Titanium oxide is a compound that can crystallize in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the pressure and temperature under which it is formed. One specific form of titanium oxide crystallizes into a cubic unit cell, with titanium (Ti), a transition metal in grey, and oxygen (O) in red. This particular unit cell, pictured below, has 8 Ti and 8 O atoms located at each corner.
Forming an oxide of titanium involves the combination of oxygen and titanium at high temperatures and pressures. Heat causes the oxygen to enter the gap between the titanium atoms, forming a strong bond between the two elements and creating the TiO2 oxide compound. The unit cell structure that results has the titanium in the grey positions and the oxygen in the red positions.
The shape of the unit cell is determined by the way in which the titanium and oxygen atoms interact. The atoms tend to repel one another due to electrostatic forces and so, in order to minimize this repulsion, they arrange themselves in a way that allows them to remain equidistant from one another. It is this arrangement that allows for the formation of the cubic unit cell, with each Ti atom occupying the corners of the cube and each O atom sitting in the center of each face of the cube.
The unique cubic unit cell structure of this oxide of titanium enables it to possess a variety of interesting properties. It has a very high melting point, making it extremely durable, and is also highly resistant to corrosion and wear. It is used in a variety of applications, from aerospace components to medical implants.
In summary, titanium oxide crystallizes into a cubic unit cell, with titanium (Ti) occupying the grey positions and oxygen (O) occupying the red positions. This structure allows the titanium and oxygen atoms to remain equidistant from one another, resulting in a strong and durable compound with a wide range of applications.