With the growing popularity of titanium, some disreputable merchandisers are passing off other materials as the more expensive metal. Popular Science looks at a surefire way to prove what that credit card/crowbar/ring is really made of. "Hold any genuine titanium metal object to a grinding wheel (even a little grindstone on a Dremel tool will do), and it gives off a shower of brilliant white sparks unlike any softer common metal. The sparks are tiny pieces of cut titanium--the friction of the grinder heats them till they burn white-hot. Hold a grindstone to the shackle of a "titanium" padlock from Master Lock, however, and you'll instead see the telltale fine, long, yellow sparks of high-carbon steel."
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