Magnetite is a common type of iron oxide (compound comprised of iron and oxygen). It occurs in almost all types of igneous and metamorphic rocks and in many sedimentary rocks as well. It can be found throughout the world, with large deposits of magnetite in Chile, Sweden, Australia and the US. It is suspected that other large deposits will be found in other parts of the world as well. Magnetite is responsible for black beach sand that can be found in California and the west coast of New Zealand.
Uses of magnetite
- Magnetite is the most magnetic of all minerals that naturally occur on Earth. It can be turned into a ferrofluid, which is a liquid that becomes magnetized when exposed to a magnetic field. This is often used for demonstration purposes in science classes.
- When in powdered form magnetite can be use to remove arsenic from a water supply.
- The powdered form is also be added to liquid to be used in coal mining. Clean coal floats and contaminated coal sinks.
- A mixture of magnetite and corundum is known as emery, which is used as an abrasive. When finely ground it can be used as an abrasive in a jet of water.
- Due to the fact that magnetite is an iron ore, it is often used in the production of steel.
- It is used as a coating in some steam boilers because it can cope with the high temperatures inside the boiler.
- It is used in window panels because it protects against ultraviolet radiation. It also prevents condensation and provides better insulation than regular glass.
- Magnetite is used in certain types of thermite (a substance that produces intense heat).
- Some magnetite is also used in high-density concrete, in photocopier toner, as a color for paint and in certain types of fertilizers.