Titanium Oxide


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Application of Titanium Oxide

The most important application areas are paints and varnishes as well as paper and plastics, which account for about 80% of the world's titanium dioxide consumption. Other pigment applications such as printing inks, fibers, rubber, cosmetic products and food account for another 8%. The rest is used in other applications, for instance the production of technical pure titanium, glass and glass ceramics, electrical ceramics, catalysts, electric conductors and chemical intermediates. It is also in most red-coloured candy.


Titanium dioxide is the most widely used white pigment because of its brightness and very high refractive index, in which it is surpassed only by a few other materials. Approximately 4.6 million tons of pigmentary TiO2 are used annually worldwide, and this number is expected to increase as utilization continues to rise. When deposited as a thin film, its refractive index and colour make it an excellent reflective optical coating for dielectric mirrors and some gemstones like "mystic fire topaz". TiO2 is also an effective opacifier in powder form, where it is employed as a pigment to provide whiteness and opacity to products such as paintscoatingsplasticspapersinksfoodsmedicines (i.e. pills and tablets) as well as most toothpastes. In paint, it is often referred to offhandedly as "the perfect white", "the whitest white", or other similar terms. Opacity is improved by optimal sizing of the titanium dioxide particles. Some grades of titanium based pigments as used in sparkly paints, plastics, finishes and pearlescent cosmetics are man-made pigments whose particles have two or more layers of various oxides – often titanium dioxide, iron oxide or alumina – in order to have glittering, iridescent and or pearlescent effects similar to crushed mica or guanine-based products. In addition to these effects a limited colour change is possible in certain formulations depending on how and at which angle the finished product is illuminated and the thickness of the oxide layer in the pigment particle; one or more colours appear by reflection while the other tones appear due to interference of the transparent titanium dioxide layers. In some products, the layer of titanium dioxide is grown in conjunction with iron oxide by calcination of titanium salts (sulfates, chlorates) around 800 °C or other industrial deposition methods such as chemical vapour deposition on substrates such as mica platelets or even silicon dioxide crystal platelets of no more than 50 µm in diameter The iridescent effect in these titanium oxide particles (which are only partly natural) is unlike the opaque effect obtained with usual ground titanium oxide pigment obtained by mining, in which case only a certain diameter of the particle is considered and the effect is due only to scattering.

In ceramic glazes titanium dioxide acts as an opacifier and seeds crystal formation.

The exterior of the Saturn V rocket was painted with titanium dioxide; this later allowed astronomers .to determine that J002E3 was the S-IVB stage from Apollo 12 and not an asteroid.

Sunscreen and UV blocking pigments

In cosmetic and skin care products, titanium dioxide is used as a pigment, sunscreen and a thickener. As a sunscreen, it is notable in that combined with zinc oxide , it is considered to be an effective sunscreen that is less harmful to coral reefs than sunscreens that include chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Titanium dioxide is found in the majority of physical sunscreens because of its high refractive index, its strong UV light absorbing capabilities and its resistance to discolouration under ultraviolet light. This advantage enhances its stability and ability to protect the skin from ultraviolet light. Nano-scaled (particle size of 30–40 nm) titanium dioxide particles are primarily used in sunscreen lotion because they scatter visible light less than titanium dioxide pigments, while still providing UV protection. Sunscreens designed for infants or people with sensitive skin are often based on titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide, as these mineral UV blockers are believed to cause less skin irritation than other UV absorbing chemicals.

It is used as a tattoo pigment and in styptic pencils. Titanium dioxide is produced in varying particle sizes, oil and water dispersible, and in certain grades for the cosmetic industry.

 is used extensively in plastics and other applications as a white pigment or an opacifier and for its UV resistant properties where the powder disperses light – unlike organic UV absorbers – and reduces UV damage, due mostly to the particle's high refractive index. Certain polymers used in the concrete or those used to impregnate concrete as a reinforcement are sometimes charged with titanium white pigment for UV shielding in the construction industry, but it only delays the oxidative photodegradation of the polymer in question, which is said to "chalk" as it flakes off due to lowered impact strength and may crumble after years of exposure in direct sunlight if UV stabilizers have not been included.