Titanium is a metal favored for its innate hardness and durability. This makes it a preferred metal in certain industries. However, in order to obtain the most from a component or item, it is important to finish it off properly. As is the case with other elements and not just titanium finishing is a necessary step in improving the overall qualities of the metal component.
Qualities of Titanium
Several industries work with titanium and incorporate it into their products for several reasons:
1. Its hardness or durability: Titanium is extremely hard. It is a 6 on the Mohs hardness scale. This makes it harder than many elements including steel (but not hardened steel), nickel and platinum.
2. Strength to weight ratio: It possesses the highest of all known metals
3. Light: Titanium is very light making
4. Corrosion resistant
5. High melting point
6. Low electrical and thermal conductivity
It is up to a finishing company to employ a process that will retain or improve and not destroy or negate these qualities.
Basic Finishing Treatments
Companies depend upon the finishing process to improve the hardness of titanium. They may also require it to color its surface. All this must be accomplished without affecting any of the metal’s chemical qualities or mechanical properties. A finishing company has several potential treatments at its disposal. Two noted processes are:
* Anodizing: This method is best suited for those who do not want to change the qualities of the metal but require a change in color. It allows for color-coding in size to be available for use in medical and dental applications.
* Passivation: This consists of a specific chemical process. It helps to restore the titanium component to exact specifications in such areas as corrosion prevention. In the process, the technique removes both free iron and any other surface foreign material.
Either of these titanium finishing treatments helps to prepare the component for specific applications.
Titanium finds its presence desirable in a number of industrial and medical applications. In the fields of medicine and dentistry, the finishing process results in easier identification of specific instruments and other medical devices. This is imperative when time is of the essence. Titanium, once properly treated/finished, is employed in orthopedic implants, dental implants, bone plates, screws and surgical tools.
Although known for its contributions in the medical field, titanium is also a found in racecar components and ultracentrifuges. Aircraft frames and submarine ball valves also rely on the qualities of titanium to function optimally.
Titanium is a favorite metal for engineers. Its, strength, durability, corrosion resistance and tensile strength make it the optimal metal for many projects. However, before the part truly becomes whole and functions at its optimum, it needs to be treated. Titanium finishing is a means to ensure the qualities of the metal do not diminish but are enhanced.
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