When is Titanium dioxide?
By Scott Gailman, USA TODAY’s science and technology editorFor years, the term “titan” had been applied to titanium dioxide, a powerful compound found in some quartz watches and titanium dioxide-based electronic watches.
But a recent study by the University of Washington and others in China has shown that it is a more accurate term to describe the substance than the older, more generic “tits.”
The findings, published online in Science Translational Medicine, indicate that titanium dioxide does not act like a mineral but rather as a solid, solid metal, and that the compounds’ strength can be compared to that of steel.
“These results are significant, because they show that titanium oxide is not a solid metal,” said Mark Shulman, a chemistry professor at the University at Albany and the study’s senior author.
“It is a liquid, and it can be injected into an electronic watch and it’s going to have a very different mechanical properties than a steel case.”
To get the results, the researchers combined the titanium dioxide with a variety of chemicals.
Some used lithium carbonate; others used calcium carbonate.
The researchers then tested the mixture in quartz watches.
The titanium dioxide did not affect the quality of the quartz watches’ movements.
The researchers also tested the titanium oxide in titanium dioxide that was mixed with a mixture of iron oxides.
Iron oxide is a common component of titanium dioxide but is not found in titanium-based jewelry.
Shulmans team found that the titanium compound mixed with iron oxide did not change the properties of titanium-containing quartz watches, but it did affect the quartz movements’ properties.
Titanium oxide, the team concluded, is not simply a mineral.
It is a solid.
“There is a very real, very important difference between the way titanium dioxide behaves in water and the way it behaves in a liquid,” Shulmann said.
“So when you put the titanium alloy into a liquid you get a liquid that’s not as stable as the crystal of a mineral.”
He noted that the new study demonstrates that titanium compounds can be used to design a watch without affecting the performance of a quartz watch.
The team is now working to determine how well titanium dioxide is able to absorb certain light sources.
“Titans are a very special kind of metal,” Shaulman said.