Mineral Sand as a Low Cost Source of Nanomaterials
There are several TiO2-containing minerals, such as rutile (TiO2-based, typically 90-98%), leucoxene (FeTiO3-TiO2 based, typically 60-92%) and ilmenite (FeTiO3-based, 35-65% TiO2), and most of them are mined in Australia and South Africa. The 2003 world production of mineral rutile (containing highest amount of TiO2 among aforementioned TiO2-related minerals) was 346,000 tons. Although the price of TiO2-related ores have not fluctuated so much for these three years, that of high-purity TiO2 (Produced from these raw ores) tends to increase due to its activated demand. The world demand of TiO2 in FY2004 is estimated to be 4,267 kt, and will be increased by 5-7% (in price) compared with 2003 (about $7.8 billion). Currently, a large portion of TiO2 is used in pigment, however, other value-added uses such as photocatalysts have been extensively studied. The demand for value-added products with reduced cost is desired. In this report, current status of Australian mines, natural rutile production, price and quality trend, and our recent nanomaterial development are demonstrated.
T. Ohji, T. Sekino and K. Niihara
R. Kawahata, Y. Suzuki, "Mineral Sand as a Low Cost Source of Nanomaterials", Key Engineering Materials, Vols. 317-318, pp. 739-742, 2006