As oil giants Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) and others benefit from higher fuel prices, airlines such as Southwest (NYSE:LUV) have been feeling the pinch from the increased costs. To counter, many airliners are turning to newer, lighter aircraft produced by Boeing (NYSE:BA). For instance, Boeing's 787-8 Dreamliner is estimated to use 20% less fuel than any other comparably sized aircraft. One material used to reduce the weight of aircraft is titanium.

Titanium has all sorts of uses. Extreme hikers turn to titanium utensils as a means to further reduce pack weight while maintaining durability. It also has medical purposes -- my left hand is a functioning example, since it was put back together with titanium pins after being broken in multiple places.

As I type this article with my titanium-strengthened hand, a commercial for a new Titanium Turbo razor is on TV. This company certainly isn't the first -- Procter & Gamble's (NYSE:PG) Gillette has been touting its titanium-tipped razors for some time now. But it is titanium's uses in the commercial aerospace market that interest me most.

Investors have a few options to choose from in the titanium end of the market, including RMI International Metals (NYSE:RTI) and pure play Titanium Metals (NYSE:TIE). Another company that has come across my radar screen is Allegheny Technologies (NYSE:ATI).

This specialty materials manufacturer offers a wide range of products, including titanium and titanium alloys. The company's high-performance metals division is the primary reason the stock has more than doubled over the past two years. In 2004, high-performance sales increased 24% and made up 29% of the company's total revenues. So far in 2005, Allegheny saw this division grow sales by 58%, now making up 34% of net revenues.

Titanium is the primary reason for Allegheny's high-performance division growth. Its latest quarterly report highlights this -- titanium volume increased 20% compared with 17% from its nickel and steel alloys and flat volume sales from its exotic materials. But even more telling is the increase in average price per pound for titanium. Allegheny was able to sell its titanium in 2003 for a price of $11.50 per pound. In 2004, it was $12.34 per pound. Amazingly, in the third quarter of 2005, Allegheny was able to sell these materials for $25.49 per pound -- 103% higher than the year-ago period.

Driving these increases is the unprecedented demand from the aerospace industry -- in particular, commercial aerospace. With the production of Boeing's Dreamliner expected to commence in 2006, first flights anticipated in 2007, and initial delivery into service not until 2008, there's a good chance that Allegheny Technologies hasn't seen the end of the remarkable demand for titanium. For this reason, the company remains on my radar, as it should for any investor interested in the metals market.

Fools, now is the time to open your hearts and wallets to worthy causes! Please support our five Foolish charities at .

Fool contributor Jeremy MacNealy does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.