Hey! My Metal is burning!

Pewter melts at approximately 400 degrees Fahrenheit, so what I like to do is fool around in the garage with a blowtorch (well not ‘fooling around’, I am very careful), melting it, trying to cast it, it fails, I melt it again, and so on. I have limited amounts of of pewter, and every time I melt it, I lose a little. Why? Because some of it burns away, and that is very annoying. Pewter does different things at different temperatures. Room temperature it’s solid, around 400 degrees it’s liquid, and just above that, it burns up. Remember my post on fire? When something burns, it means that that thing is very rapidly oxidizing. When some things reach a certain temperature, they grab on to Oxygen unusually fast. That is where when I am melting pewter, I have to be careful not to keep the torch on it too long, or the pewter that is exposed to air grabs on to it, and the outside literally turns to dust. I could try separating out the Oxygen from the burned pewter by smelting, but it may not work, because pewter is an alloy (a combination of two or more different metals) and if it did, it would be a lot of work for a very small reward.

Everyone has heard of Titanium, the “space-age metal that is super strong and light, but is very rare.” Well, not all of that statement is true, as Titanium is 100 times as abundant as copper. Unfortunately, smelting it is not so easy as mining it, because the point at which Titanium melts is very close to the point it burns, so to smelt it, it has to be done in a vacuum, where there is no Oxygen to grab on to (very expensive), or under inert gas (also very expensive).

Unfortunately, the blowtorch is out of propane, so I cannot take any pictures of the pewter in the process of burning, but I will try to take one when I get a chance.


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