Ilmenite is an iron titanium oxide which is the principal ore of titanium. The chemical formula of ilmenite is FeTiO3. Black or dark gray in colour, it has a metallic luster and is usually weakly magnetic. While the mineral itself is actually not magnetic, it is often intergrown with magnetite which is strongly magnetic. Ilmenite and magnetite are opaque minerals and can be differentiated from each other by the crystal structure. Magnetite is an isometric mineral and forms double pyramids (octahedrons) just like those of diamond. These octahedrons are often worn off in sand but magnetite is rounded and still roughly isometric. Ilmenite grains tend to be tabular and the crystal structure of ilmenite is identical to hematite. It is also compositionally close to hematite ; the only difference between them being that one Fe atom (in hematite) is replaced by titanium atom (in ilmenite). At Maxworth Minerals, we supply Ilmenite in bulk quantity as per customer end requirements, mostly for use in the paints, fabrics, plastics, paper, sunscreen, food and cosmetics industries (as a source of titanium dioxide).
Maxworth offers superior quality Ilmenite , mined under environmentally safe conditions.
Ilmenite is a weakly magnetic titanium-iron oxide mineral which is commonly iron-black or steel-gray in colour. It is a crystalline iron titanium oxide (FeTiO3).
Ilmenite is mostly mined for titanium dioxide production. Finely ground titanium dioxide is a bright white powder widely used as a base pigment in paint, paper and plastics. Ilmenite sand is also used as a sandblasting agent in the cleaning of diecasting dies.
The world consumption of Ilmenite rises approximately 5% to 8% every year, with demand growth most strongly centred in Asian economies.
Ilmenite is used:
- As a furnace lining in the steel industry and also as a blasting medium. After eliminating the iron particles, Ilmenite can be further processed to produce Synthetic Rutile, which can be further developed to make Titanium Dioxide.
- Ilmenite grains are often altered to leucoxene which is a mixture of several oxide minerals. It looks like a very fine-grained light-colored or brownish coating on ilmenite grains. It is used as a protective coating for welding electrodes, in production of pigments, as filler in paints to increase whiteness and brilliance, and as a source of titanium for the production of titanium metals.
- Ilmenite is used as a source of Titanium dioxide (TiO2), which is a non-toxic pigment with High Refractive Index or Opacity. It possesses high thermal stability and chemical inertness. TiO2 has extensive application as a premier pigment used extensively in the paint industry. About 90% of the titanium mineral produced in the world is used in the manufacture of white titanium dioxide pigment.
- TiO2 is also used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and even added to foodstuffs such as flour, icing sugar and sweets as well as toothpaste to improve their brightness.
- Titanium dioxide is used in the manufacture of many sunscreen lotions and creams because of it non-toxicity and UV absorption properties.
- Titanium metal is also increasingly being used in making sports equipment, jewellery and for advanced engineering applications.
- Ilmenite can withstand extreme temperatures, and is therefore used in the steel industry to line blast furnaces.
- Ilmenite’s hardness also makes it very useful as an abrasive.