Product Information

Product Code: RUTIL

ProductDescriptionPriceQuantityExt. Price  
RUTIL-11# RUTILE$10.5000 $0.00
RUTIL-2525# RUTILE$139.9500 $0.00
RUTIL-55# RUTILE$33.9500 $0.00
RUTIL-5050# RUTILE CERAMIC GRADE$267.9500 $0.00

Name Rutile

Rutile is the mineral name for natural crystals of titanium dioxide. In nature rutile is always contaminated by up to 15% other minerals (especially iron but also things like tantalum, niobium, chromium and tin). The term 'rutile' is thus generally understood to refer to the brown powder into which these minerals are ground and industry accepts up to 15% contaminants and yet still calls it rutile (below 85% titanium is called ilmenite). Rutile is considered an impure form of titanium whereas ilmenite is considered as FeTiO3. Grades of rutile are sometimes named after one of the impurities. Rutile is used in many industries (e.g. welding rods, paint) and ceramic uses are minor in comparison (for this reason bags of rutile might have labels like "Welding Rod Titanate").

Rutile is available in light calcined ceramic grade powder (very fine particle size), dark uncalcined powder, and granular form. Either grade of powder can be ground very fine (e.g. 325 mesh). In glazes it is generally better to use the ceramic grade since the decomposition of raw rutile during firing can be a source of glaze imperfections like pinholing and bubbles (even larger amounts of the ceramic grade, e.g. 8%, can also cause problems).

Rutile produces many crystalline, speckling, streaking, and mottling effects in glazes during cooling in the kiln and has been used in all types of colored glazes to enhance the surface character. It is thus highly prized by potters, many attractive variegated glazes are made using it. Many potters would say that their living depends on their rutile supply!

In ceramic glazes rutile is more often considered a variegator than a colorant. As little as 2% can impart significant effects in stoneware glazes. It is normally used in combination with a wide range of metal oxide and stain colorants to produce surfaces that are much more visually interesting. In glazes with high melt fluidity (e.g. having high boron), large amounts of rutile (e.g. 6-8%) can be quite stunning. The rutile encourages the development of micro-crystals and rivulets. Since rutile contains significant iron its use in combination with other colorants will often muddy the color that they would otherwise have or alter it if they are sensitive to the presense of iron. Even though rutile generally makes up less than 5% of stoneware glazes that employ it, they are often called 'rutile glazes' in recognition of its dramatic contribution.

Excessive rutile in a glaze can produce surface imperfections. In addition, when rutile is employed in higher percentages (e.g. 5%+) a given percentage might work well whereas a slightly higher amount can look drastically different. Such situations are vulnerable to chemistry changes in the supply of rutile. Thus people will often do a line blend trying a range of percentages to determine an optimal amount.

In glazes rutile can be quite sensitive to the presence of opacifiers. While an unopacified glaze glaze might appear quite stunning, the addition of a zircon opacifier will usually drastically alter its appearance and interest because the variegation imparted is dependent on the glaze having depth and transparency or translucency. Strangely rutile and tin, another opacifier, can produce some very interesting reactions and it is quite common to see tin in amounts of up to 4% in rutile glazes. In these cases the tin appears to react in the crystal formation rather than opacify the glaze.

Although rutile will normally stain a glaze brown or yellow, its crystallization effects can significantly lighten the color of iron glazes. Higher amounts of rutile in stoneware glazes will often contribute glaze imperfections.

Granular rutile is sometimes used in bodies and glazes to impart fired speckle.

Rutile is used for special effects in leaded glazes and can form up to 15% of the recipe.

Rutile can be used as a tone modifier to soften the more potent colorants.