High-tech Titanium: Eyewear, so light and comfortable: a material revolution

22. January 2013|Press Releases, Titan Minimal Art

High-tech Titanium

High-tech Titanium

High-tech Titanium

High-tech Titanium

Making a vision become reality calls for passion, patience, perfection and permanent expansion of your own horizons. From the beginning, the people at Silhouette were ready to think outside the box, and in the search for exclusive, versatile materials and technologies, to break down barriers – for revolutionary lightness, cool solidity and maximum flexibility, to present invisible features to users in a practical way; in short: to develop extremely minimal eyewear.

“Already at the beginning of the 1990s we were experimenting with different materials such as phosphorous bronze, aluminum and copper alloys. These materials, however, fulfilled our demanding requirements only to a certain extent, if at all,” said Rupert Spindelbalker, who is in charge of Silhouette’s research and development, when talking about the challenging beginnings. Only the discovery of a new flexible, yet stable, titanium alloy by the research and development department that Rupert Spindelbalker heads, and the perfect cooperation of his team with the designers and production staff made, what had seemed up to then, the impossible possible. Silhouette also developed processing methods that permitted consistent material purity and consequently, optimum properties. “The secret is in the interplay of the material and the processing – only when both of these components are at the highest level, is the eyewear then, too,” said Spindelbalker.

The material

“Back to the future …” is how you could describe Silhouette’s path to high-tech titanium. It was one of the founding fathers of organic chemistry, the German Justus von Liebig, who succeeded in extracting metallic titanium from its principal mineral ores in 1831. But it was to take more than a hundred years before the discovery of this successful chemist – whom we can also credit for the invention of baking powder – would be ready for commercial use. It was not because of its availability, for titanium is not rare; on the contrary, after aluminum, iron and magnesium, it is the fourth most common metal. However, it does not occur in pure form, but rather as an oxide in the minerals rutile or ilmenite. The extraction of pure titanium is a laborious process. One that has its price, of course.

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