Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Titanium White and the Meanings Given to the Colour White

This post is a look at Titanium White and the meanings given to the colour white.

It is interesting to see that we have probably all eaten this colour’s usual pigment!

Titanium White

At Wikipedia it says – “The main modern white hiding pigment is Titanium dioxide. (A naturally occurring oxide of titanium)

Some pigments are toxic, such as the lead pigments that are used in lead paint. Paint manufacturers began replacing white lead pigments with the less toxic substitute, titanium white (titanium dioxide), even before lead was functionally banned in paint for residential use.

Titanium dioxide, also known as titanium(IV) oxide or titania, is the naturally occurringoxide of titanium, chemical formula TiO2. When used as a pigment, it is called titanium white, Pigment White 6, or CI 77891.

It is noteworthy for its wide range of applications, from paint to sunscreen to food colouring. It is employed as a pigment to provide whiteness and opacity to products such as paints, coatings, plastics, papers, inks, foods, medicines (i.e. pills and tablets) as well as most toothpastes.

Used as a white food colouring, it has E number E171. In cosmetic and skin care products, titanium dioxide is used both as a pigment and a thickener. It is also used as a tattoo pigment and styptic pencils

This pigment is used extensively in plastics and other applications for its UV resistant properties where it acts as a UV reflector.”

White paints can also be made from other white pigments such as chalk (not in oil) and zinc white, as well as titanium white.

This explains why white acrylic paint is opaque and not suitable for a lot of the watercolour techniques, as discussed in The Acrylic Painting Course. And how it can be used to over-paint any areas that do not turn out!!

Do you want to learn to paint? Find out more about The Acrylic Painting Course at


Some Meanings for White -

The white flag is the universal symbol for truce.

The ancient Greeks wore white to sleep in so that they would have pleasant dreams. The ancient Persians believed that all gods wore white.

A white sale is a sale of sheets, towels and other bed and bath items.

In the 20th century western brides have worn white to symbolise innocence and purity.

In China white is the colour of mourning.

It is worn by doctors and nurses to show that cleanliness is important and to ensure that their garments are clean and dirt-free.

A white knight is a rescuer.

To whitewash over something is to make it seem presentable when it is not!

White reflects light and is considered to be a summer colour. It is popular in fashion and decorating as it is light and neutral.

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