Brilliant White


Medical master: how the colour white can protect your health

Hospitals are one of the most important aspects of modern society, caring for everyone from childhood broken bones to expecting mothers. They’ve helped us live longer, healthier lives, and exist at the forefront of science and technology. But how much do you know about the role that the colour white plays?

Attractive Ambiance

Did you know that it’s not just the medicines that help you heal in hospital? Studies have shown recently that even the colour of your room can be essential to a speedy recovery. Bright coloured rooms can improve patient’s moods, reduce recovery times, and help people sleep better. Titanium dioxide (TiO2)is a chemical which can make paints white, or bring out the brightness of other tones. For this reason it is essential to giving the bright atmosphere needed to give patients a pleasant stay in hospital.

Cleanliness is key

Keeping hospitals as clean and germ free as possible is one of every medical professional’s highest priorities – or else people would leave sicker than they entered. This means disinfecting every surface, and cleaning any soiling as soon as it is found. Titanium dioxide is used in both the paint on walls and in the plastics and coatings of much of the equipment found in hospitals. It helps to quickly show up dirt and grime which could cause infection, so the highest standards of cleanliness can be maintained.  

Plastics for health

When designing the high tech medical devices used in hospitals, engineers have to ensure they last, and the plastic doesn’t become brittle. Exposure to bright UV lights, such as those sometimes used in hospitals for disinfection, can break down plastics and risk debris breaking off in what needs to be a sterile environment. TiO2 protects plastics from this embrittlement, making it perfect for use in medical devices.

Navigating neatly

It is obvious that many of the people using hospitals are not in the best of health. With increasingly aging populations all over Europe, many visitors to modern medical centres have to cater to all sorts of age related ailments, including poor vision. Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is the pigment often used to make things as white as they can be, and this has a big part to play. White walls ensure maximum contrast; helping people with impaired vision navigate easier. Hospitals often also use coloured lines to point people in the direction of wings and wards; again TiO2 makes it easy to find your way around.

Titanium dioxide is an essential substance used in all aspects of modern medical care. So next time you’re in a hospital be sure to look around and think about why everything is white!

Paving the Way: How one chemical makes roads safer

Modern roads look the same in almost every country, dark asphalt marked by bright white lines. This is no accident, city planners have put countless hours of thought into making our roads as safe as possible, and one chemical plays a crucial role.

Rapid transformation

Roads have been in existence for thousands of years, but for most of their history they were travelled on by horses and carriages at speeds not far above walking pace. Over the past century however, cars have meant people travel at speeds almost faster than humans can naturally react. This has meant a huge amount of consideration must be put into the way roads are designed so as to keep people as safe as possible. Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is key to this.

Clear as day

Today many countries have specific requirements to ensure that markings are bright, visible and clear. TiO2 plays a core role in fulfilling these requirements, as it is among the brightest white substances in the world. Its use in road markings means that motorists have the best chance at following the road. The way TiO2 interacts with light means that even at night, white road markings are shown up clearly in car headlights.

Bright at night

The idea of putting a white line down a road was first thought up by Edward N. Hines, who saw a leaky milk cart leaking along a road. However, not all whites are the same, and TiO2 is uniquely bright. Alternative colours, even alternative whites, simply aren’t as visible, and so could lead to more road accidents. This is why TiO2 is used in the extensively around the world to give the highest standards of safety.

European road safety is constantly improving, and a core part of that is making sure drivers are able to clearly see the road ahead of them. Thanks to brilliant white lines, the path ahead is bright and safe.


How an amazing particle can turn modern architecture into art

The buildings we live in have changed significantly through the centuries, both in the way they’re designed and the materials used in them - from the granite and marble used to erect the edifices of old to the modern materials which don’t just look great, but are functional too.

Art and architecture

For as long as people have been erecting buildings to keep us dry and warm, they’ve been thinking about how those buildings look. From the Pantheon of ancient Rome to the Taj Mahal in India, many civilisations and cultures have prized marble and the pure white look it can give buildings. However, for modern buildings marble is not quite appropriate or cost effective, hence other materials are used to provide stability, looks and durability.

A modern marble

Titanium dioxide is used in paints and other materials to give buildings a brilliant white look. It has a number of properties which make it ideal for this, including the way it efficiently reflects light to give  exteriors a smooth look. Using the proper TiO2 grades will help maintaining the integrity & sheen of paints for years. However, some of its most amazing properties are found not just in the way it looks, but also in what it does.

Not just good looking

Modern architects are not just turning to titanium dioxide for aesthetics, it is also highly functional. Firstly, it is very good at keeping buildings cool, saving money on energy bills for air conditioning. Perhaps even more remarkably, titanium dioxide, in specific forms, can help scrub air of pollutants harmful to human health as well as help to keep surface clean. For this reason, it has been used by architects in Mexico City and, recently, at the Italian Pavilion at the World Expo in Milan in 2015.

Titanium dioxide makes buildings look amazing and has huge practical benefits; it’s no wonder that it is used widely by architects looking to make a unique and modern statement about their art! 

The amazing pigment that gives modern cars their colours

Tell someone you’ve recently changed cars and one of the first questions they might ask is “what colour is it?” Whether a muted grey or black sedan or a bright red sports car, the colour of the vehicle we drive is in many ways a self-expression, a statement about who we are. But how much do you know about what goes into giving vehicles a bright and lasting coating?

Colours count

The colours of vehicles are more important than just personal taste, they can be practical. The bright colours of ambulances and fire engines make them highly visible, prompting rapid reactions from other users on the road. They can also tell a story. Recently a large city council had a debate on what its police cars should look like; should they be primarily white, or a more intimidating dark grey? The less threatening white colour was retained, a signal of openness to the community.  That white colour used on cars is derived primarily from an amazing pigment: titanium dioxide (TiO2).

Brightening and cooling your ride

Titanium dioxide is used not just to create white paints, it is essential in the full spectrum of colours available for cars. It brings out the brightness of colours, making cars look amazing for years. Its opacity provides full substrate coverage with less paint, saving weight and costs. By reflecting visible light and the associated solar energy, the build-up of heat in your car is minimised and damage to the paint over time is reduced.

Lasts for years

Titanium dioxide not only makes  the paints we use on cars more durable and long lasting but also the other materials used to make cars. Car makers are increasingly using plastic on exterior parts because it is lightweight and scratch and dent resistant. TiO2 plays a critical role in these plastic parts, making them more durable and weather resistant, as well as giving them better colours and opacity.

Titanium dioxide is essential for making cars the colour we want them to be and keeping them that way for as long as possible. Because of this, it is used in many phases of the car manufacturing process, and is ingrained in modern vehicles in many new and exciting ways. 


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