Mixed oxide

Mixed oxide

In chemistry, a mixed oxide is a somewhat informal name for an oxide that contains more than one chemical element in its cation, or of a single element cation that has atoms in several states of oxidation.

The term is usually applied to solid ionic compounds that contain the oxide anion O2− and two or more element cations. A typical example is the mineral ilmenite (FeTiO3), a mixed oxide of iron (Fe2+) and titanium (Ti4+) cations. The cations may be the same element in different ionization states: a notable example is magnetite Fe3O4, which contains the cations Fe2+ ("ferrous" iron) and Fe3+ ("ferric" iron) in 1:1 ratio. Other notable examples include the ferrites,[1] strontium titanate SrTiO3 (which, despite its name, contains Ti4+ cations and not the TiO32- anion), yttrium aluminum garnet Y3Al5O12,[2] and many more.

Mixed oxides are intermediate between a metal oxide and a metal salt. Sometimes mixed oxides are the salts of weak metallic acids. Most other times they are just two different oxides that bond together strongly.

However, the term is sometimes also applied to compounds of oxygen and two or more other elements, where some or all of the oxygen atoms are covalently bound into oxoanions.[clarification needed][citation needed]; or to fine mixtures of two or more oxides. An example would be the zincates. Zinc hydroxide can react with concentrated sodium hydroxide to become sodium zincate. This contains zincate ions.

Mixed oxide minerals are plentiful in nature. Synthetic mixed oxides are components of many ceramics with remarkable properties and important advanced technological applications, such as strong magnets, fine optics, lasers, semiconductors, piezoelectrics, superconductors, catalysts, refractories, gas mantles, nuclear fuels, and more. Piezoelectric mixed oxides, in particular, are extensively used in pressure and strain gauges, microphones, ultrasound transducers, micromanipulators, delay lines, etc..


  1. ^ Alex Goldman (1990), Modern ferrite technology
  2. ^ K. Byrappa, Masahiro Yoshimura (2001), Handbook of hydrothermal technology. William Andrew. 870 pages.

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