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Information @ a Glance

  • Synthetic rutile was first produced in 1948 and is sold under a variety of names.
  • Very pure synthetic rutile is transparent and almost colorless (slightly yellow) in large pieces.
  • Synthetic rutile can be made in a variety of colors by doping, although the purest material is almost colorless.
  • The chemical formula of synthetic rutile is TiO2, and it crystallizes in the tetragonal system in boules similar to those of synthetic corundum.
  • Synthetic rutile (TiO2) is manufactured through the upgrading of ilmenite ore to remove impurities (mostly iron) and yield a feedstock for production of titanium tetrachloride through the chloride process.
  • Synthetic rutile is used for coating welding electrodes and for manufacture of titanium tetrachloride which in turn is used in making titanium sponge.
  • Synthetic rutile made from ilmenite can be substituted for natural rutile.
  • Two commercial systems are in current use for production of the world's synthetic rutile, namely: The well-documented Becher process, as used extensively in Western Australia, and The Benilite process, used in India, Malaysia and the USA, which involves leaching treated ilmenite with hot hydrochloric acid under pressure.
  • The process of converting ilmenite to synthetic rutile generates 0.7 tons of waste per ton of product, and the chloride process generates about 0.2 tons of waste per ton of TiO2 product using rutile as a feedstock.
  • Kerr-McGee Chemical Corporation has produced synthetic rutile at its Mobile, Alabama plant; it is the only U.S. producer of synthetic rutile today.
  • Iluka is the world’s largest producer of synthetic rutile, accounting for approximately 66% of global production in past years.

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