Red is a common colour used in cosmetic product such as lipsticks and eye shadow. Most of these products use natural dye such as carmine red which is extracted by drying and crushing of female cochineal beetle. Allergy reactions have been reported in some user due to the usage of this.
Red hematite powder has also been used in Japan as a pigment for overglaze on porcelain since ancient time. It can also be used for lacquer wares, asphalt roads, cosmetic, and building material due to its excellent tinting strength and being weather resistant.
There are many synthetic methods reported recently to synthesize hematite nanoparticles such as hydrolysis of Fe (III) solution and thermal decomposition. However, it was often found that hematite from natural ores and industrially synthesized are not thermostable, with their colours fading during heat treatments.
This technology make used of naturally found iron-oxidizing bacteria to synthesize unique-shaped microsheath which is of organic and inorganic hybrid, making it difficult to synthesize artificially.
This technology produces a very attractive shade of red colour pigment due to the characteristic of the sheath.
The sheath is characterized by an extracellular, microtubular, Fe-or Mn-encrusted structure. Some features of the powder produced include:
- A superior potential (large capacity) as an anode material of Li-ion battery to that of broadly used carbon anode
- Bright reddish colour which can be used in pottery and cosmetic
- Efficient enhancer of catalyst activity
- High affinity to human cells
- Plant protection activity against diseases
The yellowish-red colour powder produced by this microsheath is also more thermostable than commercially available hematite (able to withstand heat-treatment of 800oC, the same temperature used in heat-treating of porcelain)
The dye produced with this technology can be used as functional material in the porcelain industry and nanotechnology. It can also be used for cosmetic purposes.
The tech partner is looking for research collaborator to further develop this product for cosmetic usage, and also manufacturing partner who are able to scale-up the production of this dye.
The Global Iron oxide Pigments market is estimated to reach $2,185.70 million in 2018 from a value of $1,656.88 million in 2012 with a growing CAGR of 5.4% from 2013. This technology is a good alternative to synthesize the pigment without extracting from natural occurring ore hematite/magnetite.
The coloured dye pigment from this technology came from natural source, and is thermostable. In application that requires high temperature treatment, the colour will not be changed.