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What outer materials are used at Thomastik-Infeld?
Thomastik-Infeld uses as winding material either flat or round wires made of Aluminum, Silver, Chromium-nickel steel, Nickel or Wolfram. Gold and Tin are used for plated strings:
Aluminum and its alloys are the most widely used light alloys in the string production. With a density of 2.7 g/cm³, aluminum is the lightest metal in the string industry. For this reason, it is mainly used for violin and viola A-strings with synthetic cores.
There is a wide range of silver alloys. Some of these may also contain slight quantities of nickel, which, in rare cases, can cause allergic reactions. However, Thomastik-Infeld also uses completely nickel-free silver. Silver has a density of approx. 10.5 g/cm³ and is largely non-corrosive, though it can discolor if it comes into contact with air-borne sulfur. If UV light also comes into contact with the silver, such a discoloration often occurs more quickly. However, this has absolutely no effect on the quality or sound of the string. It is simply an optical reaction.
Chromium-nickel steel is also known as chrome, Nirosta steel or stainless steel. If you see “chrome” stated in our catalog, this always refers to a chromium-nickel steel. Pure chrome is a very brittle material, which cannot be processed, so we need to use an alloy including nickel. Nickel is very corrosion-resistant and has a high density. However, it can sometimes trigger allergies.
Nickel has a density of 8.9 g/cm³ and is used as winding layer for many strings due to its extremely high corrosion resistance and easy workability.
Gold has a density of approx. 19.3 g/cm³. Gold alloys are only used as winding wires, as the material is too weak to be a core wire. Its strength is insufficient. In its pure form, it would just increase the string price without providing significant advantages. Thomastik-Infeld produces gold-plated strings.
Tungsten has a density of approx. 19.3 g/cm³, making it just as heavy as gold. It’s extremely difficult to make a flat wire out of a tungsten round wire. Thus, the material cannot be used as an external winding material of orchestral strings as this always needs to be a flat wire layer. This means, tungsten winding is never the outermost layer. Instead, it is a layer between the core and the outer winding.
Titanium has a density of 4.5 g/cm³. Due to its oxide layer, titanium does not produce the ideal response, but it is the only material that is also biocompatible. This means the material doesn’t trigger any allergies! Thus, Thomastik-Infeld is currently working on special titanium alloys to develop strings which are solely made of titanium, making them completely suitable for allergy sufferers.
There are tin-plated strings in the Thomastik-Infeld catalog. However, tin is not used as a winding material, but for plating steel-core strings. To do this, the steel wire is pulled through a 260° tin bath, which allows the string core to absorb tin on its surface. The excess is then wiped off. This is how a tin-plated wire is produced. To increase the corrosion resistance, the wire can also have a nickel barrier layer. Thomastik-Infeld gives all its tin-plated E-strings a nickel barrier layer, except for AL01 and SP01.