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Titanium stakes as a fire starter?
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Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Titanium stakes as a fire starter? on 05/18/2010 19:34:02 MDT Print View

Every time I use a rock to pound my titanium stakes into the ground, it makes sparks. At dusk the sparks are really quite dramatic. I've actually been a little afraid I might start a fire. Has anyone considered that maybe titanium stakes could be used as fire starters?

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Titanium stakes as a fire starter? on 05/18/2010 19:49:37 MDT Print View

IIUC Titanium isn't especially flammable but magnesium sure is. Magnesium stakes?



Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Titanium stakes as a fire starter? on 05/18/2010 19:56:06 MDT Print View

I think she is getting a spark from titanium against granite, sort of like flint against steel. You can get a spark, but it is not flammable. By that I mean that the stake won't catch fire, but one spark could hit some dry leaves and start something awkward, especially in some parts of California.

Besides, granite is composed of all sorts of different rock crystals, and we don't know which one hit the titanium.


John Whynot

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Re: Titanium stakes as a fire starter? on 05/18/2010 20:03:11 MDT Print View

I've used a traditional flint and steel (piece of rock and brittle steel) to start fires.

It's not simple process -- you have catch a few tiny glowing bits of steel on some charred cloth, and then transfer the burning cloth to your tinder. Plenty of places to fail in the process. Easy to see why matches were a big advance in technology.

Edited by jdw01776 on 05/18/2010 20:09:32 MDT.

patrick johnson
(pjohnson78) - F
ti fire starter on 05/20/2010 19:05:03 MDT Print View

I haven't used a ti stake for a fire starter, however I do work in a metal shop which uses all sorts of metals and in the safety videos I have been made aware of the potential for fire using titanium while machining (heat). there is a potential for spark AND an eventual uncontrolled heat source developed when titanium is heated too much by machining, much like magnesium.

Roger do you have anything to add?

I would love to hear your comments.

patrick johnson
(pjohnson78) - F
ti fire starter on 05/20/2010 20:27:59 MDT Print View

I haven't yet been able to start a fire with titanium.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: ti fire starter on 05/21/2010 00:47:24 MDT Print View

Hi Patrick

Funny you should ask that. I have just been trying to cut 0.8 mm Ti 6Al4V sheet on a fine-toothed bandsaw. Lots of noise, and regular bangs and sparks. But I strongly suspect the sparks are individual steel teeth coming off the blade, as they have hit me in the face a few times. Yes, safety glasses. In the end, I gave up and went a very different route.

So while I have seen sparks while machining Ti, I don't think they were from the Ti. More likely from ... a mistake.

However, I have also generated a lot of fine titanium shavings in the workshop - long spirals etc, from machining. Just as you can light a thin ribbon of magnesium with a hot flame, so you CAN light a shaving of Ti. Both burn with a spectacularly bright and fast flame. (The usual caution: don't try this at home ...)

However, I very seriously doubt you would ever get titanium to burn while you were machining it (assuming a modicum of common sense). You would have to get it more than red hot, and if you do that the tools you are using will die very fast. Machining Ti is best done with a very sharp edge, a slow speed, much coolth and moderately aggressive cut.

Sparking of a Ti tent stake? Never seen it, but with something as hard as granite it appears to be possible. Chance of lighting a fire? Doubtful imho. The Ti particles would have to be very small, with very little energy content. I think.


Sam Minnich
Titanium sparks on 05/27/2010 14:27:55 MDT Print View

I think it's actually the rocks that are making the sparks. I seem to remember smashing granite rocks together as a kid to make sparks.