Whytanium: 4 Practical Properties of Ti

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In the first installment of the Carry Smarter: Titanium series, I talked about products that best showed off the aesthetic qualities of Titanium. As a material, it’s often understated but never underrated. Its cool shine and feel in the hand galvanized an entire industry of gear.

If Titanium were all about the looks, we’d see it in jewelry or accessories and call it a day. Instead, Ti has found its way into such incredible applications as aerospace engineering and prosthetic implants. So what exactly are the qualities that make Ti so versatile?

1. It’s light, but not too light.

Although there are many materials lighter than Ti, none of them match Ti’s balance of strength and weight. Thanks to its high density-to-weight ratio, it provides necessary strength without adding bulk.

Leatherman Charge TTi

If anything can benefit from light weight without sacrificing the strength for heavy-duty tasks, it’s a multitool. Leatherman makes some of the best multitools in the business. Using Ti for the handles on the Charge TTi lets them to cram tough tools into a portable package.

BUY ($149)

2. It’s hypoallergenic and corrosion resistant.

Not reacting with human skin makes Titanium a great choice for jewelry and other accessories. Naturally, the apparel industry has been quick to reap its benefits as a material. Even better, its high resistance to corrosion means wearable items can withstand both human and natural elements better than other metals can.

Oakley Titanium Crosshair Sunglasses

Oakley has been pushing the limits of performance eyewear for four decades. It’s only natural that they pick up on a material as useful as Titanium, putting its best properties as a wearable metal to use in their Crosshair model.

BUY ($249)

Citizen BM7170-53L Titanium Eco Drive

There are many Titanium watches on the market, but few put style, technology, and features together the way Citizen has for the BM7170-53L. It uses Ti for its case and bracelet, maximizing its light weight and non-allergenic qualities in a daily wrist companion. A solid set of components are also encased in the watch, including Citizen’s energy-saving Eco Drive technology, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and 100 meters of water resistance.

BUY ($263)

Vargo Titanium Folding Spork

Rust and corrosion resistance make Titanium excellent for products that make human contact. If it’s something you put in your mouth out in the wild, you’d want something that didn’t come with an extra serving of iron. Vargo has a whole line of Titanium products fit for outdoor use. Their foldable spork would be a valuable, portable addition to your outdoor food prep kit.

BUY ($15)

3. It has a low elastic modulus (it’s springy!).

Also known as Young’s modulus, this property describes the rigidity of a material. Titanium having a low modulus offers flexibility and movement while still maintaining its shape. This would explain how Ti is both “soft” yet still strong, and able to excel where other metals would be too brittle or incomparable to Titanium’s weight or resistance.

Ti2 Titanium Wallet

A money clip is a perfect application of Titanium’s low elasticity modulus, as it also emphasizes the metal’s light weight. This creates a wallet that can hold all your cards and cash (down to a single bill!), yet retain its shape after constant use. Ti2’s minimalist wallet is 25 grams of Grade 5 Titanium goodness, and will surprise you with just how light and effective it is at holding your essentials.

BUY ($35)

4. It strikes a balance between function and form.

Titanium is not always the best at what it needs to do. It’s not the lightest metal, nor the strongest. It’s not the best conductor of heat, nor is it the most scratch-resistant. What makes it so desirable as a material is how it’s able to combine its strengths as listed above, perform well for its purposes, and – as I explored in Part 1 – look damn good while it’s doing it. Simply put, no other material can boast such a useful set of properties while still being somewhat affordable and attractive.

Zero Tolerance 0560BW

Zero Tolerance doesn’t mess around when it comes to heavy-duty materials. Overbuilt performance is the hallmark of their knives. This Rick Hinderer design with an upgraded BlackWash blade finish is one of the company’s flagship models, and one that definitely benefits from Titanium’s exemplary strength-to-weight ratio. Sporting a hefty 3.75″ ELMAX blade, machined G-10 scales, and a solid Titanium framelock and lock bar stabilizer, the 0560BW is a beast in the wild but still a beauty in your pocket.

BUY ($260)

Klarus MiX7 Ti AA Flashlight

Thanks to the strength of Ti, Klarus were able to shave off even more weight in this version of the MiX7. While its aluminum counterpart bore a cylindrical body, this takes on a sexier, svelte form factor. The MiX7 also packs some attractive features into its polished finish, such as 180 lumens off a single AA cell and a side switch for activation, making it suitable as a keychain light.

BUY ($59)

You should be all caught up on Titanium now that we’ve finished covering its pros and cons and illustrated examples of gear that make best use of its qualities. While it isn’t perfect, if you’ve ever handled Ti in the flesh, you would understand how easy it is to overlook its technical faults. Stay tuned for the third part of the series where we recommend some affordable and widely available Ti options to get you started on your own Ti EDC.

Have you ever carried any Titanium tools? Have they stood up to the test of being your daily drivers or do you prefer other materials to get the job done? Let us know in the comments below!

Items Pictured in the Header: OBSTRUCTURES Pry/OpenTi2 Design Para-BinerTi2 Design TechLiner ShortySuperior Titanium Mini ViperSpyderco Leafstorm

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