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Polishing titanium cans?

Discussion in 'Bling and Appearance' started by emilmh, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. Just a quick question.
    Can i use normal metal polish for my titanium can? Is there any chance of the titanium colour coming off? (Its a "polished" titanium with the heat treated blue/purple effect, im sure you know what i mean)

  2. The blue/purple colour is an oxide film on the surface of the metal, essentially a very thin layer of titanium "rust". So polishing can most certainly remove it unless there's some sort of clearcoat over the top (I don't know if Ti mufflers have that or not).
  3. Sorry Guys titanium in its natural state is a silvery colour along the lines of a bright mild steel bar cold drawn or a good nickel silver colour even a touch of monel metal about it

    It can be polished to a finish along the lines of stainless steel

    But the colours that you are refering too are the heat bands of temperature from your colour charts ie straw = 200 brown = 250 purple = 300

    So polish it off run it for a couple of weeks and the colours will return

    PS Titanium does not pit corode like stainless but has that natural ability to self heal ie does not dull after polishing and keeps it well

    Just costs a bomb to buy the stinking stuff
  4. Yes temp will affect the thickness of the oxide film and therefore the colour (it's normally clear which is why Ti stays shiny). However Ti can also be coloured chemically (acid) or using electricity (anodising) - so just because it's purple doesn't necessarily mean it's been heated ;).
  5. all very interesting to read.

    Brucey: I was also under the impression that the colours were from heating (I have read about it in car magazines) But i was also under the impression that to get that colour the heating had to be done at extremely high temps (at least higher than the exhaust will ever get) thus i thought that the colour would remain if i did polish it. But according to your theory, are you saying that if i polish the can, the colour will come off, but then return when the bike is used as the heat (from the can) will colour the can again?

    either way i think i might just use water to "clean" the can and "buff" it dry it with a dry cloth. (no metal polish)

    jd: very interesting about the colouring with chemical and electricity, had never heard about it before

    If anyone has actually tried to polish titanium cans please post your experiances.
  6. Emil the temps are not that high 280 degrees for purple

    Refer linky


    Remember that titanium does contain some iron very small though depends what grade it is

    The headers of a bike can get to cherry red or even to white hot try it some time do a big burn out at night against the wall of the garage :LOL: :LOL: :LOL: :LOL: :LOL:
  7. Yeah titanium will oxidise in the presence of acids such as nitric/chromic or with the use of electricity. Either method will control the thickness of the oxide film on the metal surface to create whatever colour you want exactly the same as heating in air. Don't know for certain but I highly suspect that manufacturers would use chemical/electrochemical methods to colour mufflers since they're generally much cheaper and more easily controlled than trying to heat. Especially given that the colour on heating depends not only on temperature but also the amount of oxygen available and time at temp.
  8. Jd yesterday i had the oxy and propane / butane set out for some back yard heat treatment i needed to make some d bits for the lathe using some 16 mm silver steel

    As you know heat to cherry red quench, polish and then temper to straw colour took about 15 minutes all up to complete 5 d bits

    I then grabbed some 3mm steel plate and placed it over my old barby (round type) and placed some firebricks to form a four sided muffle and stuck a piece of 3 inch steel pipe in the centre using the old barby for pre heat with some oxy acet backup not much it took about 6 minutes to run the colurs up in bands mind you it was done inside the garage door as if its to bright (direct sun light ) you cant see them clearly and its yellow / brown before you know whats happening

    Just to make sure i give it a buff on the old stitch mop and polished up a beaut no signs of ever being heated

    Well backyard heat treatment is okay I have yet to set up for electroplating its expensive to buy the kits so am looking for a large transformer to have a go at nickel / anodising :wink: :wink:

    Thanks JD for that info on the electroplating anodising method but i dont have a titanium can to play with

    I will just keep making my stainless steel (316) cans cause i get them out of the scap bin at work and turn up the endcaps from scrap billets it helps when youwork for a pump manufacturer

    :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:
  9. There is a method for nickel plating chemically (no electricity required) - although that does require a fair amount of pretreatment of the steel (acid washing, degreasing, etch activation). Can't remember the exact chemicals/process involved off hand but if you do a search for electroless or autocatalytic nickel plating you might find something ;). Nice work with the backyard furnace too. I sort of remember how oxidation colour can be used as a guide to tempering - always found it easier to just use the computer controlled furnace myself though :LOL:.