March 16 2012
Interesting properties of titanium include its flammability and relatively low conductivity. Therefore, electrical current can easily provide the heat necessary to ignite titanium. A thin strip (0.5 mm) of titanium foil easily ignites when applied to a nine volt battery, for example. Since titanium has the strength of steel, this strip is not fragile and can be bent to form interesting shapes, which are followed by the flame. For example, it can be shaped into letters and placed on a piece of wood. When a switch is thrown, the titanium ignites at one end (hopefully, if it is cut to the correct thickness) and someone's name, for instance, is traced out by the flame. It can also be used as a fuse as well, where the thinnest part near the top electrode is ignited and the titanium burns down the wire.
Here is a YouTube video of the burning.
I also tried cutting a thin strip of niobium and connecting it to a nine volt battery. Despite its similar thickness and resistivity, the niobium did not burn. Instead, the niobium became red hot when current was applied. This shows that titanium is more flammable and susceptible to oxidation than niobium.
Published by LanthanumK