Titanium is one of the strongest metals available and is typically seen as a grayish color. However, when used for art or jewelry, it is quite possible that you will find colored titanium. A question often asked is how to color titanium? It is done through a process known as anodizing. Electricity is utilized to produce a thin layer of a metal oxide along the surface of titanium. In other metals anodizing is used to prevent corrosion but the process of anodizing titanium actually changes the color of the metal. When the determined voltage is applied, color appears. The colors are known as “interference colors” and work along the lines of the principle guiding colors in a soap bubble. Dyes, pigments, and coatings are not utilized, just refracted light. The most common colors seen through the process of anodized titanium include blues, fuchsia, deep purple, and gold.Creating the Color
To start the process, whereby oxidization and an electric current create color on titanium, an electrically conductive solution is required. It can either be an acidic solution or an alkaline solution. The piece of titanium needs to be placed in a container with the electrically conductive solution. Then the batteries with a battery clip and wires need to be attached. Standard nine-volt batteries can be utilized in this process. The anode side from the selected power supply must be connected to the titanium piece. The other side, the cathode side, must be connected to the applicator. The applicator needs to be wet with the type of solution chosen for this task.How to Determine a Color
Next is to safely start applying electricity to the piece of titanium. The voltage utilized will produce a layer of oxidization, causing colors to appear. The voltage dictates the colors. A single nine-volt battery will provide a yellow hue, two batters will produce light blue shades, and three batters will create much deeper shades of blue. If you decide to etch the piece of titanium prior to going through the process of anodization, the color achieved on the titanium will be much deeper. Etching titanium can be done using either hydrofluoric acid mixed with ammonium biflouride or utilizing nitrate acid.Safety First!
Because coloring titanium requires the use of electricity and possibly acids, it is extremely important that even before starting this procedure, all the right safety gear is available and ready for use. To avoid shock from the electrical current when coloring titanium, it is vital to wear heavy-duty rubber gloves. Any home hardware store will have the ones professional electricians use when on the job. Gloves, a facial mask, and goggles are also required when using the different acid solutions to achieve anodization of titanium. Without the proper safety gear, it is possible to get severely injured during this process.
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