Now carve a golf club out of it

Behold, Theodore "Periodic Table Table" Gray's most recent Popular-Science-column adventure:

Making titanium from paint-pigment titanium dioxide, via a thermite reaction.

You're meant to put your reaction-vessel flower-pot inside a bigger pot with sand between them, so that the inevitable cracking of the pot won't allow the metal to escape. But it's more photogenic this way.

You also have to cheat a bit to get molten titanium to drip out of a titanium-dioxide/aluminium reaction. The reaction doesn't actually burn quite hot enough to melt the titanium, so it'll just give you a block of titanium-plus-aluminium-oxide slag. To avoid this, you put in extra aluminium, plus an oxidiser to get it to burn. In this case, the oxidiser is humble calcium-sulfate plaster.

And presto, a puck of pretty crystalline titanium can be yours.

(And yes, fmt=22 works on this video clip, giving you a 71.8Mb HD file which you can craftily download.)

3 Responses to “Now carve a golf club out of it”

  1. Jax184 Says:

    Since no one else has said it yet, that's fantastic. It combines three things I hold very dear; Titanium, thermite and making unusual things at home in a questionably safe manner. What more could you ask for?

  2. Ziggyinc Says:

    What Jax said Fire Fire Heh Heh heh

  3. DBT Says:

    That beats my best trick of pouring molten lead onto a house brick ... you know, the ones with the ingot shaped depression on top (not the ones with the holes). Eye protection? That's what eyebrows are for.

    No wait ... there was that time with the chlorine bomb...

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