What is titanium dioxide used for

Titanium dioxide, often called TiO2, is a white, naturally occurring mineral that has a wide range of industrial and consumer applications. It is mainly used for its excellent opaque and whitening properties. Some common uses of titanium dioxide include:

titanium dioxide

  • Paints and Coatings: Titanium dioxide is one of the most common dyes used to add shine and opacity to paints, coatings, and inks. It provides excellent coverage and UV resistance, making it a popular choice for both indoor and outdoor applications.

  • Cosmetics and Sunscreens: Titanium dioxide is used in a variety of cosmetics, including foundation, sunscreen, and lipstick, where it acts as a UV-blocking agent to protect the skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

  • Food and pharmaceutical products: In the food and pharmaceutical industries, titanium dioxide is used as a food coloring agent (E171 in the EU) to make products appear whiter or more opaque. It is often found in candies, chewing gum, supplements, and medicines.

  • Plastics: In the plastics industry, titanium dioxide is added to plastic products such as PVC to increase their opacity, whiteness and UV resistance. It is commonly used in the production of PVC pipe, vinyl siding, and various plastic products.

  • Paper and Printing: Titanium dioxide is used as a filler in the paper industry to improve the opacity and gloss of paper products. It is also used in the printing industry to make inks and printing materials more vibrant.

  • Ceramics and Glass: In the ceramic and glass industries, titanium dioxide is used to add whiteness and opacity to ceramic glazes, glasses and enamel coatings.

  • Photocatalysis: Titanium dioxide is used as a photocatalyst in some environmental applications. When exposed to UV light, it can break down organic pollutants in air and water, thereby contributing to air and water purification technologies.

  • Construction Materials: It is used in the construction industry in materials such as concrete, where it improves the durability and appearance of the final product.

  • Textiles: Titanium dioxide can be added to fabrics and clothing to enhance their whiteness and protect them from UV damage.

  • Inks and Printing: In the printing industry, titanium dioxide is used as a white pigment in inks and as a coating on paper to improve print quality and appearance.

  • Photovoltaic cells: Titanium dioxide nanoparticles are used in the manufacturing of some types of solar cells because of their ability to help convert sunlight into electricity.

The versatility of titanium dioxide in various industries is due to its high refractive index, excellent light-scattering properties, and ability to reflect and block UV radiation. These properties make it an essential ingredient in many products where opacity, shine, and UV protection are desired.