• Rietveld refinement;
  • in situ energy-dispersive diffraction;
  • electrolysis

An in situ energy-dispersive X-ray diffraction experiment was undertaken on operational titanium electrowinning cells to observe the formation of rutile (TiO2) passivation layers on Magnéli-phase (TinO2n−1; n = 4–6) anodes and thus determine the relationship between passivation layer formation and electrolysis time. Quantitative phase analysis of the energy-dispersive data was undertaken using a crystal-structure-based Rietveld refinement. Layer formation was successfully observed and it was found that the rate of increase in layer thickness decreased with time, rather than remaining constant as observed in previous studies. The limiting step in rutile formation is thought to be the rate of solid-state diffusion of oxygen within the anode structure.