The word "titanium" tends to evoke exotic visions such as that of the SR-71 Blackbird streaking across the sky at unheard of heights, exceeding the speed of a high-powered rifle bullet, protected by its heat-resistant titanium skin. Or perhaps one pictures a deadly Alfa-class Soviet submarine blasting through the water at 45 knots and at depths of more than 300 m (1000 ft.), well below the crush-depth of its American counterpart, guarded from unimaginable pressures by a tough hull of titanium alloy. The senior author's first experience with titanium was more than 20 years ago while working his way through college at a foreign-car repair shop. He held in his hand a wheel lug from the legendary Porsche 911, and it felt too light to be steel. Aluminum? he asked. With a knowing gleam in his eye, the venerable head mechanic whispered, "Titanium". It was a word that was almost unknown at that time, and it seemed the very definition of what we now call "high tech".