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Stripping titanium from stainless steel

May 29, 2010

Is there a method for stripping a thin layer of titanium from stainless steel? We are using two base metals:304 (not hardened) or 440C hardened to 60-62 Rc. The stainless steel has been lapped to a very fine micro finish which we would like to maintain.
Thank you,

Ken Rosenblum
Plater - St. Paul, Minnesota


If I were a betting man, I would say not very probable. If my boss said try it anyway, I would find some scrap parts and try a 20 parts nitric acid to 1 part HF acid. Possibly 2 parts HF if you are using 50% HF.
This tank will probably get dumped more than you would like, but as metals build up, it will take longer in the tank and the pitting will go up.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

I don't believe that there is a chemical method that will strip away the titanium without also etching the SS. The usual nitric/HF mix will strip the titanium much faster than it will attack the stainless so, if you are careful about your immersion times, you may be able to get the job done and only have a little bit of polishing time afterwards. I'd suggest that you start with a solution that is about 35% nitric (by volume) and 2% HF (by volume), then establish your removal rates with test pieces of titanium before you try it on a processed part. Careful, this stuff is highly hazardous. Good luck.

Jon Barrows
Jon Barrows, MSF, EHSSC
GOAD Company
supporting advertiser
Independence, Missouri

June 10, 2010

If the surface you are trying to strip is flat, lap it again, otherwise you can try sand blasting (protect the lapped surface).

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico

simultaneous replies

Thin layers of titanium can be readily removed using dilute HF. Nitric acid is not required. Thus you can avoid attacking SS.

H.R. Prabhakara - Consultant
Bangalore Plasmatek - Bangalore Karnataka India

Try 5% potassium hydroxide + 5% of 35% grade hydrogen peroxide. This will slowly dissolve titanium and I think not attack stainless.

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
Spartanburg, South Carolina

August 4, 2010

Alternatively to Mr. Holmes' suggestion, Sulfuric and/or Nitric acid will work excellently. Titanium forms a reddish-orange coordination complex in acid-peroxide systems.

Robert H Kinner
- Toledo, Ohio

August 4, 2010

H.R. Prabhakara is correct. Titanium has a much higher oxidation potential than the chromium in stainless steel, thus forming a galvanic couple, in which Ti is the sacrificial anode.

Robert H Kinner
- Toledo, Ohio

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