The use of titanium has continued to gain more traction in various industries around the world, all thanks to its excellent corrosion resistance and relatively high strength-to-density ratio. Having been embraced by aerospace industries for the development of aircraft, titanium can still be susceptible to corrosion under certain conditions.
Fortunately, titanium anodizing has become a widely-used solution to checkmate this. Titanium anodize is a popular corrosion protection solution for aerospace components. It is a process that involves the application of an anodizing layer to the surface of titanium, which helps to protect it from corrosion.
In this article, we’ll take a comprehensive look at titanium anodizing, its types, its various benefits, and how it helps with corrosion. We’ll also discuss the process of anodizing titanium and some important considerations when choosing anodizing for your aerospace components.
To explore the vast potential of titanium anodizing and further delve into its applications, contact us today!
What Is Titanium Anodize?
Titanium anodizing is the process of coating titanium components with an oxide layer to improve their corrosion resistance and provide an aesthetically pleasing finish. Anodizing provides titanium with all the benefits of hardening and coloring without affecting the metal’s mechanical properties.(1)
The process involves immersing the titanium parts in an electrolyte solution (such as sulfuric acid) and then applying a current. This causes the metal to become anodic (oxidized), creating a protective layer of titanium oxide on the surface. This layer is highly durable, provides excellent protection against corrosion, and provides a wide range of colors to choose from.
Titanium anodizing is often used in the aerospace industry to protect components from the harsh environment of space. It is also commonly employed in the medical device industry since anodized titanium parts are nontoxic and ideal for biomedical applications such as orthopedic implants.(2)
Types Of Titanium Anodizing
Titanium anodizing types are divided into three main categories, each providing different protection levels and finishes. Let’s take a look.
Type 1 Anodized Titanium
While Type 1 anodized titanium is not as common as other forms of anodized titanium, it does have some specialized uses.
One of the main benefits of Type 1 anodizing is that it can improve the metal’s resistance to high temperatures. The thin oxide layer created during the anodizing process acts as a barrier, protecting the underlying metal from corrosion and oxidation, even at high temperatures.
Type 2 Anodized Titanium
The process of Type 2 anodizing toughens the surface of titanium, leading to increased resistance against corrosion and abrasion. Due to these superior properties, it is extensively employed in the production of aerospace parts. The resulting surface has a matte gray appearance and is more resistant to abrasion than the metal in its natural oxidized state.(3)
Orthopedic implants made from titanium are highly desirable, but untreated titanium parts can generate titanium dust when they rub against each other, which is not ideal for medical implants.
To address this issue, it is necessary to protect the surface finish of the titanium parts and enhance their resistance to wear and tear. Type 2 titanium anodizing creates a robust and wear-resistant oxide layer that reduces friction and improves mobility, making it an excellent solution for orthopedic implants.
Type 3 Titanium Anodizing
Titanium color anodizing is another term used to refer to Type 3 titanium anodizing. In general, titanium color anodizing is a widely used process for color coding and identification. It is used in the medical world to improve the identification of the parts, making it easier to distinguish between components.
While Type 3 titanium color anodizing is not as commonly used in the aerospace industry, it can be helpful in identifying components in complex assemblies. In addition to its industrial applications, colored titanium finishes achieved through Type 3 anodizing are also used in jewelry manufacturing.
The Main Differences Between Type 2 And Type 3 Titanium Anodizing
The main difference between Type 2 and Type 3 titanium anodizing is the thickness and hardness of the oxide layer formed on the titanium’s surface.
Type 2 anodizing results in a thin, porous oxide layer that can be dyed in various colors and provides moderate corrosion resistance.
On the other hand, Type 3 anodizing creates a much thicker, more dense, and wear-resistant oxide layer, which is typically used for applications requiring a higher degree of durability and protection against wear and tear. Type 3 anodizing is also less porous, making it less suitable for coloring or dyeing.
The Benefits Of Anodized Titanium
Let’s take a look at the benefits of anodizing titanium.
Anodized titanium offers an improved look compared to raw titanium. The anodizing process creates an oxide layer on the titanium’s surface, giving it a glossy, colorful finish.
This not only enhances its visual appeal but also provides opportunities for color coding, identification, or aesthetic customization.
The anodized layer is stable and does not fade or peel easily, ensuring long-lasting color durability.
Titanium color anodizing is a widely used process for identification. With the use of color-coded anodized titanium, distinguishing components become effortless, even from a distance.
This is particularly beneficial in identifying components and parts, making it a popular choice for aerospace applications in the identification of parts for ease, speed, and accuracy of assembling.
In addition to improved looks and identification benefits, anodized titanium also offers a sanitary finish. The anodizing process creates a smooth and non-porous surface on the titanium, which makes it resistant to bacterial growth and easy to clean.
This makes anodized titanium ideal for applications in the aerospace industry, where hygiene and cleanliness are crucial. The sanitary finish of anodized titanium contributes to the overall safety and reliability of aerospace components.
Anodized titanium is created using a natural, dye-free method that employs electricity and oxygen to develop the oxide layer on the metal part. This, however, means that anodized titanium is considerably more environmentally friendly than other anodized metals.
Anodizing titanium also helps reduce the time and money spent on maintenance and repairs, as it is a much more durable coating than other methods. This helps to reduce the amount of resources used in the production process and helps to keep costs down.
It offers benefits such as lightweight, corrosion resistance, durability, biocompatibility, vibrant colors, and easy identification. From aircraft components to dental implants and fashion accessories to sports gear, anodized titanium serves diverse purposes in different sectors, showcasing its wide-ranging applications.
How Does Titanium Anodizing Help With Corrosion?
Anodizing titanium helps to increase its corrosion resistance by altering the surface of the metal, creating a more uniform and porous surface. This surface allows for a better bond between the metal and any protective coatings, such as paints or sealants, that are applied. This improved bond prevents moisture, dirt, and other contaminants from penetrating the metal and causing corrosion.
The anodizing process also helps to increase the durability of titanium by creating a thicker oxide layer. This layer helps to protect the metal from scratches, dents, and other physical damage. The oxide layer also helps to reduce the amount of maintenance required to keep titanium components looking their best.
What Is The Process Of Anodizing Titanium?
The process of anodizing titanium involves adjusting the amount of the naturally existing oxide layer on the surface of the titanium. The process’s objective is to increase the mass of the oxide layer. Here is a quick three-step process of anodizing titanium.
Cleaning The Titanium
The first step in the anodizing process is thoroughly cleaning the titanium surface. This involves removing any dirt, grease, or contaminants that could interfere with the adhesion and quality of the anodic layer. Cleaning is typically done using a combination of degreasers, detergents, and mechanical methods such as scrubbing or sandblasting.
The process of anodizing titanium involves immersing the titanium component in a bath of an electrolyte solution, usually sulfuric acid. An electrical current is then applied to the titanium component, causing a reaction between the titanium and the electrolyte solution.
The voltage initiates an electrochemical reaction, where oxygen ions from the electrolyte combine with the titanium atoms on the surface. As a result, a layer of titanium oxide forms on the surface of the titanium. This oxide layer is what gives titanium its corrosion resistance and improved appearance.
Once the anodizing process is complete, the titanium component may undergo additional finishing steps to achieve the desired appearance and surface texture. These steps may include polishing or brushing. It may also be subjected to a sealing treatment to enhance further the durability and corrosion resistance of the anodic layer.
Want to learn more about this process? Contact us today for detailed information and to speak with our experts!
Anodized Titanium Considerations
When considering anodized titanium, there are several important factors to take into account. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:
Anodized titanium offers a wide range of color possibilities, allowing for customization and aesthetic appeal. By controlling the process parameters, different colors can be achieved, ranging from vibrant hues to subtle tones.
Thickness And Dimensional Considerations
The anodizing process adds a layer of oxide to the titanium surface, which increases its thickness. This additional layer must be taken into account when considering dimensional tolerances, especially for tight-fitting parts or applications with strict size requirements.
The surface finish of titanium prior to anodizing can influence the final appearance and quality of the anodized layer. A polished or smooth surface will result in a more uniform and reflective finish, while a rough or textured surface may produce a more diffused or matte appearance.
There are different types of anodizing processes available, such as Types 1, 2 and 3. Consider the intended application and the required level of durability to determine the most suitable type of anodizing.
Pre- And Post-Treatment
Proper surface preparation and post-treatment can significantly impact the quality and longevity of the anodized titanium.
Take Advantage Of Titanium Anodize Today To Ensure Your Aerospace Components Are Protected Against Corrosion
When dealing with aerospace components, protection against corrosion becomes more of a necessity than a mere luxury. And one of the best ways you can achieve this feat is by harnessing the power of titanium anodization. With its enhanced corrosion resistance, it acts as an impenetrable shield, safeguarding your crucial parts from the relentless assault of environmental factors.
There’s more! Beyond titanium anodization protection prowess, Its ability to provide captivating colors makes it a process to embrace without a second thought. Through the magic of anodization, your aircraft can take on a personality of its own, reflecting a distinctive style and flair.
With Valence, you can seize the opportunity to harness the full potential of titanium anodization today. Elevate your aerospace game, ensure the longevity of your components, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ve taken the necessary steps to protect your aircraft against the elements.
The utilization of titanium anodize for corrosion control in aerospace brings forth a multitude of remarkable benefits. By harnessing the unique properties of titanium and the anodizing process, the aerospace industry can safeguard its critical components and structures against the relentless forces of corrosion. Through the formation of a protective oxide layer, titanium anodizes not only enhances the material’s resistance to environmental factors but also promotes improved durability, extended lifespan, and reduced maintenance costs.
As we embark on an era of advanced aerospace technology, where efficiency, safety, and longevity are paramount, the significance of titanium cannot be overstated! Get on board now with Valence and experience the remarkable benefits of titanium anodizing.
No longer will you have to worry about the inevitable battle scars of aviation; your components will proudly retain their pristine condition, ready to take on the challenges of high-altitude adventures.
Check out these blogs for more interesting news and insights:
- Anodizing Types: A Comprehensive Comparison Of Type II Vs Type III Anodizing
- Anodizing Aluminum For Aerospace Applications: A Comprehensive Guide
- Anodized Finishes: Types, Uses, And Benefits
- Anodized Titanium | #1 Professional Guide to the anodizing process. (2019, August 11). https://wisconsinmetaltech.com/anodized-titanium/.
- What is Titanium Anodizing? | How to Color Anodize Titanium. (2023). Best Technology. https://www.besttechnologyinc.com/surface-finishing/titanium-anodizing-equipment/#:~:text=Titanium%20anodizing%20is%20an%20electrolytic.
- Everything You Need To Know About Titanium Anodizing. (2023). Www.xometry.com. https://www.xometry.com/resources/machining/titanium-anodizing/.
- The blackening of titanium – researchgate. (n.d.-f). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/248283358_The_blackening_of_titanium.
Does colored anodized titanium wear off?
No, the color of anodized titanium will not wear off. It is not a coating or paint and does not employ pigment or dye that can peel or fade over time.
How strong is anodized titanium?
Anodized titanium possesses impressive strength and durability. Titanium itself is renowned for its high strength-to-weight ratio, and the anodization process further enhances its physical properties.
The anodization creates a thick and robust oxide layer on the surface of the titanium, significantly increasing its resistance to corrosion and wear. This oxide layer acts as a protective barrier, making anodized titanium highly resilient against scratches, impacts, and other external forces.
How long does anodizing titanium take?
The duration of the anodizing process depends on various factors, such as the thickness of the desired oxide layer, the voltage and current used, the type of electrolyte solution, and the size and shape of the titanium part. But generally, the anodizing process can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.
What liquid is used in anodizing titanium?
Typically, an electrolyte solution is used during the anodizing process. For anodizing titanium, the commonly used electrolytes are concentrated sulfuric acid or borax (sodium tetraborate) solution.
Is anodizing titanium the same as aluminum?
Anodizing titanium and aluminum are similar processes, but the electrolyte solution used is different.
Can titanium be turned black?
Yes, when the translucent oxide film produced through anodizing is drained and replaced, the titanium oxide layer becomes thin, resulting in a black surface.(4)