Brilliant White

 
 

Making your dishes sparkle

From fine dining to your kitchen crockery, white plates are a staple of the modern kitchen. Modern dishware is expect to be long lasting and resilient, and so draws on a variety of substances to ensure durability. How much do you know about the plates in your cupboard?

Not just for looks

We’re all accustomed to serving and being served with food on white plates. It certainly can make dishes look better, contrasting the rich colours of the food. That is not all that white plates can do however, some studies even say that being served food on a white dish can make it taste better. Research carried out in Canada found that when a cheesecake was served on a white round plate, testers thought it tasted much better than if served on black square plates!

Ready to serve

The plates in your kitchen don’t just have to look good. They need to resist years of use; being scratched with cutlery, heated in the oven and washed in the dishwasher. This requires some sturdy ingredients, luckily titanium dioxide (TiO­2) fits the bill! TiO2 is a white pigment able survive all of the above and more, all without losing its colour. This makes it the ideal pigment for use in dishes, especially as it’s completely safe to use with food. And that is not the only place in your house you’ll find TiO­2.

Household helper

All around your house you may find the kind of ceramics and enamels that use TiO­2. In your hot water tank for example, you need a ceramic which does not conduct heat too easily, doesn’t stain and is perfectly safe to use with water. TiO2 is perfect for all these things. It is perfect too on stovetops, where its resistance to discolouration even under heat is essential.

Titanium dioxide is an amazingly versatile substance which can be used in a wide range of applications around your house and beyond. Its qualities and characteristics make it the perfect ingredient to a meal that doesn’t just look great, but can taste even better! 


The stuff that holds it all together

Glue is an amazing substance that is present everywhere, and yet you rarely notice it. Man has been using adhesives to stick tools together for hundreds of thousands of years, but we’ve come a long way in both the effectiveness and aesthetics of modern glue.

A long journey

The earliest use of adhesives was discovered in central Italy, where stones stuck together with tar were found and dated to around 200,000 years ago. Since then, all sorts of materials have been used for glue, from beeswax to volcanic ash. In Europe, glues fell into disuse between 1500 and 1700, before cabinet makers rediscovered how useful the substance was for holding their products together.

Colour king

Today glue is used everywhere around you, from sticking wallpaper to your wall to holding the book you’re reading together. You can also find them in clothes and construction, with different applications needing different types and properties of glue. For example, in construction, where work is generally covered over in the end, the colour of the glue is less important. However, for clothes, books and decorations, the yellow, brown or beige of commonly used natural glues would ruin the looks of the final product. This is where one amazing chemicals comes into play – titanium dioxide.

Accomplished adhesive

Titanium dioxide is used widely in glues because it can whiten the final product, without changing the important chemical properties of the glue. This means it can be used in hot glues which would yellow other pigments – some adhesives are applied as hot as 400°C! It is also used to brighten the pigments that are used in coloured adhesives, for example a light green adhesive to glue down artificial lawn or red adhesive to glue tartan tracks.

Because titanium dioxide is able to brighten glues without affecting how they work it is the perfect pigment in this situation. So next time you notice a stray glue line in your book, think about how one chemical stops it from ruining your reading!


Making your concert memories last

The lights flash, the first notes burst forth from gigantic speakers flanking a stage that presents a worldwide superstar to thousands of adoring fans – the summer can be all about concerts. But how much do you know about the souvenirs we bring home?

Sound and Vision

Be it a local band in a hot and packed venue or a stadium filled a stunning lights show, live music is a special experience that can affect us far more than listening to recordings in headphones. The presence of the musician, the stage design, the interaction with fans, all of these things bring us closer to the artists we love. After the final encore, the lights go down and the crowd trails out, electrified and excited, each taking home special memories, and, for many, souvenirs like t-shirts.

Change Clothes

A merchandise stand at a concert is often draped with t-shirts, flags, posters and more. Plastered with band logos, tour dates and photos, these mementos can be found stuck to walls with tape in teenagers bedrooms all around the world. They need to be bright, colourful and long lasting - the “old band t-shirt” may be a cliché, but it’s one which exists because the t-shirts last long enough to be old! One chemical helps with all of this, titanium dioxide!

All the colours of the wind

Titanium dioxide is used widely as a colouran[VAMA1] t in[VAMA2]  everything from posters to t-shirts. It’s a white substance - amazingly white. More than just white though, it also brightens and sharpens other colours, meaning that it can be[VAMA3]   used in just about every colour[VAMA4]  you see on t-shirts and posters (apart from black – so you won’t find it as much at metal concerts!).

Because titanium dioxide also is resistant to fading under the sun, your t-shirts and posters will last for years, and with them your memories of amazing concerts!

 

The coating for clean energy

One of the most amazing changes in our modern world has been the shift towards cleaner and more sustainable sources of energy. This is a huge challenge with big hurdles in the way, and engineers and scientists will have to use every tool available if they’re to continue this transition. 

A Renewable Revolution

Europe has been working actively on creating a more sustainable future for decades. The EU has set itself the target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by the year 2050, which requires enormous changes in how we consume energy. We’re moving away from a world powered by coal, and towards one powered by the sun and, in particular, wind.

Windmill Worries

Wind turbines are among the most important sources of renewable energy, and will be essential for growing its portion on our energy mix. However, there are significant challenges for the development of wind energy in Europe. Firstly, finding the right place to build them is challenging, as it is important not to disturb the people and habitats in surrounding areas. In response to this, many developers have aimed to put wind farms offshore, in the ocean. This itself is technically challenging, but one chemical is essential in overcoming certain specific difficulties – titanium dioxide. 

Partner for Renewables

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is used widely in coatings for wind turbines, giving them their characteristic white look, which helps them blend into the environment. But more than just aesthetic, TiO2 has many useful properties for offshore wind turbines. It is corrosion resistant, meaning it can resist the extremely difficult environment of the ocean, where salt water does its best to break down any and all materials. The white colour also helps the turbine manage heat, preventing the blades from expanding and contracting in the sun. All this means the blades last longer, saving expensive and difficult maintenance. It also aids movement, meaning turbine blades can be as efficient as possible at converting the wind’s energy to electricity.

For Europe to change how it consumes energy requires a series of innovations. Every step of the way will need to be optimised and fine-tuned. In this process, titanium dioxide has an important role to play on the road to a cleaner, greener world.  


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