Barite (Barium Sulfate) Supplier


Barium sulfate occurs as barite, a natural mineral and is also available as a synthetic version created by chemical precipitation. The synthetic version is preferred when exceptional purity, higher brightness or finer particle size are required. The natural, ground version tends to give blocky irregular particles whereas the precipitated version, also known as blanc fixe, exhibits particles that are spherical.

Barium sulfate is widely used for three main reasons:

  • High density
  • High refractive index
  • Exceptionally inert


The properties dictate the use of barium sulfate. The high density makes it ideal for added heft, x-ray-blocking, sound damping and negative buoyancy. Vast quantities of barium sulfate are added to oil drilling fluids / muds to increase their density in order to seal the gap around the drill bit. Less expensive, lower purity grades are used in that application.

The refractive index of BaSO4 is significantly higher than that of most plastics and coatings, which leads to light scattering and thus a white appearance. Barium sulfate has medium tinting strength, so it is used either alone for light diffusers or together with titanium dioxide as a partial replacement, with the goal of cost reduction. A Guinness World Record for whitest paint was made possible by barium sulfate with a reflectance of over 98% of sunlight. By reflecting visible, UV and infrared light, it is calculated that such paints used as roof coatings could substantially reduce air conditioning bills by keeping buildings cooler.

Miscellaneous applications include medical imaging (the high density makes it x-ray detectable), fireworks and brake linings.

Although soluble barium is considered toxic, barium sulfate is insoluble and considered safe. In fact, precipitated barium dispersions are even ingested to allow x-ray imaging of the digestive tract in medical examinations. Such products are meet the requirements for barium sulfate of the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and European Pharmacopeia (EP). Barium Sulfate is Affirmed GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the US FDA. This chemical inertness is also beneficial in outdoor coatings where UV light and acid rain would attack and erode away some other common functional fillers.

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