Five facts about titanium dioxide

Everybody is talking about titanium-dioxide. Worldwide prices are rising, and in Europe the industry is also facing a possible classification of titanium-dioxide as a cancerogenic substance. We have gathered five facts about the world’s most important pigment.
Many industries are utilising titanium-dioxide. However, no-one depends on the pigment as much as the coatings industry. Around 55 % of all titanium-dioxide is used for coatings, followed by the plastics (25 %) and the paper (9%) industry. You will also find it in cosmetics, tooth paste, sun lotion and printing inks, even though the global consumption share for these applications is rather small.

Regional demand for titanium-dioxide

The regional demand for titanium-dioxide correlates closely with the location of industrial hubs. So it comes as no surprise that China alone uses a third of the global TiO2 production. Europe and North America come in second and third, respectively.

Supplier market in flux

In recent years the supplier market has seen some changes. DuPont and Huntsman spun-off their titanium-dioxide businesses, other companies sold theirs to competitors and others merged. For the coatings industry this is not necessarily a good situation, less competition on the TiO2-market is not an ideal situation

Per capita consumtion of white pigment

If you look at the titanium-dioxide consumption per capita, the difference between countries can be quite distinct. While Germany has the highest demand with approximately 4.17 kg of titanium-dioxide per capita and year, Brazil for instance only uses 0.95 kg. Of course Brazil’s economy is not as industrialised as the German one. However, consumption per capita in Japan is also at only 1.77 kg per capita and year. And nobody would argue that Japan is less industrialised than Germany.



Pigment feedstock and manufacturing

There are different feedstocks and ways to manufacturing TiO2 that can be used in the coatings industry. The two most important processes are the sulphate and the chloride process. The most important feedstock for the first one is ilmenite, while the later uses mostly rutile. However, other minerals with a high TiO2content can be used, too.

Book tip:

Titanium_Dioxide (2nd Revised Edition) – Production, Properties and Effective Usage
This second, completely revised edition contains a wealth of information on the properties and use of titanium-dioxide pigments. It gives the reader a comprehensive insight into how titanium-dioxide works and its possible applications, as well as discussing the current state of development and its use in various forms for UV absorbers, effect pigments and catalytic materials.
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