Titanium Dioxide

What is titanium dioxide?

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a bright, white, versatile pigment, which has been used for more than 100 years in a vast number of applications across industries.

Titanium dioxide has a very high refractive index (ability to scatter light), even higher than diamond. This makes it an incredibly bright substance and an ideal material for aesthetic design use.

Where does titanium dioxide come from?

Titanium dioxide was first created in a laboratory in the late 1800s. It wasn’t mass produced until the early 20th century, when it started to take over as a safer alternative to other white pigments.

The element titanium and the compound TiO2 are found around the world, linked to other elements such as iron, in several kinds of rock and mineral sands. These inert molecular compounds must be separated through a chemical process to create pure titanium dioxide. 

Unique properties

TiOis best-known for giving a bright, white, appearance to whatever it is applied to. It is used in white paint and as the base for many other paint colors; it is also found in cosmetics and food to give a highly opaque, bright appearance.

It has safe and effective UV-blocking properties, which is why it is an important protection ingredient in sunscreen, for external (light-reflecting) coatings, and in food packing and clothing to increase longevity when exposed to light.


Global demand for TiOin 2017 was about 6.5 million tonnes, of which more than half was used in paints and coatings. As a white pigment, TiO2 is one of the most important raw materials for paint and coating industries.

Other important industries are plastics, paper and cosmetics.

Environmental benefits

Due to its various properties, titanium dioxide has been found to be useful for many different environmentally friendly applications.

The future of titanium dioxide

 For a substance that is relatively unknown to the public, it’s amazing how so many everyday products use titanium dioxide. Because of its many properties, our homes, cars, cities, skin, food and environment are made brighter, safer and cleaner by TiO2. With a legacy of 100 years of safe commercial use, titanium dioxide is only going to become more vital as our environment faces greater challenges from a growing population.