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Plating Titanium or Titanium Plating


Can titanium be plated by electro or electroless means? If so does it have to be "pure" titanium and what would the electrolyte be?

Any help is greatly appreciated.

P.S. you probably have the most informative site and clientele on the web!

Mark Robidoux
- Malvern, Pennsylvania


Thank you for the kind words. We do work hard and appreciate the recognition, but it is indeed our readers, our "clientele", who provide the good answers.

Titanium is too active to plate out of an aqueous plating bath. Oversimplifying, the water will separate into hydrogen and oxygen before the titanium will ionize; however, there is some scientific literature claiming that it should be possible. Titanium can be plated from organic electrolytes, however. Also, titanium can be deposited by sputtering processes.

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

Titanium and its most common alloys are plated out of an aqueous solution. In aerospace plating it is normally struck with nickel first. The difficulty with plating Ti is that it is difficult to activate and it passivates very rapidly. Several plating books have cycles for plating Ti. It is considerably more difficult than you might be led to believe to have a very low reject rate when compared to normal base metals. Har-Con Chrome in CT was one of the first platers to be able to plate Ti well enough to meet the requirements for aircraft engine plating and that was about 1980. The first published information that I saw was by the USAF in Metal Finishing (I think) about 1986.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


Are we all on the same wavelength here? I thought (and still think, I think) that Mr. Robidoux wanted to deposit titanium onto a substrate. Mr. Watts seems to be talking about depositing nickel and other materials onto a titanium substrate.

I've been 30 years in this business and when someone says they are interested in "Plating Titanium" I'm still as confused as I was the first day smiley face

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

Ok, Ted, I did not read it very well. Deposit it with one of the vapor deposition processes.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

A. I think the question was a bit vague. Plating (coating) a surface with something (a surface is plated with a metal) vs. plating a specific metal are colloquially often confused because both are often just written and asked as "can I plate".

Steve Mayer
- Tualatin, Oregon
June 13, 2012

A. Thanks Steve.

When someone says they want to rent an apartment, we ask whether they want to be a lessor or a lessee.

I guess we need to coin words like "plator" and "platee" :-)

So, yes, titanium cannot be a plator from a conventional aqueous plating bath, but it can be a platee after appropriate pretreatment :-)


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
June 13, 2012

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