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Titanium Dioxide

Alternate Names: TiO2

Oxide Analysis Formula
TiO2 100.00% 1.00
Oxide Weight 79.90
Formula Weight 79.90


TiO2 occurs in many silicates in nature, accounting for over 1% of the earth's crust. Thus it is manufactured using a variety of materials and processes.

Although titanium is the strongest white pigment known for many uses, in ceramics the whiteness (and opacity) it imparts to glazes is due to its tendency to crystallize during cooling. While titanium dioxide is used in glazes as an opacifier, it is not as effective and easy-to-use as tin oxide or zircon. It can be used as an additive to enliven (variegate, crystallize) the color and texture of glazes by introducing crystallization. Rutile works in a similar manner, typically both become saturated in the melt beyond about 5-6%, producing a dry and unstable glaze surface. In moderate amounts it encourages strong melts, durable surfaces and rich visual textures.

Titanium is available both as raw and surface treated products. Non-pigmentary grades flow more freely in the dry state. Self opacified enamels are made by adding titanium during smelting to super saturation. Upon firing the enamel, the titanium crystallizes or precipitates to produce the opacity. Titania is also used in dry process enameling on cast iron appliances for its effect on acid resistance, color and texture. In glass, non-pigmentary titanium dioxide increases refractive index, intensifies color.

Related Information

Variegating effect of sprayed-on layer of 100% titanium dioxide

The referred to surface is the outside of this large bowl. The base glaze (inside and out) is GA6-D Alberta Slip glaze fired at cone 6 on a buff stoneware. The thinness of the rutile needs to be controlled carefully, the only practical method to apply it is by spraying. The dramatical effect is a real testament to the variegating power of TiO2. An advantage of this technique is the source: Titanium dioxide instead of sourcing TiO2 from the often troublesome rutile.

Thin titanium band sprayed over cone 6 glazes demonstrates crystallization

The first is on GA6-A, the rest are on GA6-C (Alberta slip glazes). The last has been applied too thickly, the brown band is dry and blistered.

Original Container Bag of Titanium Dioxide

Titanium as an opacifier

This is a lithium glaze fired at cone 6. It has 6% titanium. This effect will also work in other types of transparent recipes. There should be more blue with slower cooling. Mixing some rutile in (e.g. 4 titanium, 2 rutile) should enhance also. 6% is pushing the edge of how much titanium should be in a recipe. Any more, or cooling too slow, could transform the surface into a mass of white crystals (which would be rough and non-functional). It is best to manually program firings, the up and down schedules? That would make the result consistent no matter how heavily or lightly loaded a kiln is.

Incredible Titanium Dioxide in a calcium matte

The glaze is G1214Z cone 6 base calcium matte. 5% titanium dioxide has been added. This Plainsman M390 tile was fired at cone 6 using the PLC6DS firing schedule. Titanium can create reactive glazes, like rutile, even with matte surfaces (provided the glaze has good melt fluidity). Calcium mattes host crystallization and work particularly well. Because titanium dioxide does not contain iron oxide lighter colors and better blues are possible than with rutile. Like rutile, the effects are dependent on the cooling rate of the firing, faster cools produce less reactivity.

Zircon, tin oxide, titanium as opacifiers in four base glazes

A grid of fired glaze test samples showing opacifiers perform in four glazes

The body is Plainsman M390. Firing is the cone 6 PLC6DS schedule. Each horizontal row is a commonly-used base glaze. The top one is an MgO matte, the next one down is a calcium matte, row 3 is G2926B glossy and row 4 is Ravenscrag Slip+frit. The two mattes behave very differently from each other with the additions of opacifier. Thickly applying an opacified glaze will obviously affect visual character (column 4). Tin oxide fires whiter than zircon (e.g. Zircopax). If you like the G2934 recipe, consider the G2934Y variant for better melting.

A hazard of using titanium opacifier in a glaze

The rustic and variegated effect have been achieved. However, notice that the drips from drainage during glazing are visible. This is because this type of variegation is produced by variations in the glaze thickness. These can be intended, like the thinning that occurs on the edge of contours, but also unintended (like drips and runs).

Titanium can over crystallize the glaze surface

This porcelain mug was fired at cone 10R. The glaze is G2571B (a fritted version of G2571A) with 5% Mason 6021 red stain and 4% titanium dioxide. The surface is very striking, but a little too crystallized to be functional. The solution: Reduce the titanium, 3% should do it.


URLs http://www.inminex.com/
Interesting deposit in South America
URLs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titanium_Dioxide
Titanium dioxide at Wikipedia
Hazards Titanium Dioxide Toxicology
Typecodes Generic Material
Generic materials are those with no brand name. Normally they are theoretical, the chemistry portrays what a specimen would be if it had no contamination. Generic materials are helpful in educational situations where students need to study material theory (later they graduate to dealing with real world materials). They are also helpful where the chemistry of an actual material is not known. Often the accuracy of calculations is sufficient using generic materials.
Typecodes Opacifier
Opacifiers are powders that turn transparent glazes opaque by various chemical and physical mechanisms (and combinations of mechanisms).
Materials Rutile
Glossary Opacifier
Glaze opacity refers to the degree to which it is opaque. There is more than meets to eye to the subject of opacity control.
Oxides TiO2 - Titanium Dioxide, Titania
Minerals Anatase
Minerals Brookite
Minerals Rutile


Hardness (Moh)6.5
Frit Softening Point1830C
Density (Specific Gravity)4.26


Glaze CrystallizationTiO2 dissolves into the melt during firing but normally re-crystallizes (or acts as a crystallization catalyst) during cooling (with rutile structure).
Glaze MattenessTitanium can be used in glazes to produce a matte surface with increasing amounts of crystallization in amounts up to 25%. The effect works in most stoneware glazes and is better when the glaze is slow cooled.
Glaze OpacifierTitanium is a crystalline mineral and encourages crystal development during cooling and freezing of the glaze melt. This generally produces opacity. However, titanium opacified glazes have a much different character than zircon or tin types. The latter produces a much more even and bright white coloration. When used as an opacifier the batch amount can range to 10% or more of the recipe.
Glaze VariegationSmaller amounts of titanium dioxide (i.e. 5%) added to colored or opacified recipes can variegate the surface and make it more interesting (e.g. it alters the shape of crystals, shade of colors).

By Tony Hansen

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