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Experiments with titanium coatings

I was looking for a kit or any idea on plating with Titanium. I was always under the impression you could use a gas to and a electric current to transfer it to the material you want to put it on. I was wondering what type of gas is used and what type of voltage I am looking at for the experiment.

Daniel [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Madison Hits, Michigan, USA

Forget the impression you were always under, Daniel :-)
Unfortunately you can't electroplate titanium onto anything. Sorry!

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Is that the best you can do? You have no idea?

Daniel [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Madison Hits, Michigan, US

First of three simultaneous responses --

This isn't about my lack of ideas, Daniel. It's about plating with titanium :-)
Sorry, but it's not doable from an aqueous electroplating bath at all, let alone a kit, because titanium is too active a metal -- such that any electricity you apply will go towards liberating hydrogen from water rather than plating titanium out of the solution. Maybe you can pick a different material to plate with? Sorry.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Second of three simultaneous responses --

Daniel, go back and read your question and then Ted's answer. He answered your question in its required depth. I will repeat it in other words, Titanium is so reactive with oxygen that it is virtually impossible to plate out and then it would only be in superior facilities with very very nasty chemicals. Further, it would only be an extremely thin coat. Still further, it probably would be extremely uneven. Therefore, it is essentially impossible to electroplate.

OK, so we ignore your "PLATE" word and talk about physical vapor deposition, which is your heat and gas question. The missing element is a very high vacuum, look at 10 to the -6 Torr range, possibly a little less or more. Even with this you deposit a titanium oxide, not pure titanium, which is what you asked for. CONCLUSION: The question that you asked, was answered very correctly. Forget it for a science class.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

Third of three simultaneous responses -- 2002

Daniel, you would be wise to listen to Mr. Mooney. He has a lot of experience in this industry, and knows when something makes sense, and when it doesn't.

Electroplating of titanium onto parts doesn't work. There are no aqueous chemical baths that work- the chemistry is wrong. The use of a gas and electrical current is done with Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) processing, and is used to put titanium nitride onto cemented carbide cutting tools. The gas used is titanium tetrachloride, something I wouldn't mess with even in my fume hood. The temperatures used are upwards of 2000F, not commonly found around the house and garden.

There is also vapor deposition, wherein you'd boil the titanium, creating a vapor of Ti and using a bias voltage to get the titanium to preferentially stick to your part, rather than everywhere. Check out IVD plating of aluminum, a commercial process. Titanium could be done this way, but the expense for the equipment is usually prohibitive for someone not in the business.

See, we're under the impression that you're a student, and have access to usual student or even university laboratory equipment. CVD or Ion Vapor processing is beyond the normally available equipment- and if your professor had such facilities available, (s)he'd be the one to ask, not us.

So, Ted was right, albeit brusque- your impression of using a gas and electrical current to plate with titanium is a notion you should discard.

Good luck in your studies!

lee gearhart
Lee Gearhart
metallurgist - E. Aurora, New York

You're right, Lee, my initial reply was inappropriately brusque. I apologize, Daniel. The inquiry was from and after my third beer it didn't seem to warrant much more than 'forget the idea of trying to electroplate titanium' :-)

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Daniel, let me understand what level of education and experience you have and what facilities/equipment you have and I will see if there is any possibility to help you. Is this a high-school project?

Mandar Sunthankar
- Fort Collins, Colorado

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