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Laser surface colouring of titanium for contemporary jewellery

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date03/2008
JournalSurface Engineering
Number of pages7
Original languageEnglish


This paper describes work which emerged through a need to understand more about the potential of laser surface engineering for use in the creative industries. The method of creation of contemporary jewellery pieces and the resultant 'Ocular' jewellery series are described from the creative point of view. The work demonstrates how laser controlled oxide growth on Ti-6Al-4V alloy under ambient conditions can be used as an artistic tool by producing precisely defined colours. Use of the method to produce regular areas of even colour and to reproduce freehand drawings on a titanium alloy surface is described. Analysis highlights interference as the main colouring mechanism and suggests a graded surface layer, progressing from an outer layer of TiO2 to lower layers rich in TiO and Ti2O. The model of research by practice presented in this paper offers a contribution to the current debate on partnerships between art and science and engineering.