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Ball Clay is a plastic clay used in the ceramic industry to provide strength and malleability to a ceramic body prior to firing. Also, during firing, ball clay is one of the components which fuses to act as a ‘cement’ binding together the refractory, non-shrinking components of the ceramic body. Much of the ceramic ware produced using ball clay is moulded (such as sanitaryware) and the use of ball clay is essential to ensure that mouldings do not sag or lose shape prior to firing.
Ball clay consists, largely of the mineral kaolinite, but with a smaller crystal size than that of other clays. The reasons for inclusion of ball clays in whiteware bodies include; increased workability of the body in the plastic state, development of increased green strength, increased fluidity imparted to casting slipsand the fluxing ability of some ball clays. The amount of ball clays in the whiteware, however, has to be controlled because in most cases they contain substantial amounts of iron oxide and titania, which impair the whiteness of the fired bodies and reduce the translucency of vitreous ware. If whiteness is desired, not more than about 15% of ball clay can be added to a clay body. In addition, the large amounts of water that must be added to develop high plasticity, results in large shrinkages during drying. Therefore, ball clays cannot completely replace kaolin in a ceramic body without causing cracking and warpage of the ware.
Bentonite is a highly colloidal clay mineral which gets its name from the place where its presence and usages were first discovered - Fort Benton, America. The multiple properties of bentonite namely hydration, swelling, water absorption, viscosity, thixotropy make it a multi-application product for diverse industries. Primarily two varieties of bentonite are available - sodium bentonite (high swelling, gelling and thermal durability) and calcium bentonite (more commonly available worldwide but with less swelling).
Uses : Bentonite has high swelling properties along with good viscosity and liquid limit. These properties are highly valued in most of the industrial applications. Sodium bentonite is well suited as a binder in the preparation of pellets, and in foundry and oil - well drilling mud. Bentonite also acts as a suspending agent in oil - well drilling fluids. Bentonite exhibits good green strength along with high hot and dry strength which helps in preventing moulds from breaking or cracking during the pouring or cooling processs in the foundry industry. Owing to high green strength resulting from its property to absorb and then release moisture, bentonite is used in iron ore pelletisation. Sodium-based bentonite of 75 mm size finds suitability in iron ore pelletisation for bonding by user industries. Bentonite has also remarkable colloidal and waterproofing properties. Bentonite gels are used as a carrier for a number of cosmetic preparations, toothpastes, creams, etc.
Feldspar is the name given to a group of minerals distinguished by the presence of alumina and silica (SiO2) in their chemistry. This group includes aluminium silicates of soda, potassium, or lime. It is the single most abundant mineral group on Earth. They account for an estimated 60% of exposed rocks, as well as soils, clays, and other unconsolidated sediments, and are principal components in rock classification schemes. The minerals included in this group are the orthoclase, microcline and plagioclase feldspars.
Feldspar is a common raw material used in glassmaking, ceramics, and to some extent as a filler and extender in paint, plastics, and rubber. In glassmaking, alumina from feldspar improves product hardness, durability, and resistance to chemical corrosion. In ceramics, the alkalis in feldspar act as a flux, lowering the melting temperature of a mixture. Fluxes melt at an early stage in the firing process, forming a glassy matrix that bonds the other components of the system together.
Granite is a light-colored igneous rock with grains large enough to be visible with the unaided eye. It forms from the slow crystallization of magma below Earth's surface. Granite is composed mainly of quartz and feldspar with minor amounts of mica, amphiboles, and other minerals. This mineral composition usually gives granite a red, pink, gray, or white color with dark mineral grains visible throughout the rock.
Granite is the best-known igneous rock. Many people recognize granite because it is the most common igneous rock found at Earth's surface and because granite is used to make many objects that we encounter in daily life. These include counter tops, floor tiles, paving stone, curbing, stair treads, building veneer, and cemetery monuments. Granite is used all around us - especially if you live in a city.
Quartz is one of the most common minerals in the Earth’s crust. As a mineral name, quartz refers to a specific chemical compound (silicon dioxide, or silica, SiO2), having a specific crystalline form (hexagonal). It is found is all forms of rock: igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary. Quartz is physically and chemically resistant to weathering. When quartz-bearing rocks become weathered and eroded, the grains of resistant quartz are concentrated in the soil, in rivers, and on beaches. The white sands typically found in river beds and on beaches are usually composed mainly of quartz, with some white or pink feldspar as well.
Quartz has great economic importance. Large amounts of quartz sand (also known as silica sand) are used in the manufacture of glass and ceramics and for foundry moulds in metal casting. Crushed quartz is used as an abrasive in sandpaper, silica sand is employed in sandblasting, and sandstone is still used whole to make whetstones, millstones, and grindstones. Silica glass (also called fused quartz) is used in optics to transmit ultraviolet light. Tubing and various vessels of fused quartz have important laboratory applications, and quartz fibres are employed in extremely sensitive weighing devices.
Quartz crystal is one of several minerals which are piezoelectric, meaning that when pressure is applied to quartz, a positive electrical charge is created at one end of the crystal and a negative electrical charge is created at the other. These properties make quartz valuable in electronics applications. Electronics-grade manufactured quartz is used in a large number of circuits for consumer electronics products such as computers, cell phones, televisions, radios, electronic games, etc. It is also used to make frequency control devices and electronic filters that remove defined electromagnetic frequencies.