CHEMICALS - TITANIUM DIOXIDE
Titanium dioxide is a naturally occurring oxide of the element titanium. This substance also occurs naturally as three mineral compounds known as anatase, brookite, and rutile. However, it is most commonly extracted from titanium tetrachloride by carbon reduction and re-oxidization. Alternatively, it may be processed from another oxide called ilmenite, which is subjected to reduction with sulfuric acid to achieve pure titanium dioxide.
There are a number of industrial applications for this mineral. For one thing, it has very high refraction properties. In fact, titanium dioxide is one of the whitest materials known to exist on Earth.
As a pigment, titanium dioxide is used to enhance the white color of certain foods, such as dairy products and candy. It also lends brightness to toothpaste and some medications. However, it is also used as a food additive and flavor enhancer in a variety of non-white foods, including dried vegetables, nuts, seeds, soups, and mustard, as well as beer and wine.
Since titanium dioxide reflects light so well, it is ideal for use as a protective coating for many products, such as automobile parts and optical mirrors. It is also incorporated into paint. In fact, due to its refractive ability, it is a component of paints used to coat cars, boats, and airplanes. In addition, titanium dioxide is found in a number of construction and building materials. The plastic industry also makes use of titanium dioxide as a coating to absorb UV light and render increased durability.