Is Titanium prone to catch fire???
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  1. #1
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    Default Is Titanium prone to catch fire???

    Hi guys

    Someone at work told my buddy to be careful when machining titanium, because if you create too much heat the metal may catch fire.

    I told him hell no it doesn't catch fire, it isn't prone to it, right? I said he's thinking magnesium.

    WTF? Is titanium prone to catch fire?

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    Default fire

    its not really prone to catch fire. but it can catch fire. if it does make sure you have the powder to put it out with by the machine. ive seen it burn thru the table before.

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    Titanium metal plus heat plus oxygen poses a significant fire hazard, especially in powdered form.

    Eddie

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    yes, it can catch fire from machining operations. Saw a inexperienced machinist turn a piece without coolant once, chips caught fire.

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    Indeed it can and will catch fire, done it myself a few times. It's not fire as in flames jumping up at you. It's more along the lines of the swarf glowing a very bright white and giving off heat. It can very easily ingite other combustibles in the area.

    The issue really becomes when the tool starts to dull, heat into the workpeice increases. This increases your change of ingiting the swarf as it comes off the workpiece. The smaller the cut, the smaller the ship, the higher the surface are to volume ratio. This makes it a lot easier for the chips to self ignite when being cut.

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    Heard of it, but haven't seen it happen in person as its rare that I machine Ti but I'm careful when I do. Watch the SFM, and use good sharp tools, get the chips out of the way often.
    I wouldn't touch magnesium in my shop.

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    Small chips are much more prone to light off. Grab a chip and light it(away from all the other chips of course). Burns extremely bright and gives off a distinct smell. Exactly like magnesium. I've seen a large(2000 lb pile)of chips burn to nothing and put a considerable hole in the concrete it was sitting on. That fire was started by a long stringy shaving touching across the battery terminals of a forklift passing by.

    Also saw a 50,000 lb titanium tubed heat exchanger burn up. It was like a nuclear reactor and burned for several days, even after buried with about 8-10 dump truck loads of dirt. Once the pile of dirt stopped smoldering, it was uncovered and scrapped.

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    Wow. I was afraid to post this question thinking it was almost absurd!!

    The explanations have been excellent, and it makes sense now. Wow, glad I asked before I told the guy off huh? :X

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    I used to finish turn (for tuning) ridiculously expensive ultrasonic horns made from sonic grade titanium. The machine that was used was in a lab and was kept spotless and the turnings from the horns were very, very small and easily lit up. I lit up turnings on a weekly basis so - yes - titanium does burn.

    Scott

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    One of the workers at a local scrap yard thought it would be funny to shoot bottle rockets at his co-workers and scare them.

    Well, one such rocket flew into a pile of titanium chips.

    Oh there were fireworks alright, including the foreman putting his hiney on a bottle rocket out of there.

    Retard.

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    Is it just CP titanium that will burn? The reason I ask is because I used to saw a lot of blanks for a local company from 6-4, and I've turned an acetylene torch directly on a pile of the chips in the past just to see what would happen. A few little sparklies here and there, but could not get it to burn.

    FWIW, these were sections of forged rings used to make parts going into Rolls Royce jet engines, so there's zero room for speculation that it might have been some material other than titanium, or that it was some alloy other than 6-4.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SND View Post
    Heard of it, but haven't seen it happen in person as its rare that I machine Ti but I'm careful when I do. Watch the SFM, and use good sharp tools, get the chips out of the way often.
    I wouldn't touch magnesium in my shop.
    I have recently turned plenty of magnesium on a conventional machine , no problem at all.

    Just like machining Ti : keep the heat down by using sharp tools and correct feeds and speeds.
    Use flood coolant if you want to.

    As a precaution it`s wise to have a type D extingquisher for metalfires nearby and to make sure the chips don`t pile up in the machine or nearby.

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    Fun...

    Take a (handful) pile of titanium chips (I used 6/4)/ turnings out to the middle of a dirt lot or on some gravel.

    Take a propane torch to it and watch the show. Bright enough to singe your retina, and hot as hell. Does not need o2 to burn.

    Hate to see what it could do to a VMC.

    Had a buddy of mine tell me "never let that stuff pile up in the machine, take the chips outside and get rid of them". So that is what I do.

    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by D. Rey View Post
    Fun...

    Had a buddy of mine tell me "never let that stuff pile up in the machine, take the chips outside and get rid of them". So that is what I do.

    Dave
    Excellent advise based on my experience.

    Scott

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    I have never seen Titanium catch fire. We turned it, milled it and even ground it - never a spark.
    Pure Titanium has a melting point of 3097 deg. F.

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    Quote Originally Posted by apestate View Post
    Hi guys

    Someone at work told my buddy to be careful when machining titanium, because if you create too much heat the metal may catch fire.

    I told him hell no it doesn't catch fire, it isn't prone to it, right? I said he's thinking magnesium.

    WTF? Is titanium prone to catch fire?
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&s...re&btnG=Search

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    Quote Originally Posted by juergenwt View Post
    I have never seen Titanium catch fire. We turned it, milled it and even ground it - never a spark.
    Pure Titanium has a melting point of 3097 deg. F.

    The really fine swarf will catch if you hold a lighter to it.

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    Years ago I was taking a finishing cut on a Ti part about .312" in dia. I was using my tiny, crappy Atlas 6" lathe, which was all the lathe I had at the time. Obviously, not a particularly rigid machine, I was sneaking down to diameter, and going as fast as the poor thing would go. The swarf was essentially titanium wool. I'd left this on the ways and table underneath, and started on the other end of the part. The chips from a "hogging cut" (probably .012" DOC) were pretty hot, and the next thing I knew, the wad of titanium wool was glowing VERY BRIGHTLY from inside, and generating not a little heat.

    I swept it off into an metal dustpan and took it out back to watch it burn...

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    lathefan, your comment didn't work. I clicked on it and it was just some kind of weird list with more things to click on.

    did u meen this?

    http://images.google.com/images?hl=e...-8&sa=N&tab=wi

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    The guys in a nearby junkyard had already had an accident with titanium catching fire. They told me about it after I warned them that titanium could burn. They had quite a fire.


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