Experiments You Can Do at Home - But Probably Shouldn't

Chapter 5
Heavy Metal » Homemade Titanium

With lots of heat, some flowerpots and common chemicals, you can turn raw ore into shiny metal. An iron crowbar costs about $8; one made of titanium, $80. Solid-titanium scissors start at $700, and don't even ask about the titanium socket wrench. Titanium must be a rare and precious substance, right?

Actually, as raw ore, titanium is 100 times as abundant as copper. Nearly all white paint is white because of the titanium dioxide found in the ore. Something like four million tons a year go into paint, sunscreen, toothpaste, even paper.

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