Coatings on double edged razor blades

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In summary, double edge razor blades for shaving are made of a special corrosion-resistant steel alloy, often carbide steel, which is hard enough to hold its shape but also malleable enough for processing. The preferred steel alloy may contain carbon, silicon, manganese, chromium, and molybdenum, with the remainder being iron. The blades may also be electroplated with coatings such as platinum, chromium, or teflon, which are applied for extended wear life. The color of the coating would typically be silver or gray for platinum or chromium, and white for teflon. However, wiping the blade to clean it may remove the t
  • #1
symbolipoint
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What are the coatings on the razor blades for shaving, and how stable on the blade are they?
How exactly are coatings put onto double edge razor blades (for shaving), how are they put onto the blades, and how stable are these coatings, and how meaningful are they if they are removed after cleaning the blade (like when cleaning the blade after the shave is done)? If these coatings are so easily removed in rinsing or wiping like to take off any remaining hair and soap, then this would seem to change the product quality making the blade have its quality for only a single use, so the intent of the coating seems lost. I do not understand. Can someone who knows about these things explain? The possible choices of coatings are platinum, chromium, ceramics, teflon, maybe others. Stuck on the blades? Attached firmly, loosely? What? How?
 
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  • #2
I found this about the materials. Nothing about the methods or durability.

CARBON STEEL:
  • 1.2% High Carbon Steel: Premium grade of carbon steel for maximum sharpness & hardness.
  • 1.1% High Carbon Steel: Premium grade of carbon steel for maximum sharpness &hardness.
  • 1095 High Carbon Steel: Standard grade of carbon steel used on many common razor blades.
  • 1075 Low Carbon Steel: Low grade of carbon steel or ‘blue tempered spring steel’.
SPECIAL ALLOY:
Ask about our proprietary alloy that provides added strength & lifetime with maximum sharpness.

STAINLESS STEEL:
  • 440 C Stainless Steel: Premium grade of steel for maximum sharpness & corrosion resistance.
  • 440 A Stainless Steel: Premium grade of steel for maximum sharpness & corrosion resistance.
  • 420 Stainless Steel: Standard grade of steel combining sharpness, corrosion resistance & cost.
  • 301 Stainless Steel: Austenitic stainless steel for maximum corrosion resistance and strength.
HIGH SPEED STEEL:
M2 / M42 / Powered Metals: These materials offer maximum toughness and strength in high impact applications when blades break before they wear out.

BI-METAL:
The strength & durability of a High-Speed Steel cutting edge combined with the low cost and ductility of a carbon steel base material.

TUNGSTEN CARBIDE:
We have specialized grades of Ultra Fine and Sub-Micron grain sizes that create pristine sharpness, high hardness, and strength. With 2 RMS surface finishing and each blade inspected at 50X, we provide a PERFECT blade, which lasts up to 100’s of times longer than steel blades, which are the best in the blade industry. Our re-sharpening program further increases the cost-effectiveness to the customer.

ZIRCONIA CERAMICS:
We use a unique grade of Zirconia ceramic. With similar properties to Tungsten Carbide, our ceramic material is even harder and more resistant to heat. This results in the longest lasting blade in many applications. Our re-sharpening program further increases the cost-effectiveness to the customer.

COATINGS: TiN / TiALN / TiC / Ceramic / Teflon™
These are the most common coatings we offer for extended wear life on any blade. Ask us about these or describe your application. You can test options and select the coating that is best for you. We offer coatings that provide lubricity and strength that maximizes the blade lifetime and translates into production savings for our customers.
 
  • #3
Anorlunda,
I found the same website as you (quoted). Still did not get into the questions about the coatings.
 
  • #4
Perhaps your questions are better addressed to the people that put up the website. :rolleyes:
 
  • #5
Tom.G said:
Perhaps your questions are better addressed to the people that put up the website. :rolleyes:
Doing THAT would imply to the company that I were interested in their trade or corporate secrets. I am not. I am interested in the technology of the coatings put onto double edged razor blades, regardless of the companies who produce the blades; so I asked on Physicsforums. Maybe such technologies are so rarely used that only a very tiny number of companies understand them, so this knowledge is not common enough for explanations or descriptions through Physicsforums.
 
  • #6
The only other input I can toss in is that I once cleaned a coated razor blade with Isopropyl Alcohol and it removed the coating. Made for an uncomfortable shave! Rinsing under running cold water, even with some light rubbing with a finger, seemed to have no effect. (Other than a sore finger when I got careless!)

symbolipoint said:
Doing THAT would imply to the company that I were interested in their trade or corporate secrets.
And the downside of that would be?... they don't answer?
 
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  • #7
The information is out there but you must be more precise about which particular type of blade you are interested in. Cheap blades are carbon steel which are oiled (so they will rust given time), others are plated, tool steel, or stainless steel (that will not hold an edge). The coatings are selected for the material. What colour is the coating?

Re: Gillette. I quote from: http://www.madehow.com/Volume-5/Safety-Razor.html
Blades
Razor blades are periodically exposed to high levels of moisture and therefore must be made from a special corrosion resistant steel alloy. Furthermore, the grade of steel must be hard enough to allow the blade to hold its shape, yet malleable enough to allow it to be processed. The preferred type of steel is called carbide steel because it is made using a tungsten-carbon compound. One patented combination of elements used in stainless steel blade construction includes carbon (0.45-0.55%), silicon (0.4-1%); manganese (0.5-1.0%); chromium (12-14%) and molybdenum (1.0-1.6%); with the remainder being iron.
 
  • #8
Baluncore said:
The information is out there but you must be more precise about which particular type of blade you are interested in. Cheap blades are carbon steel which are oiled (so they will rust given time), others are plated, tool steel, or stainless steel (that will not hold an edge). The coatings are selected for the material. What colour is the coating?

Re: Gillette. I quote from: http://www.madehow.com/Volume-5/Safety-Razor.html
Does that mean that such double edge razor blades are electroplated with platinum or chromium, or does that mean that the steel alloy contains either chromium or platinum? Which? Also, if a blade is "teflon coated", how is the teflon applied and attached? Users are told to not wipe the blade to clean it, but we can do so to a teflon-coated frying pan with no problem, so I do not understand.

You ask about the color. NO COLOR. Only the typical appearance of a steel blade. Edges look about the same, maybe just a little darker or grayer, but no color.

No true online information about this, which is why I asked on PhysicsForums. I also sent email to a shaving products merchant but he did not have anything to add, but directed me to a video which still never contained the answers to my curiosity questions.

I guess I should try sending a old-style letter (Write on paper, put in envelope, send in the mail) to some blade manufacturer such as Gillette.
 
  • #9
symbolipoint said:
Does that mean that such double edge razor blades are electroplated with platinum or chromium, or does that mean that the steel alloy contains either chromium or platinum?
I think you are confused by the huge number of irrelevant metallurgical possibilities. Why do you believe platinum is used for razor blades?

The steel used by Gillette is a chromium based steel. The surface of the steel blade develops a coating of chromium oxide as it cools, so it becomes rust resistant. The variety of stainless steel used is a hard composition that retains an edge.
symbolipoint said:
You ask about the color. NO COLOR. Only the typical appearance of a steel blade. Edges look about the same, maybe just a little darker or grayer, but no color.
The stainless surface can be brushed or polished to give it a uniform appearance. The ground edges of the blade may reflect light differently due to scratches left following the grinding and lapping of the edge.

Other manufacturers use carbon steel with chemical or heat treated surfaces.
You need to identify why you need to know about razor blade composition and finish. Without some direction to your inquiry there will be too many answers.
 
  • #10
Baluncore said:
I think you are confused by the huge number of irrelevant metallurgical possibilities. Why do you believe platinum is used for razor blades?

The steel used by Gillette is a chromium based steel. The surface of the steel blade develops a coating of chromium oxide as it cools, so it becomes rust resistant. The variety of stainless steel used is a hard composition that retains an edge.

The stainless surface can be brushed or polished to give it a uniform appearance. The ground edges of the blade may reflect light differently due to scratches left following the grinding and lapping of the edge.

Other manufacturers use carbon steel with chemical or heat treated surfaces.
You need to identify why you need to know about razor blade composition and finish. Without some direction to your inquiry there will be too many answers.
For the last question, I really do not need to know for any reason. I am very curious to know; but do not need to know.

Requoting from you:
Why do you believe platinum is used for razor blades?
Reason is trusting in Truth In Labeling. Some of the double edge razor blades have "platinum" as part of their product name. This is not my lying.
 
  • #11
symbolipoint said:
Reason is trusting in Truth In Labeling. Some of the double edge razor blades have "platinum" as part of their product name.
Then the product name is probably a business name or trademark, so does not describe the product.
 
  • #12
Baluncore said:
Then the product name is probably a business name or trademark, so does not describe the product.
Here is a list of three examples:
  • Astra - Superior Platinum
  • Gillette - Platinum Plus
  • Unnamed brand from two nearly identical blade dispensers - platinum chrome blades (written on the dispensers)

The expectation of truth in labeling suggests that platinum must be a componant in some manner in these blades.
 
  • #13
symbolipoint said:
The expectation of truth in labeling suggests that platinum must be a componant in some manner in these blades.
It is my opinion that the word Platinum is being used to describes the colour of the finish on the chromium based stainless steel.

The word Platinum also suggests a higher price or premium product, which is part of the marketing. There is no indication that the metallic element platinum is employed.Gillette® Platinum-Plus® Double-Edge Blade. “This stainless steel razor blade wears well ... ”
Platinum-Plus is clearly marked with the ® symbol as a registered trade mark.
The Gillette® mark appears to be owned by Procter & Gamble.“Astra® Superior Platinum”, “ … these stainless steel blades … ”
“Astra® Superior Stainless”, are lower cost.
Astra may be made in Russia by Procter & Gamble, or in the Czech Republic.
It appears that Astra® is definitely registered, but maybe not the “Superior Platinum”. You would need to search the registry to find out if those words or phrases were a part of a registered trademark image.“Chrome Platinum” are made or marketed by BiC®, Personna, Hill Country® and probably many others.There were also high carbon steel blades that developed a blue finish following heat treatment. That may explain the origin of for example “Gillette Silver Blue” which are now stainless blades with Teflon coating. They do not contain silver.

The American Express® Platinum Card does not contain any platinum. It is the colour.
 
  • #14
Baluncore,
Great explanation, finally. Now I can also remember another more recent use of "platinum" for marketing - of healthcare coverage plans. The more expensive metal in the level of the plan means the person covered has to spend ever-more money on premiums. MARKETING! As you suggest (or say very clearly now).
 
  • #15
The problem here is that Platinum and Gold have switched places as far as price is concerned. Gold is more than 50% more expensive than Platinum. Should we demand the razor manufacturers change their slogans?

BoB
 
  • #16
rbelli1 said:
Should we demand the razor manufacturers change their slogans?
The relative price of metals is irrelevant and will change over the centuries. The only certainty is a trademark, which is a registered image that does not change.

A ® trademark can live in perpetuity, unlike a © that expires soon after the author, or a patent that dies as fast as a dog.

I can offer you a gold plated guarantee that platinum, gold, silver, blue and chrome are colours, not metals. They also describe a grade of finish.

If you wear a Nylon shirt you will probably buy a “Very Stainless ®” blade, But if you wear an “Organic Cotton ®” shirt, how much more would you be prepared to pay for the “Premium Platinum ®” blade? You owe it to yourself.
The blades are probably made from the same steel in the same factory, with only the packaging, ® and price being different.

A registered trademark will continue to lead loyal generations of customers by the nose, while the product changes with time and technology, each change being advertised as an improvement to the original.
 
  • #17
Platinum bicycle for sale, with the world platinum in Stickers on the forks. Then spray painted a shiny chrome color.
 
  • #20
Marketing a commodity such as a razor blade requires product differentiation. The coated blades may actually be more durable. Those who purchase them believe the more expensive blades are better. The placebo effect may well be driving a significant proportion of premium blade sales.

The examples given appear to be very thin surface coatings of; diamond, a hint of iridium, PTFE, or a ceramic. Diamond coatings and ceramics technology are widely used for industrial cutting tools. The excess capacity is now being applied to razor blade marketing.

Electroplated iridium was used on pen nibs to reduce wear. PTFE is not good on a cutting edge but will lubricate the face of the blade, where only soap was once used.

I think the use of the term platinum reached a place in marketing razor blades from spark plug technology, premium products and the placebo effect.
 
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  • #21
I just noticed a video that shows in detail how the coatings are applied.

 
  • #22
The video doesn’t really show the coating process in detail. It describes that the coating is applied and then baked on. It shows the blades being transferred into an oven. 😕
 
  • #24
sysprog
Nice try, but I have not seen anything yet about how any various coatings are applied and attached. No apparent experts discussing the scientific or engineering technicalities of blades. The topics I saw there (Against The Grain Shaving Forum) so far are discussions about shavers' experiences in using different blades. Not a bad set of topics - just not the the point of my original question.

I will look through a couple more pages from that section of that forum and see what if anything.
 
  • #25
A google scholar search gives LOTS of patents for blade coating and manufacture, from companies world-wide.
This reminds me of the finishing industry 30 years ago - "big secret" as to what is in a MinWax colorant/stain/protectant product for example.

With the advent of health research into human exposure to solvents and colorant compounds this all went south. We now have water-based polyurethane with full disclosure labelling.

Amazing how remarkably chemically similar many of these coatings are. So much for unproven claims masked as trade secrets.

This is what you are hitting your head against I suspect.
 
  • #26
jim mcnamara,
I really do not understand what you said. The feeling from your post by my reading it is, Trade Secrets - the companies will not tell. If that, then that will have to be the answer. Only the companies which manufacture the blades or develop the method know the how's and will not share it in any clear way with anyone else. That must be why I have not found any answers and nobody seems to emerge who can say.

I am not familiar with Google Scholar Search. Maybe a Google search for Scholar Search?
 
  • #28
The real answer to 'how are the metal coatings put onto the blades' is SPUTTERING.

(The idea was not clear when I asked earlier.)
 
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Related to Coatings on double edged razor blades

1. What is the purpose of the coating on double edged razor blades?

The coating on double edged razor blades serves multiple purposes. It helps to reduce friction between the blade and the skin, making for a smoother and more comfortable shave. It also helps to protect the blade from corrosion and prolong its lifespan.

2. What materials are commonly used for the coating on double edged razor blades?

The most common materials used for the coating on double edged razor blades are platinum, chrome, and ceramic. These materials are known for their durability and ability to reduce friction.

3. How is the coating applied to double edged razor blades?

The coating is typically applied through a process called physical vapor deposition (PVD). This involves heating the coating material until it vaporizes and then depositing it onto the razor blade using a vacuum chamber. This results in a thin, even coating that adheres well to the blade.

4. Does the coating affect the sharpness of the razor blade?

In most cases, the coating does not affect the sharpness of the razor blade. However, some coatings may be thicker or more abrasive, which can slightly dull the blade over time. It is important to choose a high-quality coating that will not significantly impact the sharpness of the blade.

5. Are there any potential health concerns with the coating on double edged razor blades?

In general, there are no major health concerns associated with the coating on double edged razor blades. However, some people may be allergic or sensitive to certain coating materials, so it is important to check the ingredients and choose a coating that is safe for your skin.

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