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Tell someone you’ve recently changed cars and one of the first questions they might ask is “what colour is it?” Whether a muted grey or black sedan or a bright red sports car, the colour of the vehicle we drive is in many ways a self-expression, a statement about who we are. But how much do you know about what goes into giving vehicles a bright and lasting coating?

Colours count

The colours of vehicles are more important than just personal taste, they can be practical. The bright colours of ambulances and fire engines make them highly visible, prompting rapid reactions from other users on the road. They can also tell a story. Recently a large city council had a debate on what its police cars should look like; should they be primarily white, or a more intimidating dark grey? The less threatening white colour was retained, a signal of openness to the community. That white colour used on cars is derived primarily from an amazing pigment: titanium dioxide (TiO2).

Brightening and cooling your ride

Titanium dioxide is used not just to create white paints, it is essential in the full spectrum of colours available for cars. It brings out the brightness of colours, making cars look amazing for years. Its opacity provides full substrate coverage with less paint, saving weight and costs. By reflecting visible light and the associated solar energy, the build-up of heat in your car is minimised and damage to the paint over time is reduced.

Lasts for years

Titanium dioxide not only makes the paints we use on cars more durable and long lasting but also the other materials used to make cars. Car makers are increasingly using plastic on exterior parts because it is lightweight and scratch and dent resistant. TiO2 plays a critical role in these plastic parts, making them more durable and weather resistant, as well as giving them better colours and opacity.

Titanium dioxide is essential for making cars the colour we want them to be and keeping them that way for as long as possible. Because of this, it is used in many phases of the car manufacturing process, and is ingrained in modern vehicles in many new and exciting ways.