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Mineral Properties and Uses

What is Ilmenite?

Ilmenite is an iron titanium oxide and the primary ore of titanium. It is a common accessory mineral in igneous rocks such as gabbro, diorite and anorthosite. It is also forms in veins and pegmatites. Most of the commercially produced ilmenite is recovered from sands that have formed from the weathering of ilmenite-bearing rocks. The ilmenite sand is recovered by dredging and processing the alluvial deposits.

Physical Properties of Ilmenite

Chemical Classification oxide
Color black
Streak black
Luster metallic, submetallic
Diaphaneity opaque
Cleavage none
Mohs Hardness 5.5 to 6
Specific Gravity 4.7 to 4.8
Diagnostic Properties streak, weakly magnetic
Chemical Composition iron titanium oxide , FeTiO3, sometimes has significant magnesium and manganese substituting for the iron to yield a composition of (Fe, Mg, Mn)TiO3
Crystal System hexagonal
Uses a source of iron and titanium

Uses of Ilmenite?

Ilmenite is the primary ore of titanium. It is also used in the manufacture of titanium dioxide for paint pigments. Titanium is used to manufacture a wide variety of metal parts where light weight and very high strength are needed. Examples include: aircraft parts, artificial joints for humans and sporting equipment such as bicycle frames. Titanium is also used in a number of high-performance alloys.

Australian Ilmenite
Ilmenite from the Normanville, South Australia. Specimen is approximately 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) across.

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Ilmenite from St-Urbain, Quebec, Canada. Specimen is approximately 4 inches (10 centimeters) across.

Ilmenite from Norway
Ilmenite from Kragero, Norway. Specimen is approximately 4 inches (10 centimeters) across.

Ilmenite sand
Ilmenite sand from Melbourne, Florida. Specimens are grain size.

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