The Oxide Layer, What is it?

Well let me start by telling you what it is not. Titanium oxide is not an off gas nor a vapor. It is that white, chalky substance on the inside of your nail or on the outside of your pad. It is created when oxygen reacts with the titanium creating a thin oxide layer on the outside of the metal. The hotter you get your titanium the more readily it reacts with the oxygen in the air and subsequently the faster it oxidizes. When you see your titanium changing blue, purple, and gold in the open flame, this is also a result of the oxidation process. In fact when we anodized our titanium beehive stands gold, it was oxidation being done with an electric current which when applied can create a wide variety of colors depending on the voltage. Oxidation is a natural occurring process in many elements and it can happen in the open air. All of your titanium is reacting with the oxygen right now, creating a small protective oxide layer which helps protect it from further reactions to air or water. When the oxide layer first forms it is about 1-2 nm thick, but it will continue to grow to 25 nm thick in open air during four years time. Continually heating the titanium increases how fast and thick the layer builds.

A thick oxidation layer on your nail or pad can effect its efficiency. The oxide layer can be removed with an abrasive or a small sharp tool such as a flat head dabber and it is recommended you rinse the titanium after to prevent any of the dust particulates from entering your glass or, more importantly, your body. Unfortunately, rinsing the nail only invites more oxide as torching a wet nail will make it oxidize faster. This is because the oxygen in the water is plentiful and in direct contact with the titanium. Over time a nail head can become so oxidized that it has lost much of its original heat retention capabilities. It takes quite some time for a nail head or pad to become worn enough that it would ever need replacing, but if you ever do need to replace it you know we have you covered with whatever you may need.

Preventing oxidation or slowing the process can be achieved by applying heat uniformly and not taking the titanium to a glowing red. The moment you notice the titanium start to radiate even slightly it should be plenty hot.

On a final note, “Water Seasoning” is the idea that you can season your titanium by heating it up and placing it under water. It is of my opinion that this doesn’t do anything to season the titanium but we do know it jump starts the oxidation process.

If you have any questions you can always email me. taskrokathighlyeducatedtidotcom