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Infrared Spectra of U.S. Automobile Original Finishes. VII. Extended Range FT-IR and XRF Analyses of Inorganic Pigments In Situ—Nickel Titanate and Chrome Titanate

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The identification, analysis, and occurrence in U.S. automobile original finishes (1974–1989) of Nickel Titanate (yellow) and Chrome Titanate (yellow–orange) are described in this report. The titanate pigments are based on the rutile (titanium dioxide) structure and there are only minor differences between the infrared absorptions of rutile and the titanates. Titanate pigment absorptions in paint spectra can thus be easily mistaken for those of rutile. Each of the titanates, however, contains two elements in addition to titanium that can serve to distinguish them using elemental analyses. Fourier transform infrared (4000–220 cm−1) and X-ray fluorescence instruments were used in combination for the in situ analysis of the titanates. In addition to titanium, nickel, and antimony, the three main detectable elements comprising Nickel Titanate, all of the commercial products of this pigment that were examined also contained impurities of zirconium, niobium, and usually lead. These elements were also detected in most of the monocoats in which Nickel Titanate was identified, as well as in the Chrome Titanate pigments, and the zirconium to niobium ratio was found to exhibit a wide variation. Nickel Titanate is a relatively common pigment that was identified in nearly three dozen U.S. automobile yellow nonmetallic monocoats (1974–1989), while Chrome Titanate appears to have been used in only a few yellow and orange nonmetallic monocoats. The use of the titanate pigments likely increased after this time period as they were replacements for lead chromate pigments (last used in a U.S. automobile original finish in the early 1990s), and are more amenable for use in basecoat/clearcoat finishes than in monocoats. Minor distortions of the infrared absorptions of rutile, anatase, and the titanates obtained using accessories with diamond windows were noted, and their origins are discussed.

Keywords: Chrome Titanate; Nickel Titanate; X-ray fluorescence spectrometry; automotive paint; criminalistics; forensic science; infrared spectroscopy; paint analysis; pigment identification

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Washington State Crime Laboratory, Washington State Patrol, Seattle, WA 98134-2045

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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