Ti-22 – Should You Believe the Hype?

Those of you who stayed awake in chemistry already know what this column is about. For the rest of us, Ti is the symbol and 22 the atomic number of Titanium, the latest and greatest buzzword in the scuba industry. On a recent dive trip to Catalina, I was soundly ridiculed by two fellow Dive Utah staff members for not having a Titanium dive knife (apparently the coolness of the dry suit has worn off). I decided to do a bit of research into the Titanium craze and see if I could find out just how useful it might be.

First off, what is Titanium? It is a metallic element, one of the lightest and strongest to be used in manufacturing. How many uses does it have? I’ve seen it in knives, wet suits, dry suits, watches and regulators. No doubt there’s other uses already or soon to be out there. Those items come with a extra gift, a bigger price tag. So are they worth it?

Well the jury’s still out on wet and dressiest. Titanium flakes placed in the suit are supposed to reflect heat back to your body. Does it work? A test in Scuba Diving Magazine was inconclusive. But if you think you’re going to be warmer, then mind over matter, you most likely will be. How about watches and regulators? Titanium is proven to be more resistant to scratching and corrosion. If you’re going to take proper care of you gear, these are moot points. A regulator made entirely of Titanium is probably a bit much, but one coated with it might make the difference for those occasional bumps and drops. The same is true in a watch.

That brings us to knives. Though I’d never admit it to my colleagues, this makes the most sense. I don’t know about your dive knife but mine has so much rust on it, I could stab a shark and it would die of tetanus! Sure steel wool and silicone grease help, but Titanium eliminates the need.

So it would appear that Lynn and Bruce are cooler than me with their Titanium knives. That’s fine. Once I upgrade to a Titanium dry suit, I’ll be back on top.

Let’s go diving!
Summer 1998