rutile


rutile
/rooh"teel, -tuyl/, n.
a common mineral, titanium dioxide, TiO2, usually reddish-brown in color with a brilliant metallic or adamantine luster, occurring in crystals: used to coat welding rods.
[1795-1805; < F < G Rutil < L rutilus RED1]

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Commercially important titanium mineral (titanium dioxide, TiO2).

It forms red to reddish brown, hard, brilliant metallic, slender crystals. Rutile has minor uses in porcelain and glass manufacture as a colouring agent and in making some steels and copper alloys. It is also used as a gem, but synthetic rutile is actually superior to natural crystals for gem use; it has fire (flashes of colour) and brilliance (light deflection) like those of diamond. Rutile is mined in Norway and is widespread in the Alps, the southern U.S., Mexico, and elsewhere.

Rutile on pyrophyllite from Mono County, Calif.

B.M. Shaub

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 the most abundant of three naturally occurring forms of titanium dioxide (TiO2; see also anatase; brookite). It forms red to reddish brown, hard, brilliant metallic, slender crystals, often completely surrounded by other minerals. Rutile is a commercially important titanium mineral, although most titanium dioxide is produced from ilmenite. Rutile has minor uses in porcelain and glass manufacture as a colouring agent and in making some steels and copper alloys. Rutile is also used as a gem, but artificial rutile produced by the flame-fusion (Verneuil) process is superior to natural crystals for gem use. The artificial material has a yellow tinge, a very high index of refraction, and high dispersion; hence it shows fire and brilliance like that of diamond. Synthetic gems can be produced in various colours by the addition of appropriate metal oxides before fusion.

      Rutile is an accessory mineral in igneous rocks but is more common in schists and gneisses; it also occurs in pegmatites and crystallized limestones and is common in detrital deposits. Microscopic needles of rutile are widespread in clays, shales, and slates. Rutile is mined from apatite veins in the Gjerstadvatnet and Vegårshei regions of Norway. It is widespread in the Alps and, in the United States, is abundant in Magnet Cove, Ark.; central Virginia; and on Shooting Creek, N.C. For detailed physical properties, see oxide mineral (table).

      Rutile often forms microscopic oriented inclusions in other minerals; these are responsible for the asterism shown by some phlogopite, rose quartz, ruby, and sapphire. Quartz that contains long, delicate, translucent rutile needles is called rutilated quartz (Venus's-hairstone), or Venus's-hairstone; it has been used as an ornamental stone since ancient times and was particularly prized in England and France during the 18th century. Intergrown netlike or reticulated aggregates of rutile in quartz are called sagenite (from the Greek word for “net”). Hairlike crystals of rutile not included in quartz are rare; the quartz crystals mechanically enclose the rutile during growth. Most fine-quality rutilated quartz comes from Minas Gerais, Braz.; Madagascar; Hanover, N.H.; and northern Vermont.

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Universalium. 2010.

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