Tapping titanium's colorful potential

June 28, 2011
A new method to color titanium developed by Gregory Jerkiewicz, a professor in the Queen's University Department of Chemistry, uses an electrochemical solution to produce colored titanium, improving on an older, time-consuming and expensive method where heat was used to develop a colored layer. Credit: Queen's University

A new, cost-effective process for colouring titanium can be used in manufacturing products from sporting equipment to colour-coded nuclear waste containers.

"The new method uses an electrochemical solution to produce coloured , improving on an older, time-consuming and expensive method where heat was used to develop a coloured layer," says Gregory Jerkiewicz, a professor in the Department of Chemistry.

Dr. Jerkiewicz's new technique can be finely tuned to produce over 80 different shades of basic colours. In addition, the coloured titanium produced using the new method remains crack-free and stable for many years.

Colourful titanium has the potential to be used in the production of everyday objects like spectacle frames, jewelry, golf clubs and high-performance bicycles.

Industries including healthcare, aviation and the military could use the technology to create items like colour-coded , brightly coloured airplane parts, and stealth submarines made from blue titanium.

Explore further: Researchers develop impurity-free process for powder injection molding of titanium components

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not rated yet Jun 28, 2011
"and stealth submarines made from blue titanium."

What is implied here is that you won't need to paint the submarine, because titanium has excellent corrosion resistance.

As cool as that submarine would be, I think it's important to point out that if titanium were cost effective to work with, the Navy would be more than happy to use bland old gray-white titanium to make their submarines and paint it another color if they so wanted to. Very few submarines have titanium hulls - Military submarines included. It's way too expensive.

Aerospace sounds like a place that will benefit most. Surgical tools tend to be steel, and titanium implants...generally are not visible.

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