Titanite is a magnesium iron silicate mineral with the formula MgTiO3. Titanite can occur as crystals or in massive aggregate form. Titanite, also known as liddicoatite, is a magnesium iron silicate mineral with the formula MgTiO3. It can occur in crystalline or massive aggregate forms and has been found on all continents, including Antarctica. In its standard crystal structure, the Mg site is occupied by magnesium, and the Fe site is vacant or occupied by iron. However, the titanite found in meteorites can also contain Fe3+ on both sites, creating a spinel-like configuration.
The unit cell of MgTiO has two atoms per unit cell. The C-centered and O-centered structures are equally stable, with a reported formation enthalpy of zero. The C-centered structure is anion-exchangeable, though it has a much lower thermal stability than the cations. For example, Mg2+ substitution results in a decrease in magnetic susceptibility of up to 63%, with S8 substitution having its highest susceptibility of 67%.
The crystal structure is polytypic. This means that more than one type of crystal can form (such as fayalite/cleavelandite). These crystals can be formed under different conditions, like those found in nature. There is also a high-temperature polymorph called fayalite within the range of temperatures of 735 to 825 degrees Celsius. Titanite produced by this method will have a different crystal structure and physical and magnetic properties.
Benefits of Titanite
Titanite has a wide variety of uses, as discussed below:
1. Production of toothpaste
Titanite is a toothpaste ingredient commonly used to prevent dental cavities. Titanite is abrasive and, when combined with fluoride, may be useful in preventing dental caries. Studies have shown that 2% of pure titanate (also known as titanate) causes an increase in the hardness of enamel and free mineral particles that play a role in the prevention of dental caries. Titanate is a substance that can block mineral deposits from forming within the teeth, but it also causes damage to enamels.
2. Production of ceramics
Titanite is used as a pigment and in the production of ceramics by fritting. Fritting occurs when a mixture of clay and water is heated to approximately 1000-1500 degrees Celsius.
3. Production of glazes
Titanite is also used in the production of glazes due to its ability to reach high temperatures without crystallizing or melting.
4. Production of lightweight concrete
Titanite is added to lightweight concrete used in construction, as well as in the production of bricks.
5. Production of paper
Titanite is used in the production of paper. The addition of titanite increases the porosity and strength of paper greatly. Furthermore, titanite also improves toughness, allowing greater flexibility when using it for folding applications (such as crepe paper).
6. Wastewater treatment
Titanite is used in wastewater treatment due to its ability to absorb heavy metals. It is used for flocculating and removing metals (such as lead) from wastewater, resulting in a cleaner discharge.
7. Absorption of heavy metals
Titanite’s ability to absorb heavy metals allows it to reduce the impact on the environment and provide an alternative means of treating wastewater. This is beneficial in cornstarch manufacturing, as well as in the treatment of wastewater from oil refineries.
8. Production of rutile
Some applications of titanite also use its ability to react with hydrogen in a reduction reaction to produce metal hydrides such as rutile.
What Makes Titanite Special?
Titanite is unique due to its high-temperature resistance. Titanite remains stable up to 1873˚C in air or 1473˚C in a vacuum. It has been used for the production of glazes, as well as fire brick and refractory brick. Titanite is also used to create titanium oxide and titanium metal using two different methods: 1) reducing titanium chloride with calcium or barium; 2) reaction of titanite and oxides at high temperatures.
Titanite is a high-temperature mineral that makes it resistant to oxidation and high temperatures. This makes titanite an excellent choice for industries where the material comes into contact with heat, such as ceramics. The average hardness of titanite is approximately 6.5 on the Mohs scale. Titanite is so tough that it can be used as an abrasive in toothpaste to prevent cavities and dental erosion by removing plaque from teeth.