Titanium is the 9th most abundant element in the world and Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) is the oxide of the metal, which occurs naturally in several kinds of rock and mineral sands.
Pure TiO2 is a fine, white powder and is the brightest, whitest pigment available. Highly refractive, ultraviolet absorbing, non-toxic and inert, TiO2 has been used for many years (over 90) in a vast range of industrial applications and consumer goods to impart whiteness and opacity to paints, printing inks, plastics, textiles, ceramics, construction materials, cosmetics, food, pharmaceuticals, etc.
TiO2 is produced primarily in the pigmentary form (over 98% of total production) making use of its excellent light-scattering properties in the wide range of applications that require white opacity and brightness.
TiO2 is also produced as an ultrafine (nanomaterial) product when different properties such as transparency and maximum UV light absorption are required, such as in cosmetic sunscreens. Ultrafine TiO2 products are also used in a range of environmental applications such as catalysts supports in the automotive industry to remove harmful exhaust gas emissions, and in power stations to remove nitrous oxides (NOx). Approximately 1-2% of the total production of TiO2 is in this ultrafine form.
If you want to know more about TiO2 , please consult our brochure, our frequently asked questions, or visit the Brilliant White (www.brilliantwhite.life) website which provides accessible and engaging information on the key role titanium dioxide plays in enriching the world around us. Brilliant White publishes regular articles on how titanium dioxide is used across a range of applications, from paints, inks, paper, plastics, food, cosmetics, ceramics, fibers, rubber and many more.
Pigment grade TiO2 is manufactured to optimize the scattering of visible light which requires primary particles in the size range of approximately half the wave length of the visible light, whereas ultrafine (nano) TiO2 is engineered to have a primary particles in the nanoparticle size range, that is below 100 nm. Accordingly the scattering of visible light is significantly reduced and the TiO2 nanoparticles are transparent. Transparency and other properties related to this size provide different beneficial properties from those seen for the pigmentary product.
Ultrafine TiO2 has been used since the 1950s to reduce the environmental emissions of Nitrogen Oxides. It is used in “Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR)” systems that convert the nitrogen oxides into harmless nitrogen and water. Commercial SCR systems are typically installed in large industrial boilers, combustion plants and stationary or automotive diesel engines.
The transparency and UV absorbance of ultrafine TiO2 allows for its effective use as a protective ingredient in sunscreens. It contributes to high sun protection factors (SPF) and has been used for many years to provide protection from the harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
Another application uses the photocatalytic properties of ultrafine TiO2 to provide self-cleaning surfaces e.g. on glass and cement.
Although ultrafine TiO2 is comprised of primary particles in the nano size range, an inherent property of ultrafine TiO2 is that the primary particles are strongly bound or fused together by chemical bonds to form aggregates. These aggregates readily agglomerate to form particles in the micrometer size range.