Titanium is an element and is used in
aerospace applications due to its unique properties. It is a
strong metal, like steel, but is about 60% of the weight of steel
and about half the weight of brass. Brass is the metal that
most mouthpieces are made from. Brass is extremely easy to
machine, but can be toxic, so is plated with silver to both make it
more inert and to keep it from tarnishing. Titanium is very
inert, and is even used in body implants for this reason. No
plating is necessary, so there is nothing to wear through.
Titanium also takes the heat of your body very quickly. It is very noticeable in the titanium jewelry market. This is a big plus for playing in extreme cold weather where a brass mouthpiece will continue to feel cold for quite some time. Once you play on titanium, everything else feels cold and foreign. You will feel the difference.
Titanium is much harder than brass. There is a hardness scale called the Mohs scale where talc is 1 and diamond is 10. Brass comes in at around 3 to 4 on that scale, whereas the titanium I use is about 6.5 on that same scale. We don't just use pure titanium, also called Commercially Pure, or CP titanium; we use aerospace grade titanium. The alloy we use is called 6al4v, which means it has 6% aluminum and 4% vanadium to get extra strength and hardness. It is extremely inert and used in bone screws and implants. The difference is that you can drop a brass mouthpiece to the concrete floor, and it will make a major dent in the shank that can completely ruin an expensive mouthpiece. Titanium can withstand that abuse and be unharmed.
Titanium is a metal that can't simply be melted in a furnace like brass or aluminum. It has to be done in a special vacuum furnace or it becomes fireworks. It is also extremely difficult to machine, which is why so few manufacturers can offer it. Those factors combined are the reason it is more expensive than brass. With our system, it is possible to have one shank and multiple cups, which helps to bring the cost down.