Use of titanium in fashion and apparel

In the past few years, more and more industries have begun to rely on titanium for the development of ingenious products. Nowadays, one can purchase titanium rings, as well as other types of jewelry and glasses to last for decades. The metal is paving the way for smart clothing, with nanoparticles of titanium dioxide being added to clothes for all sorts of benefits.

Titanium jewelry

Designers from all over the world have chosen titanium for the creation of unique statement pieces. From a practical perspective, it is worth mentioning that titanium is an inert metal, which means it does not come into contact with the skin. For this reason, titanium jewelry is a suitable choice for those who suffer from allergies. Even body piercings are made nowadays from titanium, given such considerations (chemical inertness).

Titanium has a high resistance to corrosion, which means that it can be worn in otherwise corrosive environments (such as water – swimming pools). It can be alloyed with gold and, given the reduced percentage of titanium in this alloy, it is also marketed as 24-carat gold. In terms of hardness, the alloy can be compared to the 14-carat gold. However, when it comes to durability, it is more durable than the 24-carat gold (pure).

It is a well-known fact that titanium has a natural grey color. However, when it is anodized, it can turn into different colors. The various shades are dependent on the thickness of the surface oxide layer, the color being actually given by an optical interference.

The iridescent sheen is one of the main reasons for which titanium is so often preferred for high-end jewelry lines. The metal is light yet strong, and the spectrum of colors is indeed appreciated. Even though it is quite difficult to craft, designers rely on titanium to create lighter jewelry pieces (titanium is significantly lighter than gold).
It was at the end of the 1980s that titanium first began to be used by avant-garde jewelry designers. The metal presents a unique optical phenomenon when anodized, its colors reminding of beautiful dragonfly wings or of the elegant shades of peacock feathers. Titanium jewelry always impresses with brilliant metallic colors, being a bio-friendly choice at the same.

In comparison to stainless steel, titanium is stronger and offers a longer service life. For example, titanium rings are often preferred to those made from stainless steel, even though they might cost a little bit more. Once again, it is important to mention that titanium is skin friendly, as it is not mixed with allergenic metals. People who have sensitive skin, being prone to allergies, can wear titanium rings and other types of jewelry without worrying about such matters.

Titanium & clothing

You might not expect titanium to be used in the fashion industry but the truth is that this metal is more versatile than expected. Various fabrics and textiles are coated with titanium, including leather (natural and artificial). Titanium can be used as an agent to reduce the brightness of different fibers, such as spandex, acrylic or nylon. In shoes, titanium might be used as a whitening agent.

Clothing manufacturers have begun to apply nanoparticles of titanium dioxide to diverse items. These have been incorporated into a wide range of textiles, in order to protect the clothes from sun damage. Thanks to this protective layer, these clothes also guarantee enhanced protection against skin damage (as they are reflecting the UV light).

In fabrics with static charge, such as synthetic ones – polyester, nylon – the same technique has been employed. The nanoparticles of titanium dioxide can conduct electricity and thus disperse the electric charge. We are entering the era of smart fabrics, with clothes featuring nano-coating. In the future, more and more fabrics will be made from nanofibers. Manufacturers are hoping for nanoparticles and nanofilaments to become an integral part of the fabric weave.

A nickel-titanium alloy has been used for a smart textile prototype. The fabric developed with this alloy is able to change both its shape and elasticity percentage. These are the modern-generation shape memory alloys, which might be used in the future to develop clothes with self-adapting functions. These can include medical and protective equipment, but also sport items.

Nitinol, as the new alloy has been called, can modify its shape within a wide range of temperatures and has amazing elasticity. However, it has a high price, which means it is at the moment reserved only for the development of unique products. The nitinol filaments might be used for protective equipment, protecting the body from high temperatures (surrounding environment).

Titanium & glasses

Titanium glass frames are all the rage in modern times, being appreciated for their light weight and high level of comfort. In developing these innovative frames, manufacturers might use exclusively titanium or rely on titanium alloys (with iron, aluminum or other metals).

Why should you consider titanium glasses? Because these will last for a long period of time, truly deserving the investment. Titanium frames are recommended to those who suffer from skin allergies, as they are non-allergenic. Moreover, as titanium does not corrode easily, they will definitely remain rust free. They are flexible, retaining their shape upon being bent and require only low maintenance.

Other uses of titanium

Appreciated for its durability and light weight, titanium is used for the making of elegant watch cases. In recent times, both decorative objects and sculptures are made from titanium. Designers have even considered the development of furniture that includes titanium among other elements.

Even coins have been made from titanium. In 1999, for its millennium celebration, Gibraltar has released a coin made exclusively from this metal. In Australia, a medal developed from titanium is awarded to excellent rugby players. These are, however, minor uses of titanium.