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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X


OOSTHUIZEN, S.J. Titanium: the innovators' metal - Historical case studies tracing titanium process and product innovation. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2011, vol.111, n.11, pp.781-786. ISSN 2411-9717.

This paper examines innovation in relation to the availability of a new material: the metal titanium. The paper aims to highlight the need for the inclusion of entrepreneurial innovation as a necessary focus area in the development of a titanium metal value chain. Both the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) have identified the creation of titanium metals production capabilities as a key growth area for South Africa. Using historical literature as a source of data, the activities of selected innovators who used titanium metal as a central component in their success, were investigated. The origin of the process innovation behind the titanium metals industry, and two titanium product innovations: namely, medical implants and sporting goods, were detailed as case studies. It was found that individual innovators were responsible for the creation, and rapid growth, of the titanium industry and titanium product applications. There is a need to link the current research and development into titanium metals production with individuals and organizations capable of commercializing innovative processes and products.

Keywords : titanium; kroll; hunter; sport; medical; defense; innovation; entrepreneur.

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