What is Titanium dioxide used for?
Titanium dioxide, also known as titanium(IV) oxide or titania, is the naturally occurring oxide of titanium, chemical formula TiO2. When used as a pigment, it is called titanium white, Pigment White 6, or CI 77891. Generally it comes in two different forms, rutile and anatase. It has a wide range of applications, from paint to sunscreen to food colouring. When used as a food colouring, it has E number E171.
Titanium dioxide occurs in nature as well-known minerals rutile, anatase and brookite, and additionally as two high pressure forms, a monoclinic baddeleyite-like form and an orthorhombic α-PbO2-like form, both found recently at the Ries crater in Bavaria. The most common form is rutile, which is also the equilibrium phase at all temperatures. The metastable anatase and brookite phases both convert to rutile upon heating. Rutile, anatase and brookite all contain six coordinated titanium.
Titanium dioxide has eight modifications – in addition to rutile, anatase and brookite there are three metastable forms produced synthetically (monoclinic, tetragonal and orthorombic), and five high pressure forms (α-PbO2-like, baddeleyite-like, cotunnite-like, orthorhombic OI, and cubic phases)
Titanium dioxide (B) is found as a mineral in magmatic rocks and hydrothermal veins, as well as weathering rims on perovskite. TiO2 also forms lamellae in other minerals.
Spectral lines from titanium oxide are prominent in class M stars, which are cool enough to allow molecules of this chemical to form.
Crude titanium dioxide is purified via converting to titanium tetrachloride in the chloride process. In this process, the crude ore (containing at least 70% TiO2) is reduced with carbon, oxidized with chlorine to give titanium tetrachloride; i.e., carbothermal chlorination. This titanium tetrachloride is distilled, and re-oxidized in a pure oxygen flame or plasma at 1500–2000 K to give pure titanium dioxide while also regenerating chlorine. Aluminium chloride is often added to the process as a rutile promotor; the product is mostly anatase in its absence.
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 million tons of pigmentary TiO2 are consumed annually worldwide. 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 paints, coatings, plastics, papers, inks, foods, medicines (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.
In ceramic glazes titanium dioxide acts as an opacifier and seeds crystal formation.
Titanium dioxide is often used to whiten skimmed milk; this has been shown statistically to increase skimmed milk's palatability.
Titanium dioxide is used to mark the white lines on the tennis courts of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, best known as the venue for the annual grand slam tennis tournament The Championships, Wimbledon.