Titanium dioxide also known as titanium oxide or titania, is the naturally occurring oxide of titanium, chemical formula TiO2. The production method depends on the feedstock. The most common mineral source is ilmenite. The abundant rutile mineral sand can also be purified with the chloride process or other processes. Ilmenite is converted into pigment grade titanium dioxide via either the sulfate process or the chloride process. Both sulfate and chloride processes produce the titanium dioxide pigment in the rutile crystal form, but the Sulfate Process can be adjusted to produce the anatase form. Anatase, being softer, is used in fiber and paper applications. The Sulfate Process is run as a batch process; the Chloride Process is run as a continuous process.
The most important application areas are paints and varnishes as well as paper and plastics, which account for about 80% of the world’s titanium dioxide consumption. Other pigment applications such as printing inks, fibers, rubber, cosmetic products, and food account for another 8%. The rest is used in other applications, for instance the production of technical pure titanium, glass and glass ceramics, electrical ceramics, metal patinas, catalysts, electric conductors, and chemical intermediates.