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Anodising Titanium

Anodising Titanium

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Published by: andycapo123 on Jul 10, 2012
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Coloring Titanium and Related Metals
by
Electrochemical Oxidation
Emily
GaulDepartment of Science and Mathematics, Columbia College,
600
South Michigan Ave, Chicago
11
60605-1996
The idea of coloring metals through "electrocution" in-trigues my visual
arts
students. Anodizing titanium andthe related metallic elements niobium and tantalum is anovel means of illustrating electrochemical principles aswell as demonstratine the o~tical
heno omen on
of thin-layer interference (iridescence). Using a common dc power
BUDD~V
with current-limiting ca~abilities. conductiveaqkobs electrolyte and tita&m-metal, one can obtain awide range of iridescent oxide colors on the surface of themetal by simply varying the applied voltage. For example,titanium metal
is
colored purple at
15
V
and bronze at 50
V.
Similar
effects
can be obtained by substituting niobiumor tantalum for titanium.Anodizing is a useful companion experiment to elec-troplating. Both are electrolytic and require an appliedvoltage, but whereas in electroplating a metal ion in theelectrolyte is reduced onto the surface of the cathode madeof the same or different metal, in anodizing the metalanode forms an oxide first on the exposed surface and thenoxidizes inward.Previous articles in
this
Journal,
have dealt with anodiz-ing aluminum
(1,2).
ulfuric acid electrolyte and
air
pro-vide the oxygen, which reacts
with
the aluminum to formits oxide, alumina
(AI20J.
The electrolytically formed alu-mina gives a porous, spongy surface on the aluminummetal, which, when rinsed of the sulfuric acid, will readilyabsorb organic dye. Besides providing a means to color themetal, anodizing is important in industrial applications inproviding a more corrosion-resistant coating for alumi-num.In titanium anodizing, a much thinner transparent oxidelayer of the metal is formed and colors result, not from theoxide layer absorbing added dyes as with aluminum, butrather from the effect of the thin oxide layer interferingwith wavelengths (corresponding o various colors) of theincident light. In titanium anodizing the voltage
is
variedto obtain a variety of colors useful for the artist. The volt-age range is higher and the applied current lower than inaluminum anodizing
(3,4).
Titanium, niobium, and tanta-lum have been used by metalworkers in the arts for theiriridescent coloring when electrochemically or thermallyanodized.The electrochemical reactions are as follows:
Cathode:
4p
4K
+2H2
(reduction)
Anode:
2~0-to2+4H++4e-
!Ti
+
0,
+
TiO,
(osdatim)Figure
1.
(above)Thin-layer nterference olight waves. Based on an illustration byStuartHamill.
I
Figure
2.
(rigM)A itanium vessel spun from flat sheet at high heat; the finish is the oxides thatformed during the process (see Table
1
for color-temperature relationships. Vase and photo
by
Bill
Seeley, Reactive Metals Studio.
176
Journal ofChemical Education
 
Oxveen. which is eenerated at
the
itanium anode bv theoxldstke breakdown of water, subsequently combinekththe metal
to
form titamurn dioxide
no,
Asshown in Table
1,
he thickness of the oxide formed
is
&rectlyto the applied voltage
(3,4).
Thin-Layer Interference
Colorine titanium electrochemicallv is a vivid wav
to
illustrate-thin-film interference. Irid&cence due
to
thin-laver interference is also exhibited bv o~als,il slicks. soaDbkbbles, ancient buried glass, rainbow bout, Ymood rkgsG,mother of pearl, and pigeon and peacock feathers. Unlikecolorants such
as
dyes and pigments, which operate by se-lective absorption of certain wavelengths of light, in irides-cent coloring selective wavelengths of light are interferedwith by the thin oxide
fh,
nd the color obsenred
will
varywith the angle of viewing
(5).
The colors result fmm interference of reflectedlieht fmmthin transparent oxides, as shown in Figure
1,
w6re partof the light of anv eiven waveleneth of color is reflected bvthe fir; outer &&ace and of the lightthrowh the outer surface and reflects off the inner metalsurfa& If two reflections of a particular color are a half.wavelength out of ~hase ith each other (light wave crestsfrom one dacemeet wave
troughs
mm
;he other), theyinterfere
with
each other. When opposite phases meet, thelight interference is called "destructive" and the color ob-semed
will
be white light minus that color giving
its
com-plementary color.Converselv. if two waves of the same color or waveleneth
are
retlectei'.om the inner and outer surfaces where ihecrest of one maichea the
crest
of the other, the waves
are
in step or "in phase" and they will constructively interfereor reinforce each other and
as
a result the dolor will appear
-
brighter.Thus the red coloring
in
a rainbow tmut or red anodizedtitanium is due
to
the
thin
layer destructive interference of
Table
1.
Titanium Heat Oxidation adAnodizedSpectrum
(4)
Showing the Relation
of
Film Thicknessand Color to Voltage and Temperature of Oxidation
ColorYellowBrassPurpleViolet-bluePurple-blueLight blueGray DUePale aquaGreen bluePale bronzePale greenPurpleGreenRose goldRed purpleBronzeGold purpleRoseDark greenGrayVoltage (dc) Temperature
('C)
37138539841
2
426440454
468
48249651 0523537551565579593607621635
Film Thickness
(w))
0.030.0350.040.0460.0530.060.0630.0660.070.080.950.H0.120.130.140.150.160.170.180.19
flgure
3.
An
anodized niobium sample showing the range of colorswith varying voltage. Photo
by
Bill
Seeley, Reactive Metals Studio.
Table
2.
Comparison of Colors Produced atGivenVoltages on Titantlum, Niobium, and Tantalum
Voltage
(dc)
Titanium Color Nmblum Color Tantalum Color
5
Yellow Yellow
10
Brass Bra%
15
Purple Plum Brass
20
V~olet-blue Vmlet-blue Yellow
25
Purple blue
Sky
blue Purple
30
Ught Mue Blueish
gray
Blue violet
35
Gray Mue Light gray blue Bluesiiver
40
Pale aqua Green gold Sky blue
45
Green blue Orange gold Silver blue
W
Pale bronze Rose Silver
55
Pale green Blue purple Silver
60
Purple Green blue Silver
65
Green Sea green Pale yellow
70
Rose gold Gold green Yellow
75
Red
purple Green Brass Gold
80
Bronze
Dull
gold Copper
85
Gold
purple
Green Pale
Orange
90
~ose Plum rose OIange gokl
95
Daric
green Magenta Purple pink
100
Gray Blue masenta Purple
105
Gray Greemse Purple
110
Green Blue
120
Greedpurple Turquoise
125
Greenlpurple Turquoise
130
erald
Green
Yellow green
135
Pale Green Pea Green
140
Silver Green Silver green
145
Blue silver Pale yellow
150
Silver Yellow
Volume
70
Number 3
March
1993
Ti7

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