Titanium is important as an alloying agent with aluminum, molybdenum, manganese, iron, and other metals. Alloys of titanium are principally used for aircraft and missiles where lightweight strength and ability to withstand extremes of temperature are important.
Titanium is as strong as steel, but 45% lighter. It is 60% heavier than aluminum, but twice as strong.
Titanium has potential use in desalination plants for converting sea water into fresh water. The metal has excellent resistance to sea water and is used for propeller shafts, rigging, and other parts of ships exposed to salt water. A titanium anode coated with platinum has been used to provide cathodic protection from corrosion by salt water.
It is produced artificially for use as a gemstone, but it is relatively soft. Star sapphires and rubies exhibit their asterism as a result of the presence of TiO2.
Titanium dioxide is extensively used for both house paint and artist's paint, because it is permanent and has good covering power. Titanium oxide pigment accounts for the largest use of the element. Titanium paint is an excellent reflector of infrared, and is extensively used in solar observatories where heat causes poor viewing conditions.
Titanium tetrachloride is used to iridize glass. This compound fumes strongly in air and has been used to produce smoke screens.