Extending the life of outdoor plastics helps keep them looking great and makes them more reliable and sustainable.
If you’ve ever noticed how exposure to sunlight can dull the colours of an old photograph, a wooden garden bench or even your clothes, you’ll have witnessed the power of the sun’s rays. Now take a look at your guttering and PVC window frames, or the plastic furniture that sits in your garden.
If they haven’t been faded over time, chances are they contain a substance that helps these plastics retain their brilliance and durability against the elements, saving you both time and money.
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a versatile substance used in a wide range of products including paint, paper, plastics and food products. Among its many useful qualities, TiO2’s refractive properties, durability and brilliance of colour make it an ideal additive to plastics used outdoors, as it gives them a vital hardiness to withstand weathering and light damage.
Fighting the elements
As well as being naturally durable against the elements, TiO2 has high UV-absorptive and light scattering power, which helps prevent the ageing of materials exposed to the elements. When incorporated into the synthetic resins of plastic-based products, titanium dioxide ensures UV rays do not penetrate and damage the product and its appearance.
This is essential for certain building materials found within the construction sector. Titanium dioxide possesses non-flammable, insoluble and durable qualities which makes it the obvious choice for use in outdoor plastics.
Titanium dioxide is particularly found in the universally used product Polyvinyl Chloride – more commonly known as PVC. PVC is renowned for its durable and resistant nature and is used for a large range of outdoor plastic-based products.
TiO2, used within PVC, helps to ensure the protection of outdoor pipes that provide a vital role to homes and developments, for example, electricity, water and gas supplies. It has been estimated that the use of PVC piping can be maintained for up to 100 years.
Doors and windows
You will also find titanium dioxide within domestic PVC doors and windows. Doors and windows are exposed to the elements – the strength of TiO2 protects such features from weather, heat and UV damage. This is particularly important because, by maintaining the plastic used on doors and windows, you are able to protect the structure of the entire building.
Within the construction industry, durability and reliability is requisite to the safety and success of any building or development. The strength and tough nature of TiO2 means that it is a reliable and popular choice for building materials.
Titanium dioxide has a high refractive index and excellent light scattering properties, meaning it possesses excellent reflective and optical qualities. As well as having this ability to brighten colours, it also increases colour strength, meaning your white plastics – and other bright plastics – are the brightest they can be.
For this reason, it is ever growing in popularity as an additive to plastics, particularly those for outdoor use. In 2014, world production exceeded nine million metric tonnes, and since then global consumption has continued to increase.