The main use of titanium dioxide (TiO2) is as a white powder pigment used in products such as paints, coatings, plastics, paper, inks, fibres, food and cosmetics. Titanium dioxide also has good ultraviolet (UV) light resistance properties and is seeing growing demand in photocatalysts.
Global growth for TiO2 is estimated by UK consultant Artikol at 2.7%/year. The growth will be driven by China although considerable potential is also seen in India. China is expected to remain a significant import market, particularly for the chloride pigment.
Titanium dioxide is produced from either ilmenite, rutile or titanium slag. Titanium pigment is extracted by using either sulphuric acid (sulphate process) or chlorine (chloride route). The sulphate process employs simpler technology while the chloride route produces a purer product.
Titanium dioxide occurs as odourless, colourless to white crystalline powder in two forms, anatase and rutile. Titanium dioxide is not flammable, explosive and gives no reason to fire risks.