What grade of titanium are Walmart wedding bands?
January 28, 2008 5:56 AM   Subscribe

What grade of titanium are Walmart wedding bands? I'd like a CP grade ring, since I understand aircraft grades can't be cut off. I've read that they should be stamped "CP", and I'm also wary of a ring coming from China with lead in it or worse?
posted by raikkohamilonso to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This doesn't answer the question but it's the discussion section from this paper, pointing out that even aircraft grade rings can be removed, albeit with more difficulty. Overall though it confirms your decision to pick CP grade:

Because many titanium ring customers have expressed concern that, in the case of a medical emergency, a titanium ring might be impossible to cut off, sellers have incorporated this question into their question and answer sections. They state that if it is made of pure titanium, with no metals added for increased strength, any titanium ring can be cut off if necessary with a standard ring cutter. This is not true, however, with alloys such as aerospace-grade titanium, which have been used to make rings for especially demanding customers. Our experiments with conventional ED ring cutters showed that the time required for a grade 2 titanium ring was approximately 10 minutes per cut, which is about twice the time it took to cut 2 mm of stainless steel. Cutting a Ti-6/6/2 alloy ring yielded far different results. After 5 minutes, we barely penetrated the surface, and the cutter edge showed significant wear.

The reality is that any economy-grade ring cutter that is available in most EDs is able to cut pure titanium (grade 2), hardened steel, and any other conventional precious metals such as gold and silver. Even if the ring cutter has to be discarded after removing titanium or hardened steel rings, it does not pose any additional danger to a patient. The problem arises with modern titanium alloys on which a hardened high-grade steel ring cutter has to be used. Some jewelers report that it takes approximately 10 minutes to cut a 2-mm-thick, 7-mm-wide ring made of aerospace-grade Ti/6Al/4V and approximately 15 minutes for the same size Ti-6/6/2 ring using a high-grade steel ring cutter (personal communication with http://www.titaniumstyle.com). Apparently, most of the jewelers affirm that the purer CP2 grade is more than adequate for jewelry situations, and its durability far exceeds precious metals. Aerospace (grade 5) titanium most of the time is used for tension-set diamond designs, and it is possible that these higher-grade alloys are more of a gimmick and do not actually contribute anything (personal communication with http://www.titaniumstyle.com).

Although the choice of ring materials is left to the taste and common sense of the consumer, we can make some recommendations about that choice. In addition to generally well-known recommendations for ring wearing (eg, take it off during manual work and sports), we suggest entirely refraining from wearing titanium rings of aerospace grade. We recommend this because no one can guarantee that a local ED will possess a hardened steel ring cutter and, consequently, a slight injury with marked edema may be disastrous for the survival of a finger.

An electric ring cutter is a good option in an emergency setting where speed, safety, and comfort are essential. The chrome blade usually cuts the strongest alloys in less than 10 seconds, safely, without heat. Unfortunately, it is 30 times more expensive than an economy-grade ring cutter. It must be stressed that even with a high-grade steel manual ring cutter, it takes 10 to 15 minutes to remove a titanium alloy ring. The time required is of paramount importance because prolonged wriggling and twitching of the finger during manual removal can inflict additional soft tissue (eg, digital vein and artery) injury. We do not recommend a diamond cutter, but if it is used, irrigation is mandatory because of the high revolutions per minute, which generates excessive heat. Always make 2 opposite cuts, thus splitting the ring into 2 parts.

posted by roofus at 6:35 AM on January 28, 2008

Oh, dear, I never thought about that. My husband and I have aircraft-grade titanium wedding rings because of my allergies to a lot of other metals.
posted by lleachie at 6:44 AM on January 28, 2008

A friend of mine got a titanium wedding ring, and they had a special groove so that you could cut through it really quickly. I don't know if that's standard, or if they asked for it special.
posted by Comrade_robot at 6:49 AM on January 28, 2008

I don't know if that's standard, or if they asked for it special.

It isn't standard, as the titanium wedding band I'm wearing right now is solid all the way around.
posted by phredgreen at 7:06 AM on January 28, 2008

I got mine from an online shop and it has the little groove. I had no idea why until now.
posted by studentbaker at 7:46 AM on January 28, 2008

If you're leery about getting an un-cuttable ring, maybe consider tungsten instead of titanium? It's a heavier ring, but it has the advantage of not requiring you to lose a finger if you want to remove it and can't. Didn't really price titanium, but my tungsten ring was $350, so it's not that expensive.
posted by pdb at 7:58 AM on January 28, 2008

I know this is a question not an answer, but why would you want a ring that can't be cut off?
posted by missmagenta at 8:06 AM on January 28, 2008

I know this is a question not an answer, but why would you want a ring that can't be cut off?

My understanding of the question was exactly the opposite -- s/he wants a ring that can be cut off, especially in an emergency where it's necessary to avoid losing the finger it's on due to swelling.

"CP" grade titanium is thus preferred to aircraft-grade, since aircraft grade is harder and more difficult to cut. Hence the question of whether WalMart's rings are CP (cuttable, good) or aircraft (bad).

More generally, I don't think that people who buy 'aircraft grade' Ti rings buy them because they can't be cut, I suspect they buy them because it sounds cool and because the hardness makes them scratch and wear-resistant. But not owning one I'm just pontificating there.

Sorry that I don't have anything more to contribute to the conversation...just saw the opportunity to try to clarify.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:23 AM on January 28, 2008

How do you determine if a titanium ring is made of aircraft grade titanium?

I have a titanium wedding ring, but i have no idea what grade titanium it is, I and don't have any of the documentation that came with the ring.
posted by ShooBoo at 8:37 AM on January 28, 2008

pdb, I think tungsten is worse:

Tungsten carbide rings require special consideration because they are so hard that no ring cutter can cut them. Tungsten rings are the most wear-resistant rings available. It is about 10 times harder than 18-carat gold, 5 times harder than tool steel, and 4 times harder than titanium. These rings can only be removed by cracking them into pieces with standard, vice grip–style locking pliers. This removal by cracking is much harder to control and consequently much more dangerous. This means that any ED must have grip-style locking pliers to crack the tungsten carbide ring as well.

From the same article above.
posted by roofus at 8:47 AM on January 28, 2008

Roofus -

It's my understanding that tungsten can be shattered, which is much preferable to not being removable - my jeweler said that removing a tungsten ring can be done with a hammer, or with vise-grips (as the cited article mentions), which would no doubt damage my finger, but my feeling is that at least a damaged finger heals. A removed finger can't grow back.
posted by pdb at 10:25 AM on January 28, 2008

Tungsten is not the same as tungsten carbide (unless someone in the jewelery industry has decided to use them interchangeably).
posted by pombe at 10:35 AM on January 28, 2008

Titanium can be cut. It is stronger than steel only when measured by weight. You're thinking of tungsten.

I have a titanium watch, and it scratches quite easily. If it can scratch, it can be cut.
posted by gjc at 6:00 PM on January 28, 2008

According to the manufacturer of Boone Titanium Rings,
The very first thing I did when I started making titanium rings is cut them off of my own finger by different methods. Titanium is about as hard as stainless steel, so things that cut steel such as a hacksaw or Dremel tool can be used. Titanium has a reputation of being stronger than steel. It's not necessarily so. It's the high strength to weight ratio that is the reason it is used in aerospace applications. I've had a customer that did have to get one cut off. They were able to remove it without a problem, and she ordered another titanium ring! (FAQ 2)
By the way, if you haven't yet, I highly encourage you to check out this guy for getting your ring, especially the ones with the wood and stone inlays. His products look amazing; the future Mrs Monkey and I intend to order our wedding bands from him.
posted by FlyingMonkey at 6:48 AM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

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