Titanium foil - light as feather, hard as nails

Titanium foil is a piece of titanium sheet that has a thickness lower than 0.009 inches. If it’s ticker, it qualifies as a sheet or titanium plate rather than a foil.

Titanium metal can be pressed as thin as 0.001 inches, though there aren’t many applications that need this size. This kind of titanium sheets are produced at secondary fabricators by using either raw materials provided by the customer or using the mills own resources. Some mills will not manufacture foils from outside titanium sources without grade certification and mechanical property testing to ensure that they are outfitted with the proper equipment. Grade is a significant consideration as processing high purity titanium is extremely energy intensive and ductility varies among the many titanium grades.

As you could have guessed by now titanium foil is used in projects that are already making use of sheets made from other metals and wish to take advantage of the properties of the titanium metal, mostly its legendary corrosion resistance and lower weight, since the durability and fracture toughness are much reduced due to the intrinsic forming of the material.

One would think that the most common use for titanium as a thin foil is in shavers, as there is many a company that manufactures razors and use titanium in their marketing efforts. However, the blades of these razors are made from steel with a titanium coating, and not from titanium per se.

titanium windscreen

The windscreen is the application where you most likely can find titanium foil as a non-corporate user. The titanium windscreen is intended to be used by backpackers with the mobile stoves they commonly use in order to assure their daily dinners. Of course, the titanium metal is favored because of its lightness. It can be made thinner for far more strength and heat resistance than aluminum, and for far less weight than stainless steel foils, though it shows certain challenges at packaging as it’s not flexible enough in order to regain its initial shape after folding.

The backpackers also have the chance to use titanium thin sheets in the form of water containers.

titanium shutter Titanium foil has also been used in making of the camera shutters, a most unseen and unknown device hidden inside a camera that allows light to pass for a short period of time, for the purpose of exposing film or an electronic sensor to light to make a photo. The use of titanium in camera shutters was pioneered by Nikon, and its use was also reported in Leica and Olympus photo-cameras.

Titanium as a foil is machinable with the most common house hold items, if you’re the kind that likes to make its own products. You have to keep in mind when sourcing that there are grades that are not formable without heat. Usually, grade 2 is the best for cold forming. It usually can be cut with a good pair of scissors quite easily. Holes can be punched using a standard hole puncher used for paper, though it will require a lot more force. For the most part there is no need for a lot of expensive tools, or much skill to work with it. While a spot welder is really nice for sticking this stuff together, staples are not an uncommon way of joining the parts.

If you’re engaging in making something out of titanium in the form of foil, just remember that titanium foil is about the same thickness as a sheet of paper. When planning your design, try building it out of paper first. You may have a chance of doing right in the first try, but, nevertheless, if you’re engineering skills are not exactly what you thought they were, at least you will cut down your expenses. And anyway, you need a pattern to trace onto the fail, and it will be readily available, when you get it right with the paper.

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