How TiO₂ Influences the Gloss of Fibers

Gloss is nice but gloss isn’t a property that is always required for fabrics. Most fibers, either natural or man-made, tend to be glossy by themselves. To reduce the gloss to a required level, fine particles of anatase TiO2 can be added just before the spinning process.

There are two main types of fibers, natural and man-made. The most well-known natural fibers are the likes of wool, silk, cotton and linen.  Man-made fibers can be split into two categories, synthetic and cellulosic. Synthetic fibers are oil-based, such as nylon, polyester and polyamide, whereas cellulosic fibers are plant (wood pulp) based, e.g. viscose and lyocell. These fibers come with their own properties, e.g. silk is smooth and shiny whereas cotton is smooth but dull. Synthetic fibers all tend to be very glossy.

Nowadays fabrics are often a combination of various yarns, weaved together and used to give apparel specific properties, e.g. water repellency. To ensure that all these yarns, which are made from fibers, have a similar sheen, a delustering agent can be added to the fibers during the process of making yarns. Such an agent should be a fine powder that can be easily mixed with monomers. Depending on the fiber and the sheen that is desired, more or less of this additive will have to be used.

One of the most widely used delustering agents is TiO2, and more specifically TiO2 in its anatase crystalline form, as it is softer than its rutile form. Only a few percentages need to be added to turn shiny into dull fiber. Tronox’s R&D developed a TiO2 prototype dedicated to delustering, that can now be sampled to customers from our scaled-up production.

Tronox, as one of the main global TiO2 producers, has been in the specialty TiO2 market for more than 30 years, with stable and consistent production and integrated ore supply. Our extensive TiONA® and CristalACTiV™ portfolio offers a wide range of solutions. Visit us at and to learn more about Tronox’s ultrafine and specialty TiO2 grades or request a sample for your fiber application.

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