Titanium Etching for High-Strength, Lightweight Parts
Titanium is sometimes called a wonder metal because of its remarkable combination of properties:
- High-strength & lightweight: Titanium has a high strength-to-weight ratio that makes it ideal for components in aerospace and defense applications, where reduced weight is crucial for fuel efficiency and maneuverability, and strength is needed for higher payload capacity.
- High melting point: Titanium has a high melting point, making it capable of withstanding extreme temperatures and excellent fatigue resistance, meaning it can withstand repeated stress cycles without failure. Titanium parts deliver high performance even when subjected to constant stress, vibrations, and load fluctuations, making them ideal for aerospace and defense applications.
Titanium is often referred to as an “impervious” metal due to these properties:
- Corrosion-resistance: Titanium owes its impervious nature to the titanium dioxide layer that forms on its surface when exposed to air or oxygen. This impervious and chemically stable layer protects the titanium surface against harsh or corrosive environments, such as seawater, acids, alkalis, and industrial chemicals. It acts as a barrier and shields the underlying metal from further oxidation and degradation.
- Biocompatibility: Titanium is non-toxic and well-tolerated by the human body and does not cause any adverse reactions when it interacts with bodily fluids. This property makes it an excellent choice for medical implants, as it reduces the risk of rejection and promotes successful integration with surrounding tissues. Titanium is one of the only metals that allows for osseointegration, where your body’s natural bone and tissue bond to an artificial implant.
Our Etching Capabilities
- Etching of all grades of titanium, including CP Grade 1, CP Grade 2, CP Grade 3, CP Grade 4, CP Grade 5, Grade 6A-3, and nitinol
- Use of DFARS-compliant titanium where required
- Etching of up to 0.040″ thick sheets ranging up to 22×12 inches
- Tolerances of ±.0005″ in many applications
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Titanium Etching?
Titanium etching refers to selectively removing material from a titanium surface using etchants that can dissolve the titanium to create precise patterns, designs, or features on the surface of titanium components.
A photoresist mask is applied to protect specific areas of the titanium surface that should not be etched. The surface is then exposed to a chemical reagent or etching solution or subjected to electrochemical etching.
Our process is safer and more quality-controlled than the traditional methods of titanium etching. We tightly monitor and adjust our etchant chemistries to account for various manufacturing defects, such as photoresist detachment or material oxidation. Our photochemical etching process is burr-free and stress-free, and metal material is precisely removed to create a 2D/3D component through photolithographically imaged patterns.
We use advanced digital imaging printers that produce very accurate front to back registration, which guarantees higher sheet to sheet reproducibility. Combining our digital imaging with our tight process controls, we are able to achieve tolerances as tight as ±0.0005 in.
What are typical lead times for etched titanium parts?
The lead time for titanium etched parts varies depending on several factors, including the complexity of the titanium components and scale of the project. Average lead times range from two to three weeks.
Connect with our material experts to get more precise timelines for your project’s specific requirements.
Why should you choose titanium over other materials?
Choosing titanium over other materials for chemical etching offers several significant benefits:
- As compared to steel, titanium offers a higher strength-to-weight ratio. Its strength is comparable to that of stainless steel, though titanium is lighter and stiffer. Titanium boasts excellent corrosion resistance, especially in harsh environments. Some types of steel are more prone to corrosion. Steel also has lower biocompatibility and higher tissue reaction risk compared to titanium.
- Compared to aluminum, titanium has a higher specific strength, better fatigue resistance, better durability, and is lighter in weight, making it an excellent alternative to aluminum. Titanium can handle conditions of up to 700°C, while aluminum has a limitation of only about 300°C for most high-temperature applications. Although titanium is roughly two-thirds heavier than aluminum, its inherent strength means it will have the same physical strength as aluminum at only a fraction of the weight.
- More ductile than other metals: Titanium can be easily etched and formed into intricate parts with fine details and complex geometries.
- Non-magnetic: Unlike steel, nickel, and their alloys, titanium is non-magnetic, so titanium components can be used without introducing magnetic field disturbances or affecting critical magnetic-sensitive operations.