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Oil on Wet Pavement
Not Just Aerospace Hullmetal
Titanium, a refractory metal, is at least as strong as steel, but 45%
lighter and won't rust. It is twice as strong as aluminum, but only 60%
heavier.Titanium keeps its strength at high temperatures, up to red-hot
where steel slumps and aluminum is liquid.
For artistic uses, the refraction of light through a sub-micron
thickness of clear oxide on the surface produces interference pattern
colors similar to the colors produced by
oil on water.
Read my short article about the physics of titanium coloring.
Get all the technical stuff at
Titanium is a Refractory Metal: It has a very high melting point.
Titanium art is based on Refraction: Colors produced by the slowing of light waves in a medium, resulting in reflections
and/or bending of wave path. Other Examples: Lenses, prisms, holograms
||1,943 K = 3038°F
||3,562 K = 5952°F
|Tensile Strength (Ult.)
||Greek: titanos (Titans)
||Shiny, dark-gray metal. It can be highly polished, and is relatively
immune to tarnishing.
||Titanium is present in meteorites and in the sun (Titanium oxide bands
are prominent in the spectra of M-type stars). Some lunar rocks contain
high concentrations of the dioxide, TiO2..
Fortunately, it is also the 9th most abundant element in the
earth's crust (5700 ppm), and 4th most common metal (after
Aluminum, Iron, and Magnesium).
||It was discovered in 1791 in its oxide form by an Englishman, William
Gregor, and later rediscovered as one component of the oxide rutile and
dubbed "Titanium" by the German, Heinrich Klaproth. Not
commercially refined until the 1920's. Barely used until the cold war
and the space race created a demand for it.
||Usually occurs in the minerals ilmenite (FeTiO3) or
(TiO2). Also in Titaniferous magnetite, titanite (CaTiSiO5
= CaTiOSiO4), and iron ores.
||The elemental metal was not made until 1910 by Matthew A. Hunter. Pure
metal is currently produced by heating TiO2 with Carbon and
Chlorine gas to produce TiCl4 which is then heated with Mg gas
in an Ar atmosphere in an explosive reaction at 800°C (1472°F).
||Used in many alloys for corrosion resistance, strength, and temperature
tolerance. Favored material for prosthetic implants because of its extreme
Titanium dioxide (TiO2), a white pigment in paint, rubber,
paper and many other places.
||The artistic possibilities of controlled colors from light wave
interference/cancellation in the clear refraction layer on titanium began
in the late 1970's in England. Colors are produced by heating the metal in
the air, or by electrically anodizing it in an electrolyte to bond oxygen
to the surface of the metal.
||Click here for a list of some of the common grades of titanium