This metal occurs chiefly in the 3 minerals anatase, brook-ite, and rutile, which consist of its pure dioxide, and contain 61 per cent. of the metal; it is also a frequent constituent of magnetic iron and basaltic rocks. Its preparation is rendered difficult by its affinity for the nitrogen in the atmosphere. According to one method, potassium titanofluoride is first produced by fusing titanium dioxide with double the weight of potassium car-bonate in a platinum crucible, and dissolving the pulverized mass in sufficient dilute hydrofluoric acid in a platinum dish, when the desired salt crystallizes out, and may be dried between bibulous paper and recrystallized from boiling water. A dry mixture of this potassium titanofluoride with potassium is heated in a covered crucible, when the metal is reduced as a dark-grey amorphous powder, the potassium fluoride being removed by water; but the metal almost always contains some nitride. A purer product is obtained as follows: into a porcelain tube filled with hydrogen are brought 2 boats, one containing potassium titanofluoride and the other sodium; the metal is reduced when the tube is heated so that the sodium vapour comes into contact with the potassium salt, and the cooled mass is washed with warm water.
The metal is attacked by dilute nitric, sulphuric, and acetic acids, and rapidly dissolves in warm hydrochloric acid; it burns brightly when heated in the air, ignites energetically when heated in oxygen, burns very violently when heated with red lead, and combines with chlorine at high temperatures.
Lewthwaite's process for making titanic steel castings, rods, bars, and for producing various kinds of brass, bronze, and bell alloys, may be thus described: To produce a fine steel casting capable of being planed, turned, filed and highly polished, having a silvery finish, take any common pig or cast iron as it has been run from the furnace or cupola, and whilst at or about its hottest state, after skimming off dirt, sprinkle and well stir into the molten mass about 8 per cent. of titanic steel sand, which has the effect of cleaning or refining the iron to such an extent that a large quantity of scum, slag, or dirt has to be cleared away from the metal before pouring it into the moulds, the product being a strong, fine, and valuable steel casting that may be first tooled and then hardened or tempered as required. For a more silvery steel, introduce into the cast metal at its hottest, say 3 to 8 per cent. of tin before mixing in the sand; or treat the metal with copper in a like manner. In any case, the metal thus produced is much better adapted than any hitherto made for fine strong castings, ship engines, or capstan bearings, and it does not rust like the ordinary metals.
To produce rods, bars, or sheets, mix in the titanic sand, by hand or otherwise, as the molten metal runs from the reducing furnace, or afterwards in quantity to produce the desired effect, say 6 to 15 per cent. of the sand. The metal or pig so produced may be treated in the ordinary way of puddling, etc, to produce a very superior class of steel for marine and other uses. Other metals and alloys are similarly treated for crucible castings, etc, producing finer, stronger, choicer, and better articles. Much superior castings, etc, can be produced by this process, and without any appreciable increase of cost. It keeps its polish much better than any other steel, and exceeds in strength by at least 18 to 20 per cent.