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Conductivity of titanium vs. steel


I would like to know, between two metals, which is more conductive, steel, or titanium?

Dennis Cook
- Loudonville, Ohio


Hi, Dennis. Electrical conductivity? Too close to call! One chart I looked at showed titanium about 8 percent more conductive, but both of these materials are typically alloys, where small changes in the formulas could probably shift it the other way.

If you post a follow-up,please start with what you are doing and why you want to know.

Thanks in advance.

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

January 17, 2010

Hi, I may have some light to shed on this matter. I work with titanium and steel, I make knives at home in my spare time and work in a titanium foundry for a living. I generally deal in O1 steel due to the fact that I am not set up to pound out a hot blade so I use a form and cut method. Steel reaches a certain point (Via heat index) were it is no longer magnetic. This is something you need to do to it during your de-tempering process and when you then turn around and re-instate the temper back into the blade. The heat range for steel to be nonmagnetic is somewhere in the neighborhood of 550 degrees F.

Most commercial grade and jewelry grade titanium has been processed to a point that it maintains a nonmagnetic status even at room temp. This is one of the reasons it makes such a good commercial grade metal for internal combustion parts ext., but also the reason it makes such crappy knives. You see it lacks very much carbon, if it has any at all in it it is but a fraction of what steel has and it is the carbon in your metals that make them rigid enough to hold a good clean edge for a good long time, it is also the element that causes metal to be magnetic.

Titanium is also not very conductive of heat or electricity. It will conduct either but not as well as copper, aluminium and good old steel. Another thing that makes it so good at what we use it for. All in all titanium is cold, rigid, and sub conductive (Kinda like my ex wife) and for hunting and fishing application I think steel is a much better metal. Thanks for your time

Brandon Nelson
- Madras Oregon

January , 2010

Thanks, Brandon. I can't really agree with all of your explanation, but the basic conclusions sound valid. Sorry to hear that your ex-wife was sub-conductive and you didn't feel any electricity there :-)


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

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