Can Titanium Scratch Glass? (ANSWERED)

Yes, titanium can scratch glass.

Anything sturdier than glass can scratch it.

But then, titanium, in its basic form, is not as hard as most other metals – it is just “very strong.”

In this article, we’ll explain how it is possible that titanium, which is much lighter than steel and aluminum, can scratch glass.

This article also explains the physical properties of glass and aluminum. 

Can Titanium Scratch Glass? (EXPLAINED)

Yes, titanium can scratch glass, and here is a practical example of how that can happen.

Titanium is sturdy; we all know about that, but it is not heavy; however, it is harder than most aluminum alloys. 

Titanium scratches a glass through a process known as “galling.” 

Galling is the wear that occurs when two materials are rubbed against each other leading to microscopic transfer of particles.

A glassy surface is smooth with high energy and high friction.

Therefore, rubbing a reactive or solid material like titanium over a glass surface would most likely displace the glossy, protective layer, and due to the high friction on the glassy surfaces, you’d definitely see some scratches appear on the glass.

More so, titanium, on its own, has a highly reactive surface but is usually covered with an oxidized layer, further protected with a passivated finish.

So, when you rub it on glass — or it comes in contact with glass – the protection is scraped, which exposes the reactive titanium capable of scratching the glass surface.

Well, just for tips, titanium is not the only metal that can scratch glass.

Of course, several metals would not only scratch glass but can also cut through it.

Regardless, titanium is used by many people to make marks on glasses; yes, they work for that purpose, too.

All About Titanium

Discovered in 1791 by William Gregor, Titanium (Ti) is a chemical element with atomic number 22.

It is a high-strength glossy metal; naturally appears with a silver color, and the atomic weight is 47.867 daltons.

This metal, titanium, has a low-density rating and is highly resistant to corrosion.  

Martin Heinrich Klaproth came up with the name “Titanium” after the Titans of Greek mythology.

Before the naming, what we all call titanium today, was initially referred to as a “chemical element.” 

Titanium forms from mineral deposits, mainly ilmenite, sphene, and rutile.

These deposits are distributed within the Earth’s crust and lithosphere.

Titanium is derived through Kroll and Hunter processes; the commercial process of obtaining titanium is by reducing titanium (IV) chloride with magnesium.

Today, many manufacturing companies use titanium as raw material for producing a wide range of products. 

There are three major titanium compounds. Each of these compounds serves a specific purpose. 

  • Titanium Tetrachloride: Often used in manufacturing titanium glasses and screens (for mobile phones)
  • Titanium Dioxide: Acts as a “catalyst” for polypropylene production
  • Titanium Trichloride: mostly serves as a photocatalyst for producing white pigments.

Now, let’s look at the physical properties of this raw (chemical) material. 

Physical Properties of Titanium

First, titanium is generally a type of metal.

It is considered a metal because of its high “strength-to-weight” ratio. Yes, titanium is a robust metal, yet it has low density. 

The element, titanium, is shiny and metallic-white (silver) in color.

It has a high melting point, over 3,000 °F or 1,650 °C, making it an “intractable” metal.

Furthermore, compared with other metals, titanium has low thermal and electrical conductivity.

Titanium alloys are used for making various everyday gears and accessories because of their strength.

Titanium alloy grades, up to 99.2% pure, have an ultimate tensile strength of about 63,000psi (434MPa).

This is the same as the tensile strength of common, low-grade steel alloys.

However, the pure titanium grades would be less dense than the steel alloys.

But, titanium degrades as you heat it above 430 °C (806 °F).

Also, titanium is non-magnetic, a poor conductor of heat, and it can gall during machining

The important physical properties of titanium are:

  • Silver color (shiny)
  • Poor electrical conductivity
  • Robust (durability)
  • Less dense (light-weight)

All About Glass

The term glass is from a late-Latin word, Glesum, which originated from the late Roman Empire in a glassmaking center at Trier (current-day Germany). 

Glass is vast; however, it is best defined as an inorganic solid material, usually translucent or transparent.

Also, glass is brittle, sturdy, and resistant to many natural elements.

Yes, glass can occur naturally from volcanic magma, and there are many types of natural glass. 

For example, Obsidian is a natural glass with high silica.

It forms when felsic lava from a volcano cools rapidly.

Another common type of natural glass is Impactite; this type forms by meteorite impact.

Other types of natural glasses include Trinitite, Edeowie glass, and Lybia desert glass.

People in the Stone Age centuries used obsidian glass as a cutting tool and a weapon due to its sharp edges.

The origin of glasses dates back to 6000 years.

However, in this modern time, glass is refined and used for various purposes. 

The various types of glass that exist in this modern time include Silicate glass, Soda-lime glass, Borosilicate glass, Lead glass, Aluminosilicate glass, Glass-ceramics, fiberglass, and Polymers.

Important Physical Properties Of Glass

Since its existence, glass has been refined into practical and decorative objects used in different applications.

The main physical properties of glasses are:

  • Transparency
  • Pressure resistance 
  • Breakage resistance 
  • Heat resistance 
  • Chemical resistance

Glasses are transparent or translucent; they are solid and hard.

Also, glasses are built to form resistance over several occurrences, and they are poor conductors of heat and electricity. 

With pretty much said already, let us see how this material would react when you scratch it with a glass. 

What Can Scratch Titanium?

Forget the amazing properties of titanium exaggerated by Hollywood movies. 

Its strength is between aluminum alloys and steel.

Just like every other metal, titanium would scratch when a sturdier metal or object slides on it.

Also, titanium is liable to scratch if you use a product made from the material every day.

But, it is difficult for glass to scratch titanium.

Bottom Line

Titanium can scratch the glass when you slide it across the glassy surface.

However, this may require a little more force as titanium is smooth and not dense.

More so, glass can scratch itself when pressure is applied.

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can titanium scratch glass