Titanium or Stainless??

Choosing Titanium or Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a brilliant material, tough, durable and resistant to water and most chemicals and acids. For these reasons it's used in marine, outdoor and high use environments. It resists changes in temperature well and doesn't really discolour under heat.


Titanium is lightweight, strong, resistant to water and chemicals and ideal for high stress applications. It's used commonly in aerospace, for bicycle frames and motorbike exhaust components, along with your granny's new hip replacement too! It has quicker heat conducting properties, can be discoloured under high heat where it changes to amazing blues, pinks and reds, but is really durable and a great material choice.


Stainless Steel on the left and Titanium on the right.

 


Colour & Brightness

Both stainless steel and titanium have the shade of a silvery grey metal, can be polished nicely and also hold up well in a brushed or flatter finish.


Titanium comes out more smoky and slightly darker shade of grey, with a few hues of brown mixed in. Stainless steel is more bright and a lighter shade of grey and has a whiter reflection to it, so appears a little shinier and brighter than titanium's more misty finish.



The ring on the left is 6mm stainless steel and the one on the right is a 6mm titanium "Bole Hills' Ring. It's quite hard to spot the difference but you can just see the titanium's slightly browner hue, and that the stainless is brighter on the higher polished spots.


Weight & Strength


Weight

Titanium is ever so slightly lighter as a material and because of this the rings do feel a bit lighter but still have the same proportions of stainless steel.


For comparison a polished ring in size P like our Ruskin Green i weighs 3.45 grams in titanium.  A stainless ring in the same design weighs 5 grams. Something to think about if you're a keen road cyclist!


Strength

We use a The MOHS Scale to identify how hard a material is. The 'MOHS scale of Mineral Hardness' is named after Friedrich Mohs, a mineralogist who determined how hard materials were by how easily they scratches other samples.


Diamond sits at the top as a 10 on the hardness scale, while lead is one of the softest metals at 1.5, with silver and gold at 2.5 on the scale.


Titanium is one of the tough materials in the metal family, it has a hardness of 6 on the scale, while stainless steel is also tough and has a hardness of between 5.5-6.3. 



Wear Resistance and Durability 

Stainless steel is slightly more forgiving than titanium and it's nicer to work with as titanium is more brittle and makes my tooling jump more than stainless, which behaves a little better and cuts smoother.  Titanium also sparks like mad and wants to set fire to the workshop, where as stainless just wants to swirls away and land on the floor....no fires with stainless!


I do remember one time that I had to grab the fire extinguisher to put out a titanium fire on the lathe! 


Both metals are as tough and durable as each other – perfect if your worried about or have previously battered precious metal rings in day to day life!


Both are ideal if you're a busy person, climbing, making, washing the dog, building and renovation the house or always off on adventures in the mountains and countryside. Heres our 'Crookes Valley' stainless ring with heavy brushed finish.



I hope this helps make the decision a little easier to make.....but then again I might have just added more fuel for both sides of the argument between stainless or titanium!


See our other blog posts about different styles of ring to suit who you are and how we make our Damascus rings...