Titanium Dioxide Pigments
Titanium Dioxide pigments start life as the mineral Ilmenite, which is mined in deep quarries in several places throughout the World.
Once mined, the ilmenite mineral, which contains around 60% titanium ore is then processed to remove the other contaminants and when the titanium content is improved to around 95% it is converted by one of two acid processes, using either sulphuric or hydrochloric acid, to the familiar white titanium dioxide pigment, which is the predominant pigment used for paints, inks, plastics etc.
There are two types of commercially available crystal structures of titanium dioxide pigments, Rutile and Anatase. The rutile option being the preferred grade for most paints, inks and coatings, with the Anatase option most frequently used in paper and ceramics, due to its' softer crystal structure.
Once converted to the familiar white pigment, the titanium dioxide then undergoes a coating process to enhance the performance characteristics of the pigment. These coatings include silicon dioxide (Silica), aluminium Oxide (Alumina) or a zirconia oxide and an organic coating. The type of coating selected dictates the performance characteristics and handling properties, such as ease of dispersibility and oil absorption properties.
The International Speciality Chemicals range of titanium dioxide pigments include several rutile crystal options and two anatase crystal options. All rutile grade products are coated with two or more of the previously described coatings and anatase versions, which are supplied either with or without a coating, depending on customer preference.
A special E171 / FDA grade for food use is also available and more information about this particular grade can be found on the separate webpage for the E171 food grade product.