Russian Titanium

Jul 29, 2005

The situation regarding titanium is paradoxical. On the one hand, titanium is found in abundance in the natural environment: in terms of natural occurrence in the earth's crust, the element is the third among all metals, directly following iron and aluminium. In industry, particularly in metallurgy it is used very rarely, about one hundred times less than aluminium.

This happens in spite of the outstanding properties of titanium: it is lightweight, fast, heatproof and chemically stable. But it is too expensive as it is very difficult to extract it from minerals, and the raw materials for its production are extremely expensive.

It came to having to purchase titanium dioxide from abroad. It is used as a basis for titanium white, and the production of plastics, paper and even cosmetics. There are enough deposits in Russia; the problem is that Russia has not yet managed to establish the production of high-quality raw titanium.

This stumbling block will probably be removed soon with the help of the technology developed in the Baikov Institute of Metallurgy and Material Authority, Russian Academy of Sciences(IMET RAS), in the laboratory of Professor Reznichenko by G.B. Sadykhov, Doctor of Science (Engineering).

The rutile mineral is found in nature, it mainly consists of titanium dioxide. The researchers suggest that rutile should be educed from the so-called leucoxene petroliferous sandstones of the Yaregskoye deposit, which was previously considered absolutely hopeless for obtaining titanium dioxide.

The method of production is as follows: first, it is necessary to get rid of mineral oil the sandstone is imbued with. This mineral oil has been distilled off from Yaregsky sandstone by heating it without air. Then, the sandstone is heated once again; this changes its structure. The sandstone initially consists of over half ordinary sand, i.e. silicon dioxide - quartz. The latter is distributed irregularly: there are large agglomerates, and some agglomerates are as if ingrown in the rutile structure, they are the most difficult to get rid of. As a result of thermal treatment, the silicon dioxide structure changes, and it becomes much more active.

Strange as it may seem, rutile acquires ferromagnetic properties and starts to be pulled to the magnet. The researchers do not yet know for sure the reason for this happening, so far there is only a hypothesis that this is connected with minor iron admixtures. Finding out the reasons for this phenomenon is the subject of further research. However, the phenomenon has been persistently proved experimentally and it allows to separate rutile from quartz. As for silicon dioxide remaining with rutile in thin conglutination, it is much easier to remove – it is washed out of rutile by alkali solution.

As a result, the researchers manage (so far, only in a laboratory environment) to educe practically all titanium dioxide from ore, i.e., 90 to 95 percent of the initial content, and such synthetic rutile proves practically pure: it contains more than 90 percent of titanium dioxide and less than three percent of silicon dioxide. It is pure pleasure to get titanium white from such rutile.

Source: Informnauka

Explore further: A new approach to on-chip quantum computing

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Making a common cosmetic and sunblock ingredient safer

Sep 25, 2013

Using a particular type of titanium dioxide—a common ingredient in cosmetics, food products, toothpaste and sunscreen—could reduce the potential health risks associated with the widely used compound. ...

Scientists solve titanic puzzle of popular photocatalyst

Jul 08, 2013

A breakthrough in our understanding of the properties of titania (titanium dioxide) - the basis of self-cleaning window technology - has been made by scientists at UCL, uncovering a decades old misunderstanding that has clouded ...

Toward a more efficient use of solar energy

Apr 14, 2011

The exploitation and utilization of new energy sources are considered to be among today's major challenges. Solar energy plays a central role, and its direct conversion into chemical energy, for example hydrogen generation ...

Recommended for you

A new approach to on-chip quantum computing

1 hour ago

Commercial devices capable of encrypting information in unbreakable codes exist today, thanks to recent quantum optics advances, especially the generation of photon pairs—tiny entangled particles of light. ...

Hide and seek: Sterile neutrinos remain elusive

21 hours ago

The Daya Bay Collaboration, an international group of scientists studying the subtle transformations of subatomic particles called neutrinos, is publishing its first results on the search for a so-called ...

Novel approach to magnetic measurements atom-by-atom

Oct 01, 2014

Having the possibility to measure magnetic properties of materials at atomic precision is one of the important goals of today's experimental physics. Such measurement technique would give engineers and physicists an ultimate ...

User comments : 0