling the metal into thin sheets, cutting out the circular blanks, stamping the designs onto the blanks, and finishing the coins with edge lettering and polishing.
Producing titanium bullion rounds or coins can be more challenging and expensive for a couple of reasons:
First, titanium is more difficult to refine and extract from its ores compared to silver or platinum. The process involves multiple steps, including crushing, grinding, and chemical reactions to produce pure titanium sponge.
Second, the production of titanium bullion coins or rounds requires specialized equipment and techniques, such as high-precision stamping and machining. This is because titanium has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than silver, which makes it harder to shape and work with.
In general for all the reasons I've just given I see Titanium as the ying to my copper's yang, and for this reason it makes it something I am certainly curious to watch and own to a limited extent.
In summary I don't foresee throwing bars of titanium into my bugout bag for some of the reasons I mentioned above, but it does look like a good thing to own to diversify my stack precisely because it is so different than copper. And I am now as a result of researching the metal interested in titanium camping products. I even mentioned one in episode 2 of Johnny Apocalypseed, where you'll find the occasional easter eggs related to my non-fiction videos like this one. Bonus points if you mention it in the comments below!
And like other precious metals, owning physical titanium can serve as a hedge against inflation. As the value of fiat currency decreases, the value of precious metals, including titanium, often increases, making it a useful tool for preserving wealth.
As I mentioned before Titanium is new to me thanks to Liberty Copper exposing me to the metal, so head on over and check out their selection of new titanium designs if it's something that is interesting to you.
Until next time, this is Copper Mutant, signing out