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topic 12463

Titanium, spectacles and electrolytical coloring


I'm currently producing a Physics project that will be a percentage of my A level exam grades (17 and 18 year exams). I'm investigating Titanium and why it is a good material for manufacturing spectacle frames. I've been researching for a while now and have found many facts. However it has arisen that it is a useful material as it can take many colors easily through electrolytically being colored. Now, I don't know exactly what is involved in this process. Could you please explain. Also if you have any other information about the use of Titanium in spectacle frames it would help a great deal.

Thank you very much,

Victoria Stirland
- Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England


Titanium is light and strong and can be anodized into different colors. But be sure to look up "superelasticity" and "shape memory alloys" for your project because the super-flexible spectacle frames are not made of titanium they are made of a nickel-titanium alloy that offers intriguing physical properties.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey


Dear Victoria,

I would advice you to read my paper "Titanium consumer goods" (in English)-Titanium,1993,3,p.77 (Moskow publn.). High strength, low density, ow Young modulus, non-toxicity as opposed to Ni-containing "allergical" metals, fair coloring after proper treatments, etc. etc....Ti-Zr alloys and Ti-Ni, shape memory alloys are also good choice here. Remember Japanese experience here.

Ted Mooney suggestion is OK also.

Your sincerely,

Andrey Igolkin
TE&MG (Prometey-Techno) - St.Petersburg, Russia


I have been looking at that same question. And here are some of the pieces of information I have garnered. Titanium is colored (anodized) by low voltage 7-15V DC current in an electrolyte bath. The colors are voltage specific, and you can get most colors except true reds and greens. The colors come from a refraction/interference patterns generated by the thickness of the oxide layer. The process requires clean metal and a source of clean electricity. And there seems to be some issue with the durability (wear)of the coating. GOOGLE is a good place to search for information. The following categories might help with that search Knife makers : artists : bicycles.

Good luck,

James Scanlan
- St Helena, California, USA


James, a typo or bad information--7-15 volts. A shade of blue is all you will get. It takes voltages to 240 volts DC to get the range of colors.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


Just to say, nothing scientific, but Titanium used in spec frames is to help people like myself who suffer from metal allergies. Titanium does not cause rashes or severe markings on the nose which all other frames give me. Probably not the sort of info that you are looking for but thought I would supply it anyway!

Diana Sholl


I am also investigating this for my A-level exams, Andrey where would I be able to read your paper?

Peter Cass
- Ipswich, Suffolk, England


We are two students studying smart materials within our Product Design course. We have been set a study concerning the use of memory alloy spectacles. We are interested to find out what you know about the following points:

1) The choice of materials used- why are they used?
2) Methods of manufacture- what are the joining methods?
3) The design issues- what ergonomics, aesthetics or environmental issues are taken into consideration?
4) What other products could we compare the spectacles to?

Many thanks,

Jess and Kayleigh

Jessica Howell
Student - Tonbridge, Kent, England.

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