Kaolinite is a clay mineral with the chemical formula Al2Si2O5(OH)4. It is a soft mineral that is usually white, but it can appear blue or rust colored due to impurities. It is a very common mineral and in mined in many countries of the world. When a rock contains a lot of kaolinite it is referred to as kaolin or China clay. Let’s take a look at the most common applications of this mineral.
Uses of Kaolinite
- One of the most common uses of Kaolinite is in porcelain. Kaolin is the main ingredient of porcelain, which is sometimes known as China because this was where porcelain was first made.
- The largest use of kaolinite is in the production of paper. It is used to control the gloss in certain grades of paper.
- It is also used in paint to modify the level of gloss and to extend titanium dioxide.
- It is sometimes used on organic farms where it is sprayed on crops to prevent insect damage. It may also be used on apple farms to prevent the sun scalding the fruit.
- Kaolinite often contains trace amounts of thorium and uranium, which means that it can be useful in radiological dating.
- It also has some important medical uses such as in improved medial gauze (QuikClot Combat Gauze). It was once used to treat diarrhea and is eaten in some cultures to suppress hunger.
- Kaolinite is an additive in some cosmetics and toothpaste.