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Titanium Binding Wire


#1

Hi everyone -

I want to start off by introducing myself. My name is Joe Korth and
I am an art jeweler working in Denver, CO. I have used the Orchid
forums for awhile to research various topics that I have had
questions about, and have found a lot of helpful posts. Working off
of those posts I’ve gained some experience myself, and want to share
that with the members of the forum as a way to continue building a
knowledge base that benefits everyone.

I teach at a jewelry school here in Denver that, I am proud to say, I
believe has an extremely good program and offers classes in a very
wide variety of subjects, covering everything from art jewelry and
PMC to advanced stone setting including bead and bright and pave.
Many people do not even know there is a jewelry school in Denver, and
it’s only been in the last few years since my mentor took over the
school that things have started to really progress. Now…on to the
topic.

I recently read most of the posts in the archive concerning using
titanium as binding wire, and wanted to share my experience. I got
some titanium from Reactive Metals in gauges 20, 24, and 30, and have
started using the 24 gauge. So far, it works like a dream. Many of
the pieces I have been working on as of late involve soldering long
sections of material together, and I need to use binding wire to hold
things together while also using quite a bit of solder. Needless to
say, the iron binding wire inevitably gets soldered to the materials
and has to be filed off (no fun). The titanium wire will not solder
to anything, and so has been great for this application. Additionally
it can be put in the pickle. I have not found it to create any
problems as far as being a heat sink. It is, of course, very strong,
but also more brittle that the iron. After being heated it becomes
even more brittle and is pretty much useless after one use. Overall I
couldn’t be more happy with it and would recommend it highly.

Thanks for all the answers you have provided in the past, hopefully I
can begin to provide some answers myself.

Sincerely,
Joe Korth


#2

I noted Mr Korth’s post extolling the virtues of titanium as a
binding wire substitute for the more conventional iron product.

I feel that Mr Korth should also have identified the safety issues
associated with this material.

Titanium auto ignites at 1635c or 2200 f, a temperature that can be
readily reached with simple air/propane torchs without considering
the higher point temperatures reached by air or oxy/acetylene
systems.

When it ignites it can only be extinguished by a limited form of
methods, application of dry table salt or a type D fire extinguisher
as examples.

Application of water can result in an explosion as the burning
titanium takes up the oxygen to continue the reaction and liberates
the hydrogen which explosively ignites and fuels an even more
energetic reaction.

I am sure that there are other “orchadists” such as myself who have
inadvertently ignited a titanium solder pick and then desperately
attempted to extinguish it.

While the material has significant benefits in a number of
situations, it behoves recommenders to also identify potential
hazards and safe use methods.

Kind regards
Don Iorns


#3

Joe

Thanks for the post, and the info on the binding wire.

Also, glad to hear there is a school in Denver, other than community
college items, I didn’t think we had any.

Terry


#4

Joe,

I teach at a jewelry school here in Denver that, I am proud to
say, I believe has an extremely good program and offers classes in
a very wide variety of subjects, covering everything from art
jewelry and PMC to advanced stone setting including bead and bright
and pave. Many people do not even know there is a jewelry school in
Denver, and it's only been in the last few years since my mentor
took over the school that things have started to really progress.
Now...on to the topic. 

What is the name of the school here in Denver?

Richard Hart


#5
I am sure that there are other "orchadists" such as myself who
have inadvertently ignited a titanium solder pick and then
desperately attempted to extinguish it. 

Thank you for this Don.

On 2 occasions my solder pick popped like a firework close to my
face causing me minor heart attacks each time and left me thinking
the pick was faulty.

I didn’t try to work out what had happened - too busy at the time
and then I forgot about it. I often use fine pointed stainless steel
tweezers as picks for the very fine repairs anyway. Just glad now
that my picks did not ignite.

Thanks again, Ruth, UK.


#6

Don

I was very skeptical of you post, thought maybe you had gotten some
magnesium by mistake.

http://tinyurl.com/ytoc2c

I apologize and thank you for your post. Thankfully, I use tungsten
as a solder pick.

Terry


#7

I was really surprised to read Don Iorns report that titanium
ignites when used with air/propane or oxy/acetylene torches. What
about air/acetylene torches such as the Smith silversmith, or the
Prestolite? I have been using titanium wire set in dowlings as solder
picks for years with those torches and have had no problems,. Often
the tip gets red hot. Am I courting disaster? First time I ever
heard there was a problem with titanium.

Alma


#8

Firstly I should note that I am not a metallurgy expert and I would
be more inclined to listen to the opinions of experts such as Mr
Binnion, rather than myself.

Secondly, on re-reading my response to Mr Korth’s original post I
was somewhat embarrassed by my sanctimonious tone and would wish to
apologise if I have inadvertently given offence.

To return to the point, titanium has some unusual characteristics as
a metal, amongst which is that the metal will ignite in a normal
oxygen atmosphere before reaching its melting point.

It also has a comparatively low rate of thermal conductivity, some
14 times less than that of gold or around 20 times less than that of
silver.

While there is not a “one for one” correspondence, because thermal
conduction is material dependant and profoundly complicated, for all
practical purposes another way of looking at it is that allowing a
torch flame to dwell on a single point, titanium will heat up at the
dwell location some 20 times faster than its silver compatriot due to
the much slower rate of thermal dissipation through the balance of
the object.

I am sure all of us are familiar with iron binding wire heating to
white heat and melting through while the object we are attempting to
solder is still 100’s of degrees below soldering temperature, a
similar effect to that described above.

All of these attributes then lead to the outcome that it is
surprisingly easy to inadvertently ignite the material and the real
issue of what happens when titanium does ignite. From first hand
personal experience I can assure you that it is a situation to be
avoided if at all possible.

The material burns very aggressively and with a significant amount
of heat, controlling the fire is decidedly counter intuitive.

In my circumstance I stabbed the burning pick,( more accurately a
spatula about 120mm long, 5 - 10mm wide and 1mm thick), into the
charcoal solder block, it did’t go out!

I dipped it into a jar of water on the bench, it did’nt go out!

By now the pick was too hot to hold and I dropped it, unfortunately
straight onto the torch hose where it promptly began to burn through
it.

It was like something out of a Marx brothers movie and would have
been hysterically funny if the possible outcomes had not been so
serious.

I managed to manoeuvre it into the pickle pot where it finally burnt
out.

On investigating the matter I found that this was probably amongst
the least desirable of the remedies I could have employed. There are
recorded instances of titanium sheet spontaneously igniting following
withdrawal from a stripping bath at temperatures as low as 330 and
there were a number of refinery fatalities from titanium fires and
the subsequent explosions following attempts to extinguish the fires
with water.

Most materials handling recommendations suggest that in the event of
ignition isolate the material and allow it to burn out, this is not
always a practical option in the limited space workbench environment.

I have subsequently switched to using tungsten.


#9
I was really surprised to read Don Iorns report that titanium
ignites when used with air/propane or oxy/acetylene torches. What
about air/acetylene torches such as the Smith silversmith, or the
Prestolite? I have been using titanium wire set in dowlings as
solder picks for years with those torches and have had no
problems,. Often the tip gets red hot. Am I courting disaster? First
time I ever heard there was a problem with titanium. 

Titanium will burn, we covered lots of on this when Alan
Mason brought up using Ti for a soldering screen, search the archives
for references.

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#10

Hi Orchid list -

Many thanks to Mr. Iorns and everyone else who has addressed the
safety issues around using titanium as a binding wire. I have used
the 24ga for a few soldering operations and have not had any
problems so far, but, needless to say, i will be very careful when
using it in the future.

Perhaps there are other metals that could be used as binding wire
that have the same positive characteristics (will not solder, ok in
pickle, strong, high melting point) but not the same problems with
ignition. I bought my titanium from reactive, I know they also sell
niobium (unanodized) wire, any opinions about using this? Also,
perhaps if there was a source for tungsten wire that would be a
possibility, anyone know of a source for this? I’d appreciate all of
your input, as I really would like to find a binding wire that will
not get soldered to the piece, yet is safe as well. Thanks so much
for all your help.

Joe Korth


#11
I should note that I am not a metallurgy expert and I would be more
inclined to listen to the opinions of experts such as Mr Binnion,
rather than myself. and the real issue of what happens when
titanium does ignite. From first hand personal experience I can
assure you that it is a situation to be avoided if at all possible. 

You don’t have to be an expert, just have a titanium fire! I read the
first post about this, and didn’t think much of it, because I rarely
use binding wire. But what you say is true, and a real hazard. It’s
like a magnesium fire - white hot, aggressive, and unmanageable.
Dunking in dry sand is the usual method for magnesium - it burns in
water once ignited.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#12

Joe,

Thanks to you and Mr. Iorns, this has been a very instructive
thread. While this one has been going on there was another on using
the same grinding wheel for aluminum and steel, they, when mixed in
powdered form will produce thermite. The process of sharpening my
rock pencils, and my lawn mower blades, I will have to clean that
grinder before its next use.

Look here
http://www.cise.columbia.edu/clean/msds/niobium.pdf

and here
http://www.rembar.com/MSDSni.htm

they seem to cover it pretty well for niobium. I don’t know how it
will solder though.

Looked at tungsten, (which is what I use as a solder pick, not due
to super knowledge, just plain old fashioned dumb luck) and Rhenium
while I was there, very stable, gold would be cheaper for the places
I found it. :slight_smile: Still might try the titanium though, awareness goes a
long way toward safety.

Terry