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.