Niobium & Titanium Research
Why am I convinced that metal alloys should be avoided in those who suffer with Allergic Contact Dermatitis (ACD) Eczema?
Medical science is now finding that even Titanium Alloys are causing rejection in implant patients, yet skin patch testing for allergies to "Pure Titanium" is negative in those very same patients. I am not a doctor, nor am I a scientist, but I know what causes allergic reaction in my own body and what does not, and I believe with all of my heart that I have found the reason why.
From the London Hospital Medical College.
"Tissues from five patients who underwent revision operations for failed total hip replacements were found to contain large quantities of particulate titanium. In four cases this metal must have come from titanium alloy screws used to fix the acetabular components; in the fifth case it may have also originated from a titanium alloy femeral head. Skin patch testing with dilute solutions of titanium salts gave negative results in all five patients"
Did you catch that? All five cases were found to be allergic to Titanium Alloy, however all five cases were not allergic to pure Titanium! Go to the site address to read the full report.
PURITY OF JEWELRY METALS:
ALLOY An alloy is the mixture or solid solution of two or more metallic elements or metallic and nonmetallic elements. In jewelry, combining different metals is commonly done to augment the color, hardness and/or luster of the resulting alloy.
Some common alloys used in jewelry manufacture:
In the United States of America, an item to be described as “platinum" it must be comprised of a fineness of no less than 95% platinum and 5% Platinum Group Metals. Above 95%, the item can be stamped “PLATINUM” or “PLAT”; whereas from 75-95% Platinum, the PGM’s also must be stamped; e.g. IRIDPLAT for 10% Iridium alloy. Only the USA allows “carat platinum” alloys. The most common alloys in America are 95% Platinum with 5% Ruthenium or 5% Cobalt and 90% Platinum with 10% Iridium.
Common gold alloys are made by mixing gold, silver, copper, and/or other metals to produce 14K, 18K and 22K gold, white gold (gold and nickel or palladium), rose gold (gold and copper), green gold (gold with silver or silver and cadmium) , and blue gold (a recent gold color perfected by only a few jewelers).
14K By weight 14 parts gold to 10 parts other metals, or 58.33% pure gold see 585.
18K By weight 18 parts gold to 6 parts other metals, or 75.0% pure gold, marked 750 or 18K.
22K By weight 22 parts gold to 2 parts other metals, or 91.66% pure gold, marked 22K
585 So called London gold, the British 14K standard is slightly higher than the accepted US purity of 583 parts per 1000. All dvb 14K is at the 58.5% standard and is marked 585.
750 18K gold is marked 750, being 750 parts gold per 1000.
925 dvb marks its sterling silver 925, meaning 925 parts silver per 1000.
Sterling silver is usually a combination of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, while coin silver is 80% silver and 20% copper.
Brass is an alloy typically of 60% copper and 40% zinc.
Bronze is an alloy of at least 60% copper and tin or other metals.
Pewter is an alloy of low melting point metals including tin, lead, antimony, bismuth and sometimes a bit of silver or copper. U.S. manufacturer's are required by law to make lead free pewter.
Niello is a black alloy of silver, copper, lead and sulphur. It is used to fill engraving, imparting an inlaid effect after the metal is fired and polished.
Nickel silver (also called German silver) is a white metal alloy of 70% copper, 20% zinc and 10% nickel. It contains no silver. Many people are allergic to nickel and because of this, the use of nickel silver in jewelry has been outlawed in some countries.
Ever wonder what the difference between STAINLESS STEEL & SURGICAL STEEL is?
Both Surgical Steel & Stainless Steel ARE ALLOYS, and some recipe's even contain nickel!
"Surgical stainless steel is a variation of steel usually consisting of an alloy of chromium (12–20%), molybdenum (0.2–3%), and sometimes nickel (8–12%).
The chromium gives the metal its scratch-resistance and corrosion resistance. The nickel provides a smooth and polished finish. The molybdenum gives greater hardness, and helps maintaining a cutting edge.
Although there are myriad variations in the recipes, there are two main varieties of stainless steel; martensitic and austenitic, see the stainless steel article.
The word 'surgical' refers to the fact that these types of steel are well-suited for making surgical instruments: they are easy to clean and sterilize, strong and corrosion-resistant. The nickel/chrome/molybdenum alloys are also used for orthopaedic orthopedic implants as aids in bone repair, as a structural part of artificial heart valves, and other implants. Immune system reaction to nickel is a potential complication.
In most cases today titanium is used instead in procedures that require a metal implant which will be permanent. Titanium is a reactive metal, the surface of which quickly oxidizes on exposure to air, creating a microstructured stable oxide surface. This provides a surface into which bone can grow and adhere in orthopeadic implants but which is incorrodible after implant. Thus steel may be used for temporary implants and the more expensive titanium for permanent ones.
Some piercists may claim to use "implant grade" or "surgical grade" steel even still, but the term is erroneous.
Most surgical equipment is made out of martensitic steel—it is much harder than austenitic steel, and easier to keep sharp. Depending on the type of equipment, the alloy recipe is varied slightly to get more sharpness, or strength. Implants and equipment that are put under pressure (bone fixation screws, prostheses, body piercing jewelry), are made out of austenitic steel, often 316L and 316LVM, because it is less brittle."
For even more information visit this address: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stainless_steel
Nickel is commonly used in alloys with other metals. It is found in the soil of the earth's crust, as well as in meteorites. It can be found in stainless steel, coins and jewelry. People can be exposed through handling coins and by eating chocolate, soybeans, nuts and oatmeal. Most of the nickel ingested leaves the body through urine.Exposure to nickel dust can cause lung and nasal cancers. The EPA believes nickel refinery dust and nickel subsulfide are human carcinogens.
[note: Nickel is highly allergic, even toxic, and should always be avoided whenever possible]
Though two of its former uses - as an additive in gasoline or paint - were discontinued due to health concerns, lead still can be found in batteries, ammunition and computer circuit boards. Most of the lead ingested by an adult will be processed out of the body, but only about a third of that ingested by a child is processed out. Lead that remains in the body generally is stored in the bones. The nervous system is the main target for lead-caused health problems. High levels can damage the brain and kidneys.
Many of the jewelry making traditions and materials that apply to a necklace or wedding band that are attractive on the outside of your body are not adequate or appropriate for items that are put inside your body, whether in a healed or fresh piercing. Body jewelry should meet the same standards intended for human implant which are sensible, applicable and achievable. These standards were developed to ensure safety for insertion of objects into the human body in contact with broken or intact skin, soft tissue and bone. Most common body jewelry does not even come close to the most applicable specific standards for chemistry and surface finish.
Unlike Implantanium®, surgical steel and other implantation alloys. Niobium is a pure element, which cannot be sub-divided into further components. Niobium is always found in ores alongside Tantalum and derives its name from this close relationship. (Tantalum was named after the mythical Greek King Tantalus, whose daughter was Niobe.) Niobium is a reactive [anodizable] metal (along with Titanium, Zirconium and Tantalum, perhaps the four most bio-compatible elements on the planet) is designated by the chemical symbol Nb and has the atomic number 41.
Niobium is an elemental metal and is strong yet flexible and is slightly heavier than 316L stainless steel. Niobium is chemically non-reactive. Few people are sensitive to niobium.
An elemental metal, strong yet flexible. Niobium is non-reactive chemically; few people are sensitive to niobium.
Your body is a mechanical, chemical, living tissue. When getting a body piercing, it is important to understand that your body considers jewelry to be a foreign object. Therefore, it is essential that your body jewelry be made from materials that do not react with your body's natural chemistry. These materials must also be non-porous so that bacteria has no place to develop. Niobium is an inert Element which has little reaction with the human body and is not alloyed with other metals.
(Nb) is a pure element originally called columbium. Columbium was found to be two separate metals existing in the same ore; niobium and tantalum. Pure niobium is soft, ductile and malleable and easily fabricated by hammering, sawing, filing, bending, etc. Niobium absorbs electrons from oxygen, carbon and nitrogen forming alloys at temperatures over 600¡. It cannot be soldered due to this reactivity. Niobium is resistive to acids and alkalines, making it hypoallergenic.
Niobium alloys are used by the aerospace industry where heating takes place in space. Leading edges for re-entry vehicles, turbine blades and vanes are some of their uses.
discovered the extraordinary beauty that lurks in a dull grey metal called niobium. Dipped in an electrically-charged bath, the refractory metal flashes into magnificent colors (oxide layers that permanently change its color), depending on what voltage of electricity is applied.
Though niobium is twice the price of silver and nine times the price of titanium, Holly's designs demand its superior coloring properties. Equally important, niobium is environmentally clean from start to finish. And besides being clean, it is lightweight and so hypoallergenic that it's highly sought after for use in surgical implants - perfect for earrings!
Niobium is becoming increasingly popular as a material of construction for a variety of uses. Because of its superconducting properties, this Space Age metal can be found in magnetically levitated trains and fusion reactors. It is used in streetlights, water purification systems, and medical diagnostic devices. Niobium's unique properties have made it useful in protecting reinforced concrete structures from corrosion--while proving equally critical as a design component in body implants and aerospace.
The amazingly versatile characteristics of niobium have even attracted the attention of artists. No longer confined to industrial applications, the metal is now much in demand by consumers who admire it for its beauty rather than function.
Niobium is extremely stable in a wide variety of corrosive environments including most organic acids and mineral acids with the exception of hydrofluoric acid.
[Grade-1 Commercially Pure Titanium is the purest form of Titanium available on the market today 15May07] http://www.suppliersonline.com/propertypages/CPgrade1.asp#chemistry
Commercially Pure Grade-1 Titanium Chemistry Data :
Carbon 0.08 max
Hydrogen 0.015 max
Iron 0.2 max
Nitrogen 0.03 max
Oxygen 0.18 max
Titanium = 99.695
Chemical Analysis of Commercially Pure Titanium
GRADE 2 = Carbon = maximum 0.08%, Hydrogen = maximum 0.015%, Iron = maximum 0.2%, Nitrogen = maximum 0.03%, Oxygen = maximum 0.18%, Titanium = Balance.
GRADE 3 = Carbon = maximum 0.08%, Hydrogen = maximum 0.015%, Iron = maximum 0.3%, Nitrogen = maximum 0.03%, Oxygen = maximum 0.25%, Titanium = Balance.
GRADE 4 = Carbon = maximum 0.08%, Hydrogen = maximum 0.015%, Iron = maximum 0.5%, Nitrogen = maximum 0.05%, Oxygen = maximum 0.18%, Titanium = Balance.
Values for the pure element are found under the name Titanium, Ti. Grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 11, and 12 and considered 'unalloyed' titanium and have similar mechanical properties. Grades 1 through 4 allow increasing levels of impurities.
Grade 1, Commercially Pure Titanium Composition Percentage by weight:
Titanium = 99.67, Carbon 0.08,
it was not until 1887 that titanium was first isolated (95% pure) by Lars Nilson and Otto Perrersson. Henri Moissan then used his electric ufrnace to produce 98% purity. Titanium was finally isolated 99.9% purity in 1910 by Matthew Alvert Hunter at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in cooperation with the general Electic Company.
Discovered : by the Rev. William Gregor in 1791and Isolated in Creed, Cornwall, UK.
Origin : The element is named after the Titans, in Greek mythology the sons of Uranus the sky god and Gaia the Earth goddess.
Titanium is an extremely lightweight elemental metal similar to Niobium. The specific alloy used for body jewelry is 6AL4V 60 parts aluminum, 40 parts vanadium, specifically 136 grade with extra low interstitial elements.
[Titanium's] substantially inert surface oxide has high integrity and tenacity.
The oxide will, if scratched or damaged, immediately restore itself in the presence of air or water. The film is stable over a wide range of pH, electro-potentials and temperature, particularly in neutral and oxidizing environments.
Titanium is the most bio-compatible of all metals due to its total resistance to attack by body fluids.
Titanium is often used in permanent surgical implants where the tissue is encouraged to assimilate the implant. The body will readily accept titanium because of its non-reactive quality; in the case of implants, the pores allow for the tissue to attach.
Titanium is now playing a major role in the body jewellery market. Because of its' three main characteristics, titanium is now challenging stainless steel as the most favoured metal in the body piercing jewellery industry. Titanium is only half the weight of steel and can be anodised, offering a wide selection of surface colours. Not all grades of titanium and its' alloys are suitable for invasive body jewellery applications.
Why Titanium Jewelry?
Titanium has many positive characteristics compared to all other conventional materials. It is far stronger and harder. Therefore it wears better and doesn't gouge, mar easily, or deform (particularly important in tension settings). Titanium is lighter. This opens the door to infinite design possibilities for larger and solid products.
I have an allergic reaction to most of my jewelry, including gold. Can I wear titanium?
Absolutely. Titanium is the most biocompatible (hypoallergenic) element known to man and will not irritate even the most sensitive skin. This is a blessing for pierced products. Unlike other jewelry materials, titanium does not need other alloys to harden the material. Many alloys create negative reactions with our body chemistry. Titanium can be safely and comfortably worn by everybody.
Will titanium jewelry ever corrode, tarnish or rust over time?
Never. titanium is inert and non reactive to almost all chemicals. it is the preferred material for many applications for this very reason.
Can titanium be engraved or stretched?
Titanium can be engraved with standard engraving equipment. It is obviously harder than conventional jewelry materials, therefore engraving bits will wear faster. The engraving will not be as deep as in softer materials but will outlast most other inscriptions. Laser engraving also works wonderfully on titanium material.
How do you color titanium?
The color on titanium is neither paint nor pigment. Titanium belongs to an elite category of elements known as refractory metals. One of the more outstanding characteristics of these materials lies in the refractive abilities inherent in their oxides. Titanium is naturally platinum gray. By applying heat or electricity one may unleash its refractive properties by inducing various oxide thicknesses on the material surface. Titanium anodizing is best performed electrolytically. The resulting titanium oxide causes an optical interference with a purity and vivacity much the same as witnessed in the luminescent colors of oil on water, a peacock's feather, or a rainbow. The colors are directly related to time and voltage. This allows for absolute control and consistency from one part to another.
How can we refinish titanium?
In normal wear non-anodized titanium will only show superficial scratches. These products may be refinished in a number of ways. The most popular finishes are bright or satin. In the event that the jewelry needs to be refinished, titanium can be refinished with standard buffing and polishing tools. More abrasive materials will be needed than with a softer element such as gold.
How do I care for titanium?
Titanium can be cleaned with any non abrasive soap or cleaner. Anodized products are best cleaned with warm soapy water the dried with a soft tissue. This will restore it to the same level of optical purity and display the original vivacity of colors.
NIOBIUM & TITANIUM
Most professional studios will only pierce with stainless steel or titanium jewelry. Some use one or the other exclusively. Piercers who use titanium exclusively will note that even stainless steel can sometimes contain too much nickel to be safe for some people to wear in a piercing. The APP (Association of Professional Piercers) recognizes surgical implant stainless steel (CrNMo 316LVM, ASTM F-138), surgical implant grades of titanium(Ti6A4V ELI, ASTM F-136), niobium (Nb), solid 14 karat or higher white or yellow gold containing no nickel, and solid platinum to be appropriate materials for an initial piercing.
Decorative jewelry bought at retail stores is often highly discouraged by piercers, as much of it contains components that can be irritating or even toxic. Silver in any use or form is also highly discouraged due to the threat of argyria and possible carcinogenic effects of various silver compounds. Much like tattoos, it is often safer to avoid bargains and low prices and instead opt for reasonably expensive jewelry and procedures.
It is my personal and professional finding that wearing the purest element you can, and keeping your piercing and earrings clean (with fresh water only) and dry, is the only way to avoid alloy allergies. For me, it was simple.... if you can wear a pure element, but not an alloy that contains no nickel, you have an alloy allergy, not a nickel allergy; in otherwords, you are allergic to the electrochemical reaction that happens between dissimilar metals - not the metals themselves..
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