LONDON (Reuters) - Apple launched a new series of iPhones this week that included a titanium shell, which will make the handsets the lightest the company has ever made and the case more durable.
Titanium is increasingly being used in mobile phones. China's titanium producers said they expect stronger demand after the launch of the new Apple models.
Here are some key facts on titanium:
WHERE IS TITANIUM PRODUCED?
Titanium minerals are used to make titanium sponge which can be turned into metal for industrial applications.
China is the world's largest producer of titanium sponge, accounting for 150,000 metric tons last year or 58% of the 260,000 tons of global output, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
USGS data shows Japan comes next with nearly 19%, followed by Russia with nearly 10% of the market. Kazakhstan produced 16,000 tons and Ukraine 1,000 tons in 2022.
WHO IMPORTS AND EXPORTS TITANIUM?
According to Trade Data Monitor (TDM), the United States was the largest importer of titanium sponge last year with 36% of the total at nearly 83,000 tons, which excludes Russian numbers because they are not available.
China was the second largest importer of titanium sponge with more than 13,000 tons last year, followed by South Korea with 9,000 tons, according to TDM.
Japan was the world's largest exporter of titanium sponge last year, shipping nearly 35,000 tons, followed by Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia on nearly 16,000 tons and 10,000 tons respectively, TDM data shows.
WHAT IS TITANIUM USED FOR?
Titanium is used in the aerospace industry to make landing gear, blades and turbine discs. In the marine industry, titanium sheet is used to make ships and submarines and in the auto sector it is used in components for internal combustion engines.
It offers protection from fatigue and cracking in chemical processing and in vaping, titanium wire is used to enhance safety and control temperature while in sport its uses include golf club heads.
Titanium is also used for joint replacements and dental implants because it has a similar density to human bones.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
The name Titanium is derived from the Titans of Greek mythology, with the metal accounting for about 0.6% of the earth's mass.
It is a hard, strong, lightweight metal with extraordinary resistance to corrosion. Titanium is as strong as steel, yet 45% lighter.
(Reporting by Pratima Desai; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)