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Titanium Dioxide – Structure and Its Uses

Aug 10, 2022

Titanium Dioxide 

Titanium dioxide is an inorganic substance that is a metal titanium oxide. TiO2 is the chemical formula. It is composed of two oxygen molecules and one molecule of titanium, the ninth most prevalent mineral in the earth’s mantle and found in flora and fauna. It is formed spontaneously when titanium metal combines with oxygen. It is commonly found in sediments, soils, mineral ores, indigenous materials, and dust.

It is white and immiscible. However, crystalline forms might seem black at times. It is used in acrylics, food coloring, and sunblock. This article explains what titanium dioxide is, its characteristics, and titanium dioxide uses. 


What is Titanium Dioxide (TiO2)?

Titanium dioxide is well-known as an active component in sunscreen. It filters out the  UV rays that help shield the skin by preventing the absorption of ultraviolet radiation from the sun, which may cause sunburn and is also connected to skin cancer. 

It is manufactured in two forms. The principal form, which accounts for more than 98 per cent of total output, is pigment-grade titanium dioxide. The pigmentary variant uses titanium dioxide’s strong lightscattering qualities in applications requiring white opacity and luminance. Titanium dioxide can also be manufactured as an ultrafine (nanomaterial) substance.


Now that we know what titanium dioxide is let us look at the different applications of the two forms of TiO2

Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) Structure

All three of Titanium’s major dioxides have octahedral geometry. The geometry of the rutile form of titanium dioxide is twisted hexagonal, whereas the geometry of two other varieties of TiO2, brookite and anatase, is cubic. Rutile’s architecture is a typical pattern followed by various metal difluorides and dioxides, such as RuO2 and ZnF2.


The geometry of melted titanium dioxide is local, with every titanium (Ti) atom being linked to approximately five oxygen atoms.

Titanium Dioxide Structure


Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) Manufacturing Process

The following are the titanium dioxide manufacturing techniques:

  • The Chloride Procedure

The ore from which titanium dioxide extraction takes place is processed with Chlorine and Carbon in the chloride process to produce titanium tetrachloride. This unstable fluid is further refined by distillation. In this procedure, the TiCl4 is treated with oxygen to make titanium oxide and recover chlorine.


2 FeTiO3 + 7 Cl2 + 6 C → 2 TiCl4 + 2 FeCl3 + 6 CO

TiCl4 + O2 + heat → TiO2 + 2 Cl2

  • Sulfate Method

In the sulfate process, ilmenite is reacted with sulphuric acid to produce iron(II) sulfate pentahydrate. This method is utilized in the production of titanium dioxide.

  • Methods that are distinctive

TiO2 films are created using a variety of specialized chemistries, which are used for a variety of specialized applications. The degradation of titanium alkoxides, like titanium ethoxide, is carried out by sol-gel methods. The response is given below:


Ti(OEt)4 + 2H2O → TiO2 + 4EtOH

This technique is appropriate for film production. In this application, the alkoxide is volatilized and subsequently destroyed when it comes into contact with a heated surface. The following is the reaction:

Ti(OEt)4 → TiO2 + 2Et2O

Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) Uses

The following are the titanium dioxide uses for ultrafine-grade and pigment-grade titanium dioxide, or nanoscale titanium dioxide.

1. Titanium Dioxide Pigment Grade

Titanium dioxide pigment is utilized in various applications that demand high opacity and brightness. In reality, It is present in most white, neutral, and even dark-coloured surfaces and products. Titanium dioxide pigment is utilized in a variety of industries, including:

  • Paints: The oxide of titanium adds opacity and toughness to paints and coatings, extending the life of the paint and protecting the painted surface.
  • Polymers, glues, and rubber: They can help reduce the fragility, aging, and cracking that can arise from light exposure to plastic products.
  • Cosmetics: Titanium dioxide is a color booster frequently used in beauty and over-the-counter items such as lipsticks, lotions, and powders. Some cosmetics include pigment-grade titanium dioxide, which helps to conceal imperfections and lighten the skin. It enables the use of lighter make-up coats to get the same effect.
  • Paper: Paper is coated with titanium dioxide to make it brighter, lighter, and thicker.
  • Ingredients and materials that come into contact with food: Titanium dioxide’s opacity to visible and ultraviolet light preserves foodstuffs, drinks, vitamins, and medications against early deterioration, extending the product’s shelf life. HHigh-purityTiO2 is also utilized in medicine pills, capsule coatings, and as a visual element in some meals

2. Titanium Dioxide Ultrafine-grade or Nanoscale

Titanium dioxide ultrafine grades are most typically utilized in the following specialist applications:

  1. Sunscreen: Nanoscale titanium dioxide absorbs UV rays while remaining invisible to light. Because of the tiny particle size, nano-titanium dioxide doesn’t quite scatter visible light. Still, it absorbs UV radiation, creating a transparent shield that defends the skin from the sun’s damaging rays. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, using titanium dioxide-containing sunscreens can help lower the risk of skin cancer.
  2. Catalysts: Nanoscale titanium dioxide is employed as a catalyst support material. Major applications include removing automobiles’ hazardous exhaust gas emissions and nitrous oxides from power plants.

Side Effects of Titanium Dioxide 

There has been little research on the negative effects of titanium dioxide, and it is mostly dependent on the route of exposure.

  • Consumption via the mouth: There are no documented negative side effects.
  • Eyes:  Minor irritation may result from the chemical.
  • Inhalation: In animal experiments, breathing in titanium dioxide dust was associated with lung cancer.
  • Skin: A minor irritation is possible.

The majority of negative effects are caused by inhaling titanium dioxide particles. As a result, industry regulations are in place to restrict exposure.

Should you stay away from TiO2?

Titanium dioxide is now deemed safe for human intake. Most research finds that the amount ingested through food does not harm human health. If you still wish to avoid this chemical, thoroughly read the food and drink labels. 

The most prevalent foods containing titanium dioxide include chewing gum, pastries, sweets, artificial sweeteners, and cake toppings. Please remember that various trade or generic names for the substance may be used by manufacturers instead of “titanium dioxide,” so stay informed. Since titanium dioxide is largely found in processed foods, it’s simple to avoid it by eating complete, unprocessed foods.

What are the Titanium Dioxide first Aid Measures?

The following are some measures that should be followed in case of emergencies involving TiO2.

  • Inhalation: Before undertaking a rescue, take procedures to secure your safety (e.g., wear proper protective equipment). Get the afflicted some fresh air.
  • Contact with skin: Excess chemicals on the skin should be blotted or brushed away quickly and carefully. For 5 minutes, carefully wash with lukewarm, gentle running water and a non-abrasive cleanser.
  • Contact with eyes: If you make eye contact, dab or wipe the chemical from your face immediately and softly. Flush the infected eye(s) quickly with tepid, gently flowing water for 5 minutes while keeping the eyelid(s) open. Consult a doctor if the discomfort or pain continues.
  • Ingestion: Have the person rinse their mouth with water. If the victim becomes ill, contact a Poison Control Center or a doctor.

First Aid Recommendations: See a doctor if you have been exposed or are worried. All first aid methods should be evaluated regularly by a doctor familiar with the substance and the employment conditions.


Pure titanium dioxide powder is a fine white powder with a dazzling look. Many people are familiar with it since it is an active element in sunscreen. It serves as a UV-ray filtering substance in sunscreen. Titanium dioxide producers widely manufacture it because of its uses.

It is commonly found in sweets, cakes, chewing gum, artificial coffee sweeteners, candy, and cake decorations. Despite certain safety concerns, the FDA considers titanium dioxide safe. Furthermore, most people do not eat nearly enough to produce any significant danger.

Frequently Asked Questions about (TiO2)

1. Is titanium dioxide safe to use?

The FDA has evaluated the safety of titanium dioxide pigment grade as a color additive in food, medicine, and cosmetic uses, as well as a component in UV protection products. The FDA has also released recommendations confirming the acceptable use of titanium dioxide pigment as a food additive and stating that titanium dioxide can be used securely in cosmetics, especially cosmetics, for use around the eyes.

2. Are there any health implications linked with titanium dioxide exposure?

Supported by studies that indicated higher lung cancers in rodents connected to titanium dioxide inhalation, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classed titanium dioxide as “potentially carcinogenic to people.” On the other hand, extensive research on titanium dioxide industrial employees does not reveal a link between occupational exposure to titanium dioxide and an elevated risk of cancer in people.

3. What is the purpose of titanium dioxide in toothpaste?

Titanium dioxide is frequently used to provide whiteness to foodstuffs and beauty and hygiene products such as toothpaste. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States has evaluated the safety of this as a color additive. It has produced rules authorizing the component for these applications.

Titanium Dioxide


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