Can You Solder Titanium?

Can You Solder Titanium?

Soldering titanium can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. In this guide, we will discuss the basics of soldering titanium and provide some tips to help you get the job done right. We’ll also answer some common questions about soldering titanium. So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced metalworker, read on for everything you need to know about soldering titanium!

What is Titanium

Titanium is a lustrous transition metal with a silver color, low density, and high strength. The most prominent feature of titanium is its high resistance to corrosion even in the harshest of environments.

Titanium’s properties are ideally suited for many medical and industrial applications. It is used extensively in aerospace (e.g., aircraft engines and airframes), military equipment (e.g., tanks and missiles), medical implants (e.g., artificial hips), sports equipment (e.g., golf clubs), eyeglass frames, jewelry, mobile phones, laptops etc.

What is Titanium

The main drawback of titanium is that it is a poor conductor of electricity. This limits its use in many applications where conductivity is required, such as electrical wiring. [1]

Is Soldering Titanium Possible?

Before we answer the main question, let’s first understand what soldering is. Soldering is a process in which two or more metals are joined together by melting and flowing a filler metal called solder into the joint. Soldering allows for a strong bond to be created between the metals without the need for welding.

All this raises the question, can you solder titanium? The answer is yes, but it’s not easy. When exposed to high temperatures, titanium forms a hard, protective titanium oxide layer on its surface. This oxide layer has a very high melting point that makes it very difficult to solder titanium using traditional methods.

If you do decide to solder titanium, you will need to use a specialized flux that contains fluoride salts. These salts help to remove the oxide layer from the titanium and allow the solder to wet the surface.

You will also need a solder that can reach a very high temperature, such as silver-based solder. Keep in mind that soldering titanium is very difficult and should only be attempted by experienced professionals. [2], [3]

Can Titanium Be Welded?

An alternative to soldering is welding. As long as interstitial content is low, you can weld pure titanium and a very few titanium alloys. However, when welding higher interstitial grades of commercially pure titanium or certain titanium alloys, you need to take special precautions.

Welding is generally preferable to soldering because it makes the joint stronger and more impact resistant. Welding also makes it easier to reach the melting point of the metal, which is important when welding titanium.

Titanium can be welded using a variety of methods, including pressure welding, resistance welding and fusion welding. [2], [3]

Fusion welding

By far the most common welding method for titanium is fusion welding. This method can be used to weld titanium to other metals, such as aluminum and stainless steel.

To weld titanium using this method, a filler metal can be placed between the two pieces of metal that are being joined. The filler metal melts and forms a pool of molten metal. As the molten metal cools, it bonds the two pieces of metal together. However fusion welding can be performed without a filler metal.

Fusion welding

The most common type of fusion welding is gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), also known as tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding. This method uses an electric arc to create heat, which melts the filler metal and joins the two pieces of metal together.

Keep in mind that fusion welding titanium can actually be dangerous. At high temperatures, titanium becomes highly reactive. For this reason, it’s important to have proper ventilation when welding titanium. Be sure to wear a respirator and work in a well-ventilated area when welding titanium.

Pressure welding

Pressure welding is a type of welding that uses pressure to weld two pieces of metal together. This method is still seen used to weld titanium because it is very strong and can withstand high temperatures. There are two types of pressure welding: cold and hot.

Hot pressure welding is the most common type of pressure welding. It uses high temperatures to weld the metal together. This method is very fast and efficient, but it can be dangerous if not done correctly.

Cold pressure welding is not as common. In this method, no heat is used to weld the two pieces of metal together. Instead, pressure is applied to the two pieces of metal until they bond together.

Resistance welding

Resistance welding, on the other hand, is a type of welding that uses electrical resistance to heat the metal. In this method, an electric current is passed through the metal, which causes the metal to heat up and weld together. This method is often used to weld thin pieces of titanium because it is very precise and can be done quickly.

Resistance welding can be further divided into three types: spot welding, flash welding and seam welding.

Spot welding is a type of resistance welding that is used to join two pieces of metal together at a point, or spot. In this method, an electric current is passed through the metal at a small area where the two pieces are to be joined. The heat generated by the current melts the metal, which welds the two pieces together.

Flash welding is a method of joining two pieces of metal together using high-frequency electrical energy. The energy in question is obtained from an arc, which is created when the two pieces of metal are brought into contact with each other. This contact causes a resistance to the flow of current, which in turn produces heat. The heat generated by the arc melts the metals at their point of contact, allowing them to fuse together.

Seam welding is a type of resistance welding that is used to join two pieces of metal together along a seam. In this method, an electric current is passed through the metal at the seam where the two pieces are to be joined. [2]

What About Brazing?

As you can see, both soldering and welding have their share of downsides and compromises when working with titanium. So, is there any other way to join two pieces of titanium together? The answer is yes, and that method is called brazing.

Brazing is a joining process where two pieces of metal are joined together with a third, filler metal. The filler metal has a melting temperature above 800°F but this temperature must be lower than the base metals being joined. In this way, it can flow into the gap between them and form a strong bond. Brazing can be done with either ferrous or non-ferrous metals, making it a versatile option for joining titanium to other materials.

To prevent oxidation, titanium brazing must be done in an argon atmosphere. When it comes to filler materials, pure silver and aluminum are both effective choices as they adhere well to titanium and have a low melting temperature.

There are three main types of brazing: torch brazing, resistance brazing and furnace brazing.

Gas brazing

Gas brazing

Gas brazing is the most common method for joining titanium. It is a quick and easy process that can be done with minimal equipment. In gas brazing, an oxygen-free gas torch is used to heat the filler metal and base metals until they reach the appropriate temperature. This prevents the titanium from oxidizing and allows the filler metal to flow freely into the gap.

Furnace brazing

Furnace brazing is typically used for smaller projects. The pieces to be joined are placed in a furnace, which is then purged with an inert gas like argon.

The furnace is then heated to the appropriate temperature for the chosen filler metal and held at that temperature until the filler metal has melted and flowed into the joint, forming a strong bond.

Once the brazing process is complete, the piece is allowed to cool slowly in the furnace to prevent thermal shock.

Resistance brazing

Another option worth considering is resistance brazing. This method is similar to resistance welding, except that the filler metal has a lower melting temperature than the base metals being joined.

In resistance brazing, an electrical current is passed through the filler metal, which melts it and allows it to flow into the joint between the two pieces of titanium. Thanks to a superior electrical resistance of titanium, it will have no issues to heat up the filler metal and create a bond. [2]

FAQ

Can titanium rings be soldered together?

Titanium is a difficult metal to solder because it reacts with oxygen in the air at high temperatures to form an oxide barrier. This makes it challenging to create a lasting connection between two pieces of titanium. However, if you’re experienced in soldering metals and are willing to take extra care with your work, it is possible to solder titanium rings together.

Can you solder titanium wire?

The simple answer is yes, you can solder titanium wire. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when working with this material. Titanium reacts quickly to oxygen, which can make the metal impossible to solder. Using a flux containing fluoride salts can help to prevent this issue.

How do you weld titanium jewelry?

If you’re a beginner welder, then you might be wondering how to weld titanium jewelry. The best way to weld titanium is by using an oxy-acetylene torch with a welding rod that has a tungsten electrode. You will need to heat up the metal until it’s glowing red hot and then apply the welding rod to the area that you want to weld.

Useful Video: Soldering Titanium | Goodfellow C-Solder

Final words

As you can see, titanium is difficult to weld because it reacts with oxygen at high temperatures. However, it is possible to weld titanium using special techniques and tools, like fluoride salts.

You will also need to use a very high-temperature solder, such as gold or silver. If you’re interested in welding titanium, we recommend that you consult with a professional welder.

If possible, we would suggest you to braze the titanium instead as it’s much easier and will give you better results. We hope you found this guide helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below. Happy soldering!

References:

  1. https://www.totalmateria.com/page.aspx?ID=titaniumproperties&LN=EN
  2. http://www.totalmateria.com/Article136.htm
  3. https://www.finishing.com/277/00.shtml