Titanium Tubing 101
Considering titanium tubing for your next project? Titanium is a unique metal with many favorable properties including its strength, durability, rust and corrosion resistance and its lightweight. It can withstand extreme temperatures as well as other harsh environments such as those involving salt water and chemicals. Titanium tubes can last many decades without much (or any) upkeep and maintenance.
There are 31 types, or grades, of titanium that can be used for different projects. The most popular grade of titanium used for most everyday business projects is Grade 5. The right grade of titanium for you will be determined by your project.
A quality titanium supplier will be familiar with each grade of titanium and will be able to recommend the right grade for your project. They will also have a variety of parts in each grade.
More and more industries are looking to titanium to use in their projects. If you’re thinking of using titanium tubing for your company’s project, here are some things you should know:
You may have looked around comparing prices of different metals and alloys. You want something that will last suit your company’s unique tubing needs. The biggest deterrent companies have towards using titanium is the steep up-front cost.
Titanium is generally more expensive than other popular tubing metals such as steel and aluminum. However, titanium suppliers will tell their customers and would-be customers that the high, initial cost of titanium tubing and products is worth it and pays off in the long run. Titanium tubing can last many decades without much attention, care and repair.
Other metals, on the other, hand may be cheaper but only because they aren’t as strong and durable as titanium. Steel and aluminum tubing don’t last as long and they require more upkeep to keep them in proper working condition. Because of their increased vulnerability and weakening in harsh and extreme conditions, regular repairs are often required.
While titanium costs more up-front, it is a long-term investment that quickly pays off and makes up for the extra up-front costs.
Even if you’ve never worked with titanium or ordered it before, chances are you’ve seen it and have a preconceived idea of what it should look like.
Titanium tubing and parts that are properly manufactured will have a uniform, shiny, metallic look to it. This uniformed look indicates the part was properly welded and that none of the tubing’s integrity, structure, strength, and durability has been compromised.
You should be worried when you get your titanium tubing back from the manufacturer with faint blue, green, purple, gray or white areas in them.
This indicates that the welding of the titanium tubing was poorly done and that atmospheric contamination occurred.
Titanium is reactive with oxygen. The metal, however, has its own air “shield” that preserves the strength, durability and integrity of the tubing. This air “shield” is what gives titanium its corrosion and rust resistance.
During the titanium welding process, this barrier can be broken down through dirt, dust and other forms of air and workplace contamination. When this barrier has been compromised, the integrity of the titanium is weakened, yielding the white, gray, blue, purple and green coloring.
Some customers, particularly artists and those who make jewelry, want such colorful pieces of titanium. For most other industries that use titanium parts, any kind of discoloration detected will be immediately thrown out and replaced.
Most consumers of titanium products are in the military, chemical and manufacturing industries. A simple titanium pipe failure can potentially damage their business.
If you’re looking for titanium tubing, be sure to inspect the past work of the manufacturer you’re thinking of doing business with. Ask to see samples of past work and inquire about their manufacturing procedures. Every titanium part’s processing and manufacturer must abide by AWS D1.9, Structural Welding Code as well as the manufacturing company’s additional code of ethics and product manufacturing standards.
It is crucial to know what to look for in a properly manufactured piece of titanium tubing as well as being aware and willing to trade the extra up-front cost in exchange for many years of reliability.