Ilmenite – the titanium dioxide source


  • Named after it’s type locality, the Ilmensky Mountais in the Southern Urals (Russia)
  • Most important titanium mineral; it is predominantly mined for titanium dioxide production
  • Formula: FeTiO3
  • Space group: R-3 (No. 148)
  • Crystal system: trigonal
  • Crystal class: -3
  • Lattice parameters: a = b = 5.0884 Å, c = 14.0855 Å, αβ = 90°, γ = 120°

Picture by Modris Baum (Public Domain)

Crystal structure (click on the picture to download the VESTA file):

(K. Momma and F. Izumi, “VESTA 3 for three-dimensional visualization of crystal, volumetric and morphology data,” J. Appl. Crystallogr., 44, 1272-1276 (2011).)

  • FeO6 distorted octahedra (brown)
  • TiO6 distorted octahedra (blue)
  • Oxygen (red)
  • The structure can be derived from the corundum (Al2O3) type: in corundum all cations are identical but in ilmenite Fe2+ and Ti4+ ions occupy alternating layers perpendicular to the c axis
  • Within the alternating layers the FeO6 / TiO6 octahedra are edge-connected to give six-membered rings (the centre of the hexagons are unoccupied)

For a 3D interactive version, see here:


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