Titanium Dioxide in Paint Industry: “The perfect white” or “The whitest White”.
Sharp decline in crude oil prices, rising demand in global urban market, high purchasing power and changing consumer preferences have been driving the paint industry. With shifts toward climatic concerns, innovations towards green products are gaining momentum.
Paint is a raw material intensive industry. Sixty penny is spent on raw material in paint industry for every one USD of sales. TiO2 is widely consumed in paint industry, apart from several petroleum-based raw materials. In paint, it is often referred to as “the perfect white” or “the whitest white”. In fact, of the total raw materials consumed by paint manufacture TiO2 alone accounts for about 25% to 30%. The paint industry- alone consumes about 60% of the total TiO2 produced globally due to desirable properties such as the second highest refractive index, falling behind only diamond, high brightness, high efficiency in scattering light (as compared to other white pigments such as clay, calcium carbonate and zinc oxide). Also, due to its resistance to discoloration under ultra-violet light, high thermal stability, non-flammable and non-toxic in nature, it has gained wide acceptance as a pigment. It started finding its application shortly after World War- II as a substitute to lead compounds as the primary white pigment. Titanium dioxide is widely used in two forms, anatase and rutile. Anatase grade TiO2, is used in interior paints whereas various rutile grades of TiO2, are being used in exterior paints.
With increasing consumption of paints especially in the construction and automotive industry, along with reduced duration of painting cycles from about 6-8 years earlier to about 3-3.5 years now is likely to drive the titanium dioxide industry growth in the near future. Thus accordingly global pigment titanium dioxide market sales will exceed $ 50 billion by 2020 within the Asia-Pacific region, accounting for about 55% of global pigment demand, followed by North America and Western Europe.
With increasing focus on product innovation, eco-friendly & high performance, newer products such as eco friendly, breathe easy, weather shield etc are being manufactured. New innovations have led to development of TiO2 nanoparticles as a self cleaning paint. According to market estimates, production of nanoparticle titanium dioxide is around 2 million tons per year. With increased demand in the Asian market and other developing countries, it is expected that the nanoparticle titanium dioxide market will experience significant growth in the coming future.