Ingredient Profile: Titanium Dioxide

Jun 1, 2011 | Contact Author | By: Mike J. Fevola, Johnson & Johnson
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Title: Ingredient Profile: Titanium Dioxide
Titanium dioxidex UV filterx colorantx sunscreen activex
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Keywords: Titanium dioxide | UV filter | colorant | sunscreen active

Abstract: While TiO2 is often incorporated as a colorant and an opacifier in cosmetics and personal care products, its most important applications are as a sunscreen active and as a component of specialty pigments for color cosmetics.

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M Fevola, Profile of Titanium Dioxide, Cosm & Toil 126(6) 418 (2011)

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Titanium (IV) dioxide (TiO2) is one of the most well-known and commercially important inorganic pigments. It is used to provide white color and opacity to paints and coatings, plastics, paper, inks, food products and pharmaceuticals. While TiO2 is often incorporated as a colorant and an opacifier in cosmetics and personal care products, its most important applications are as a sunscreen active and as a component of specialty pigments for color cosmetics. Both the INCI and established drug names for TiO2 are titanium dioxide; however, when used as a colorant in the EU, it is identified by the Colour Index (CI) number 77891.1

Chemistry and Manufacture

TiO2 is a naturally occurring mineral found in three forms: anatase, brookite and rutile, which differ by crystal structure and the number of titanium and oxygen atoms per unit cell of the crystal lattice.2 These TiO2 forms also differ by density, hardness and refractive index due to the differences in their structure. The TiO2 found in nature contains small amounts of impurities such as iron, chromium or vanadium; therefore, it must be chemically refined to obtain the high purity required for most applications, including cosmetics and personal care. TiO2 also may be derived from the naturally occurring mineral ilmenite, a crystalline iron titanium oxide (FeTiO3). In this case, the ilmenite ore must be smelted to remove the iron oxides before the remaining titaniferous slag can be converted into TiO2.

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Figure 2. Simplified process diagram showing key steps in the chloride process for production of refined TiO2

Figure 2. Simplified process diagram showing key steps in the chloride process  for production of refined TiO2

In the continuous process shown in Figure 2, crude TiO2-containing minerals are reacted with Cl2 in the presence of coke (carbon) at 800–1200°C to produce titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4), a liquid compound that is then distilled to yield high purity TiCl4.

Figure 1. Simplified process diagram showing key steps in the sulfate process for production of refined TiO2

Figure 1. Simplified process diagram showing key steps in the sulfate process  for production of refined TiO2

The older sulfate process, illustrated in Figure 1, is a batch process that entails the digestion of crude TiO2 or FeTiO3 ores with sulfuric acid to form titanyl sulfate (TiOSO4), and the separation of the metal impurities as sulfate salts, e.g. iron(II) sulfate.

Biography: Michael J. Fevola, PhD, Johnson & Johnson

Michael J. Fevola, PhD, is a manager in the New Technologies group at Johnson & Johnson Consumer and Personal Products Worldwide in Skillman, NJ, where he leads R&D in polymer and surface chemistry. Fevola has authored 12 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, is an inventor on six US patents, and is a member of the Personal Care Product Council’s International Nomenclature Committee and the Society of Cosmetic Chemists.

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