DuPont has been making Ti-Pure titanium dioxide (TiO2) white pigments for paper, paints and plastics since 1931 and is currently the world's leading producer. Today the company's plants in Edgemoor, Del., New Johnsonville, Tenn., and De Lisle, Miss., along with its Taiwan plant and its Altamira, Mexico, affiliate, produce about a quarter of the world's TiO2 pigments.
Ti-Pure paper and plastics-grade products are packaged in special polyethylene bags that dissolve when added directly to the mixing process, thereby eliminating waste. Ti-Pure slurry (RPD Vantage®) for paper products is delivered in liquid form and requires no packaging.
TiO2 exists naturally in titanium ores like ilmenite and rutile. Its molecular structure makes for high brightness and opacity, but first it must be chemically extracted and purified. For many years high costs discouraged widespread TiO2 use, but in 1931 the "sulfate process" was invented, lowering production costs and allowing TiO2 pigments to displace cheaper lithopone (barium sulfate/zinc sulfide). DuPont entered the TiO2 business in 1931 when it purchased a TiO2 patent-holding company, the Commercial Pigments Corporation, and offered a line of Ti-Pure products. When demand surged after World War II, DuPont engineers invented an alternate, more economical "chloride process." Introduced at the Edgemoor plant in 1951, it gradually replaced the sulfate process in all DuPont Ti-Pure plants as they expanded to meet ever-increasing demand through the 1990s. Reflecting its global scope, DuPont opened a Ti-Pure plant in Taiwan in 1994 and a technical service center in Mechelen, Belgium, in 1995 to serve the European, Middle Eastern and Asian markets.