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Plating on Titanium

Titanium is one the most abundant naturally occurring elements on the planet. Titanium is non-toxic and highly resistance to corrosion without applying any surface finishes. What makes titanium unique is its incredible strength. Titanium is just as strong as any steel alloy, yet it remains nearly half as dense. This unique strength-to-density ratio makes the lightweight Titanium a staple amongst Aerospace manufacturers.

The right surface finish can further amplify the chemical and physical strengths of titanium. For example, certain finishes can increase Titanium’s resistance to corrosion, improve anti-galling capabilities, heat reflection, and many more!

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Benefits of Plating Titanium

Titanium is already highly resistant to corrosion and one of the strongest metals on the planet. However, the material isn’t perfect, and many manufacturers will have their titanium components electroplated to provide them with a plethora of desired physical and chemical qualities. Some of the most notable benefits of plating on titanium are as follows:

  • Increased Corrosion Resistance
  • Improved Strength
  • Abrasion resistance 
  • Improved/Adjusted Electrical Conductivity
  • Increase Solderability
  • Increase Lubricity
  • And many more!
aluminum finishes

Common Titanium finishes include:

Another quality Titanium shares with the refractory metal family is the challenges it presents when trying to plate. Due to the complexity of the titanium-as-a-substrate plating process, the options for surface finishes for titanium are limited:

  • Gold
  • Electroless Nickel
  • Nickel
  • Copper

Frequently Asked Questions

About Titanium Plating

Titanium is one the most abundant naturally occurring elements on the planet. Titanium is non-toxic and highly resistance to corrosion without applying any surface finishes. What makes titanium unique is its incredible strength. Titanium is just as strong as any steel alloy, yet it remains nearly half as dense. This unique strength-to-density ratio makes the lightweight Titanium a staple amongst Aerospace manufacturers.

The right surface finish can further amplify the chemical and physical strengths of titanium. For example, certain finishes can increase Titanium’s resistance to corrosion, improve anti-galling capabilities, heat reflection, and many more!

Challenges with Plating Titanium

It should be noted that Titanium can be difficult to plate on, without the correct pre-process treatments. When titanium is plated without proper cleaning, a thin passive layer can form underneath the surface of the deposited area. The passive layer prevents any chemical bonding on the surface from occurring.

Titanium should be properly blasted and cleaned prior to plating, for a full look at our media blasting and cleaning services available check out our Pre-Processes Page.
Is Titanium a Refractory Metal?
Titanium is strong, has an incredibly high melting point, and is one of the longest lasting metals on the planet. Judging off these qualities alone, Titanium sounds very similar to a group of metals on the periodic table commonly referred to as Refractory Metals.

Refractory metals, like Tungsten and Molybdenum, are naturally occurring metal elements that are incredibly strong and have the highest melting points of any solid material on the periodic table. Many of these refractory metals rarely occur in their natural forms, and often contain traces of titanium within them (Molybdenum is .5% titanium, Tungsten is 1% titanium).

So, it has similar qualities to refractory metals, and is even found within solid forms of some refractory metals themselves, is Titanium a refractory metal? Surprisingly, no. Titanium is not classified as one of the 5 refractory metals, though it is often grouped in with the bunch as it is so physically and chemically similar.
Common Industry Applications for Plated Titanium
The use of titanium in manufacturing has skyrocketed in the last 50 years. Due to advancements in surface finishing as well as technological advancements in the aerospace and biomedical manufacturing industries, Titanium is used in a variety of components. Some of the most common industry applications for Titanium are:
  • Underwater Surveillance Camera Components
  • Aircraft Body Components 
  • Missile Components
  • Jewelry 
  • Ball-Socket Joints for Hip Replacements
  • Crutches and Wheelchairs 
  • And many more!
For more information about plating on Titanium and other metal finishes, including Military Specs, AMS Specs and ASTM Specs, visit AOTCO Military Plating Specs page.
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