All You Need to Know About Iron Oxide Red

Hematite is commonly seen by us in the form of rust. This occurs as a chemical compound of oxygen and iron. In the industrial world, it is known as red iron oxide and it is one of the most important chemical compounds. In the form of granulated powder, it's excellent and cost-effective substances hold a lot of importance in industrial use. Iron oxide red has been used by many essential civilizations as well. Different variations of hematite can be found all around the world. 


Whatever you are building, you can easily find a use for it. Whether it’s buildings, ceramics, plates, pottery, polishes, colouring and whatnot, it can be used everywhere. This is how amazing and versatile this material is. The great thing is that hematite can be made better by mixing it with other materials as well. Let's look at some wonderful things this versatile product can do for us.

Natural Red Iron Oxide

You can find hematite on faraway planets like Mars. Here, natural iron oxide red is available, while on our planet, it coexists with other chemical compounds and crystalline substance for example quartz, chalk, and clay. A layman understands rust as a sign of deteriorating metal, whereas it has numerous applications and uses to it. Natural red iron oxide has many forms but there are only two, which are used as colours and pigments for industrial use. It is one of the most abundant iron ores that can be found on earth.

The Hematite Factor

The reddish colour of the soil is actually due to the presence of oxidised iron and it is found mostly in the tropics. They carry very little affinity to water, as they are hard and dense. The importance this carries can be seen by the fact that the use of haematite dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Ceramics and clay structures also held immense importance in those times. When there was no concept of blotting paper, haematite was used as ink absorbent and was known as Devonshire Sand. The applications are extremely vast and can be found in bridges, paints, pottery, pavers, substitutes of graphite, and polishing glass as well.


Uses Of Iron Oxide Red

Red iron oxide is known by many names such as red ochre and bloodstone. Indians extensively paid attention to it in geology and used it for decorative purposes and photographs. For exhibiting body paint, it was also used as a raw material. Due to its crudeness and density, it also comes in handy for manufacturing steel. The purest form of hematite is rouge and, as the name suggests, it is used to polish glass and plates as well. A naturally occurring iron oxide ore is thin and scaly and is called Micaceous Haematite. It is reported that this material is used as a substitute or in the manufacturing of stoves as the black lead. It also holds immense importance in petroleum and natural gas industries as a lubricant, pivotal in oil drilling. Iron mine tailings are rich in haematite, which is why they are used to manufacture bricks. Recycling is required because of its high alkalinity; thus, it can be found easily in recyclable waste streams in large volumes. To give pottery its shiny characteristic, hematite is the main factor. It was used as pottery glazing and was mixed with enough water to make it worthy of application. In earlier centuries, people enjoyed decorating tiles and bricks using haematite. You can witness this yourself by visiting mine museums all around the world. 

Paving bricks coloured with red iron oxide

Anti-corrosion paint is also made by using red iron oxide. Hematite is inert towards ultraviolet rays, making it the perfect anti-corrosive barrier. You can use it in paints and roof tiles to make sure that there is no exposure to ultraviolet rays. It can also shield from harmful effects of sulphur dioxide, ammonia, and other pollutants. Even when making buildings, it can be used with other coarse materials such as cement. Iron tailings can help make unfired bricks due to their characteristics of being strong and durable after being reprocessed. In optimal pressure conditions and adequate water content, iron tailings can form non-fired bricks and other miscellaneous building material. 

Used As A Pigment

In some industries, iron oxide red holds immense importance and the companies are solely dependent on the production of this chemical compound. African Pegmatite is one of the companies that have a large global footprint. They produce bricks of over 170 different colours every year.

Dependability, extensive opacity and permanence are some of the most important qualities that colourants should have. When it comes to alkalis, haematite is indifferent towards them, whereas they are soluble in acids. Usually, hematite does not react with solvents. This pigment is extremely important in colourants, dyes, and pigments. 

Moreover, there are many other uses of this pigment. The red colouring on the glass helps protect you from UV radiation. It also provides a non-leaching contaminant, making it important for beer bottles, oils, wine, and pharmaceuticals. It is also used as a plate glass for automotive and residential use. 


Another very important use is for fillers. This means that it is used as materials that are paste styled, to smooth out surfaces and cover imperfections. The advantages of this can be seen in removing deep scratches from cars, metal-based items, and wood. Once you dry and sand it, it will be ready to get being primed and painted to the level of perfection you were looking for. This means that without haematite, it would be impossible for us to get our cars fixed and bring them to brand new shape again. This property can be used in a lot of other industries such as fixing any metal-based items.

red iron oxide spray paint

Ceramics and Clay

For a very long time, one of the main uses of red iron oxide is making art and clay structures. This is used to give clay the colour red or terracotta. After these are fired, these ceramics hold a very vibrant and rich colour, which is not found in any other variation of colours. The finish it gives the structure or artwork an antique look. 


Due to the durability and longevity they hold, roofing tiles are the number one choice for roofing materials in America. Concrete and other building materials can be used to make roof tiles and then those are mixed with ceramics such as clay, to elevate their durability. We often see that roof tiles have the characteristic of being red in colour. This is because clay and cement are used for coating purposes after they are mixed with hematite and roof tiles are coated with them. 


Red Iron Oxide Supplier

There are many manufacturers and suppliers however finding the right one will depend on the use you want from the material. Your choice of a red iron oxide supplier will depend on your use. For example, if you need iron oxide for polishing, then you will need a different set of suppliers while for building materials it's a whole different story. It is available in many forms, there can't be just one supplier. A precise and detailed requirement of yours will help you find the perfect red iron oxide supplier.

For pigment and colour, hematite is pretty readily available. In the case of industrial use, you will need to contact some heft manufacturers and discuss the price. It also depends on whether you need it processed or not or if you need it mixed with some other material. As the uses and applications are so vast, so are the suppliers. As science and technology make more advances, hematite suppliers are continually running trials to develop its ever-expanding applications in today’s world.  

shoe with shoe polish

Wrapping It Up

What's 'ironic' is that red iron oxide is not a toxic substance. It can be used in so many things and is also FDA approved, which is why we use it in colourants and pigments as well. There is just one health caution that follows hematite and that is lung irritation, which can be caused by inhalation of fine dust particles. This can be easily remedied by proper powder gear. One needs to make sure that their mouth and nose are properly covered and so are their eyes. Mixing of the powder with other liquids should also be done with caution just like handling any other substance.


We can see that there is a never-ending list of uses that iron oxide red has. This proves that as time passes by, technology and science is reaching new heights as well. This is why we are in for many surprising discoveries that might show us many more uses in future.

red iron oxide powder in a pot