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Demand for titanium continues to climb to new highs with worldwide consumption exceeding 70,000 tons per year for the last four years. Industry analysts attribute much of this growth to the aerospace industry as demand continues to grow for newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft. Additional growth has also been forecasted in the industrial markets, based on consumer demand and expansion of infrastructure, both of which are expected to resume growth as the recession liftsThe expanded use of titanium in the aerospace market can be attributed to several factors, including the demand for newer aircraft designs with increased CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced polymer [or plastic]) composition. By sharing the same thermal expansion rates as many popular composite materials, titanium is highly favored as a composite interface material. As composite use continues to grow, analysts predict subsequent increases in titanium adoption rates.The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner is estimated to use 15 percent titanium by weight, 5 percent more than steel. Increased titanium use in this aircraft directly corresponds with composite components based on the materials’ compatibility. The rise in composite design, construction and use is a strong indicator of additional increases in titanium part production.
Outside of aerospace, the industrial market comprises a majority of the remaining titanium consumption. Two audiences primarily influence this industry: consumer and infrastructure.Consumer-influenced applications represent 50 percent to 70 percent of the global market demand for titanium out-side of aerospace, approximately 21,000 tons in 2009. These applications include components used in large chemical pro-cessing and metallurgical plants as well as in sporting goods, automotive, architecture, medical and more.Industrial market growth influenced by infrastructure makes up the remaining 30 percent to 50 percent of the titanium demand. These applications include traditional and nuclear power generation plants where titanium is used in condensers and generators, desalination plants, oil and gas production facilities, and plants producing liquid natural gas.Current industry projections for titanium indicate a 40 percent increase in demand by 2015. Anticipating this growth, many major producers of titanium have announced plans to increase their production capacities.