Published Date : Apr 18, 2016
Pigments and paints have forever been a major part of the overall production scope of all industries in the world. Whether these pigments are destined for plastics, metallic surfaces, or print and paper inks, they are an integral part of today’s aesthetics driven world.
Sitting at the top of the paints and coatings pile is titanium dioxide. Its physical attributes include white, inorganic, and solid. Titanium dioxide is not easily soluble, has a refractive index as high as diamonds, and shows extremely high thermal stability. In fact, titanium dioxide can go all the way up to 2,000 kelvins before melting. It is this positive combination of visual and chemical properties that make titanium dioxide the most widely used white pigment.
Titanium Dioxide in Sunscreens
There are two kinds of sunscreens in the world, one of which can contain either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These sunscreens are supposed to be insoluble and therefore they do not get absorbed by the skin. Their purpose is to become reflective agents against the sun, successfully blocking the sun from hitting the skin. Commonly produced titanium dioxide particles can be very large to be used in good sunscreens, as they create a sunscreen that leaves a white, chalky residue on the skin, much like the chemical itself. Therefore, manufacturers size the particles down to anywhere between 100 to 10 nm. At the same time, titanium dioxide is non-toxic and will not clog skin pores, while being able to block UV-B and short-wave UV-A waves.
Other Uses of Titanium Dioxide
Major applications of titanium dioxide will always be in paints and coatings. At the same time, other uses are found in inks, plastics, and paper manufacturing. At least half of the total titanium dioxide produced is used in paints and coatings.
Titanium dioxide is experiencing some opposition from agencies that protect the environment. This is because the production of titanium dioxide leads to the formation of harmful solid waste products. Therefore, most producers have to follow stringent regulations in order to continue their production lines.