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Kaolinite

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Formula:
Al
 
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
System:TriclinicColour:White to cream and ...
Hardness:2 - 2½
Member of:Kaolinite-Serpentine Group
Name:Named in 1637 by Song Yingxing for the ancient Chinese type locality "Kaoling (Gaoling)", meaning high ridge.


Mineral used in pre-historic times. Presumably the most important mineral in clay used in pre-historic pottery. http://www.mindat.org/photo-620484.html Sumerian symbol for clay. חלבנהπη in Hebrew. λός in Greek. Lutum in Latin. Kaolinite, by name, was known since the Yuan (Mongol) dynasty in the thirteenth century as "Kaolin earth" and was first properly described by Song Yingxing in 1637 in his book Tian Gong Kai Wu (translated: "Introduction to Heaven's Handicrafts" or "The Exploitation of the Works of Nature"). It's usefullness was introduced to the West by a French priest in 1712 (de Fourestier, 2005).

Found largely in masses - clay beds - usually with a bright white color, also pale yellow to light brown color due to staining or mixture, rarely blue to blue gray.

See also the chemically identical halloysite-7Å.

Classification of Kaolinite

IMA status:Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
Explanation of status:Officially "re-described" by Keller et al. (1980).
Strunz 8th edition ID:8/H.25-10
Nickel-Strunz 10th (pending) edition ID:9.ED.05

9 : SILICATES (Germanates)
E : Phyllosilicates
D : Phyllosilicates with kaolinite layers composed of tetrahedral and octahedral nets
Dana 7th edition ID:71.1.1.2
Hey's CIM Ref.:15.8

15 : Silicates of Aluminum
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Type Occurrence of Kaolinite

Type Locality:Gaoling Mine (Kauling Mine), Gaoling village, Ehu town, Fuliang Co., Jingdezhen Prefecture, Jiangxi Province, China
Year of Discovery:Anci

Occurrences of Kaolinite

Geological Setting:A primary constiuent of clay beds formed by the decomposition of feldspar-bearing rocks.

Physical Properties of Kaolinite

Lustre:Waxy, Pearly, Dull, Earthy
Diaphaneity (Transparency):Translucent, Opaque
Colour:White to cream and pale-yellow, also often stained various hues, tans and browns being common.
Streak:White, or paler than the sample.
Hardness (Mohs):2 - 2½
Hardness Data:Measured
Tenacity:Sectile
Cleavage:Perfect
on {001}.
Fracture:Irregular/Uneven, Conchoidal, Sub-Conchoidal, Micaceous
Density (calculated):2.63 g/cm3

Crystallography of Kaolinite

Crystal System:Triclinic
Class (H-M):1 - Pedial
Space Group:P1
Cell Parameters:a = 5.13Å, b = 8.89Å, c = 7.25Å
α = 90°, β = 104.5°, γ = 89.8°
Ratio:a:b:c = 0.577 : 1 : 0.816
Unit Cell Volume:V 320.11 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:1
Morphology:Visible crystals extremely rare, typically 2-5 nanometer range, but may be up to 1.5 mm across. Platy, pseudohexagonal. Fibers and spheres have been observed using SEM imaging.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
d-spacingIntensity
7.17(100)
4.37(60)
4.19(45)
3.58(80)
1.62(70)
1.59(60)
1.59(90)
Comments:Data for For kaolinite-1A: Several polytypes known: -1Md, -2M^1 ("dickite"), -2M^2 ("nacrite"). Each has a slightly different powder pattern.

Optical Data of Kaolinite

Type:Biaxial (-)
RI values: nα = 1.553 - 1.563 nβ = 1.559 - 1.569 nγ = 1.560 - 1.570
2V:Measured: 24° to 50°, Calculated: 44°
Birefringence:0.017
Maximum Birefringence:δ = 0.007

Chart shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:Low
Dispersion:none
Pleochroism:Non-pleochroic

Chemical Properties of Kaolinite

Formula:
Al
 
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
Simplified for copy/paste:Al2(Si2O5)(OH)4
Essential elements:Al, H, O, Si
All elements listed in formula:Al, H, O, Si
Common Impurities:Fe,Mg,Na,K,Ti,Ca,H2O

Relationship of Kaolinite to other Species

Member of:Kaolinite-Serpentine Group
Other Members of Group:

- +
Amesite
Mg
 
2
Al(AlSiO
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
Antigorite
Mg
 
3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
Baumite
(Mg,Al,Mn,Zn,Fe)
 
3
(Si,Al)
 
2
O
 
5
(OH)
 
4
Berthierine
(Fe
2+
 
,Fe
3+
 
,AlMg)
 
2-3
((Si,Al)
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
Brindleyite
(Ni,Al)
 
3
(Si,Al)
 
2
O
 
5
(OH)
 
4
Caryopilite
(Mn,Mg)
 
3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
Chrysotile
Mg
 
3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
Clinochrysotile
Cronstedtite
Fe
2+
2
Fe
3+
 
((Si,Fe
3+
 
)
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
Dickite
Al
 
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
Fraipontite
(Zn,Al)
 
3
((Si,Al)
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
Greenalite
Fe
 
2-3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
Halloysite
Al
 
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
Kellyite
Mn
2+
2
Al(AlSiO
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
Lizardite
Mg
 
3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
Manandonite
Li
 
2
Al
 
4
(Si
 
2
AlB)O
 
10
(OH)
 
8
Nacrite
Al
 
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
Népouite
(Ni,Mg)
 
3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
Odinite
(Fe,Mg,Al,Fe,Ti,Mn)
 
2.4
((Si,Al)
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
Orthochrysotile
Parachrysotile
Pecoraite
Ni
 
3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
Webskyite
Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping):

- +
9.ED.05Dickite
Al
 
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.05Nacrite
Al
 
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.05Odinite
(Fe,Mg,Al,Fe,Ti,Mn)
 
2.4
((Si,Al)
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.10Halloysite
Al
 
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.10Hisingerite
Fe
3+
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
· 2H
 
2
O
9.ED.10Halloysite-7Å
Al
 
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Amesite
Mg
 
2
Al(AlSiO
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Antigorite
Mg
 
3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Berthierine
(Fe
2+
 
,Fe
3+
 
,AlMg)
 
2-3
((Si,Al)
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Brindleyite
(Ni,Al)
 
3
(Si,Al)
 
2
O
 
5
(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Caryopilite
(Mn,Mg)
 
3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Chrysotile
Mg
 
3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Cronstedtite
Fe
2+
2
Fe
3+
 
((Si,Fe
3+
 
)
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Fraipontite
(Zn,Al)
 
3
((Si,Al)
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Greenalite
Fe
 
2-3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Kellyite
Mn
2+
2
Al(AlSiO
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Lizardite
Mg
 
3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Manandonite
Li
 
2
Al
 
4
(Si
 
2
AlB)O
 
10
(OH)
 
8
9.ED.15Népouite
(Ni,Mg)
 
3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Pecoraite
Ni
 
3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.15Guidottiite
Mn
 
2
Fe
3+
 
(Fe
3+
 
SiO
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
9.ED.20Allophane
(Al
 
2
O
 
3
)(SiO
 
2
)
 
1.3-2
· 2.5-3H
 
2
O
9.ED.20Chrysocolla
Cu
 
2-x
Al
 
x
(H
 
2-x
Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
· nH
 
2
O (x < 1)
9.ED.20Imogolite
Al
 
2
SiO
 
3
(OH)
 
4
9.ED.20Neotocite
(Mn,Fe,Mg)SiO
 
3
· H
 
2
O
9.ED.25Bismutoferrite
Fe
3+
2
Bi(SiO
 
4
)
 
2
(OH)
9.ED.25Chapmanite
Fe
3+
2
Sb
3+
 
(SiO
 
4
)
 
2
(OH)
Related Minerals - Hey's Index Grouping:

- +
15.1Andalusite
Al
 
2
(SiO
 
4
)O
15.2Kyanite
Al
 
2
(SiO
 
4
)O
15.3Sillimanite
Al
 
2
(SiO
 
4
)O
15.4Mullite
Al
 
4+2x
Si
 
2-2x
O
 
10-x
15.5Pyrophyllite
Al
 
2
(Si
 
4
O
 
10
)(OH)
 
2
15.6Dickite
Al
 
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
15.7Nacrite
Al
 
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
15.9Metahalloysite
15.10Halloysite
Al
 
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
15.11Allophane
(Al
 
2
O
 
3
)(SiO
 
2
)
 
1.3-2
· 2.5-3H
 
2
O
Related Minerals - Dana Grouping):

- +
71.1.1.1Dickite
Al
 
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
71.1.1.3Nacrite
Al
 
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
71.1.1.4Halloysite
Al
 
2
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4

Other Names for Kaolinite

Synonyms:
AncuditeCarnatChina ClayClayite (of Mellor)Cleîte
CollyrinumCollyrumCreniaditeFireclayKaolin
LeucargillaMarga PorcellanaMyelinNeokaolinPholerite
Porcelain ClayPorcelain Earth
Other Languages:
Basque:Kaolinita
Catalan:Caolinita
Cornish:Pri gwynn
Czech:Kaolinit
Estonian:Kaoliniit
Finnish:Kaoliini
French:Kaolinite
German:Kaolinit
Ancudit
Cleît
Creniadit
Pholerit
Porzellanerde
Hebrew:קאוליניט
Hungarian:Kaolinit
Italian:Caolinite
Japanese:カオリナイト
Norwegian (Bokmål):Kaolinitt
Polish:Kaolinit
Russian:Каолинит
Serbian (Cyrillic Script):Каолинит
Simplified Chinese:高岭石
Slovak:Kaolinit
Spanish:Ancudita
Cleîta
Creniadita
Kaolinita
Swedish:Kaolinit
Traditional Chinese:高嶺石
Ukrainian:Каолініт
Vietnamese:Cao lanh
Varieties:
Chrome-KaoliniteChrome-KaolinteKeramite (of Hunt)Parakaolinite

Other Information

Fluorescence in UV light:Not fluorescent in UV.
Health Warning:No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.
Industrial Uses:Numerous: fillers and coatings in/on papers, for making china and various other earthenware items, an absorbant in dye tracers, a pore-forming enhancer for dye uptake in inks, as an absobant for spills, as a stain preventing coating on lithographic plate

References for Kaolinite

Reference List:

- +
Ross, Clarence Samuel & Paul F. Kerr (1930), The kaolin minerals. USGS Professional Paper 165-E: 151-176.

Brindley, G.W. and Nakahira, M. (1959) The kaolinite-mullite reaction series: I, Survey of outstanding problems. II, Metakaolin. III, The high-temperature phases. Journal of the American Ceramic Society: 42: 311-324.

Conti L., Traversa G. (1968) - Caolinite ottenuta per trasformazione idrotermale della biotite. Periodico di mineralogia –Roma, pp. 605-624.

Bailey, S.W. & R.B. Langston (1969), Anauxite and kaolinite structure identical: Clays and Clay Minerals: 17: 241-243.

Langston, R.B. & J.A. Pask (1969), The nature of anauxite: Clays and Clay Minerals: 16: 425-436.

Leonard, A.J. (1977) Structural analysis of the transition phases in the kaolinite-mullite thermal sequence ournal of the American Ceramic Society: 60: 37-43.

Keller, W.D., Hsia Cheng, Johns, W.D., and Chi-Sheng Meng (1980): Kaolin from the original Kauling (Gaoling) Mine locality, Kiangsi Province, China. Clays and Clay Minerals 28(2), 97-104.

May, H.M., D.G. Kinniburgh, P.A. Helmke, and M.L. Jackson (1986), Aqueous dissolution, solubilities and thermodynamic stabilities of common alumino-siolicate cla minerals; kaolinite and smectite. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 50, 1667-1677.

Bish, D. L., von Dreele, R. B. (1989): Rietveld refinement of non-hydrogen atomic positions in kaolinite. Clays and Clay Minerals 37, 289-296.

Srikrisna, K., Thomas, G., Martinez, R., Corral, M.P., de Aza, S., and Moya, J.S. (1990) Kaolinite-mullite reaction series: a TEM study. Journal of Materials Science: 25: 607-612.

Bish, D. L. (1993): Rietveld refinement of the kaolinite structure at 1.5 K. Clays and Clay Minerals 41, 738-744.

Gaines, Richard V., H. Catherine, W. Skinner, Eugene E. Foord, Brian Mason, Abraham Rosenzweig (1997), Dana's New Mineralogy : The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana: 1407.

Farmer, V. C. (1998): Differing effects of particle size and shape in the infrared and Raman spectra of kaolinite. Clay Minerals 33, 601-604.

Lee, S., Kim, Y.J., and Moon, H.S. (1999) Phase transformation sequence from kaolinite to mullite investigated by an energy-filtering transmission electron microscope. Journal of the American Ceramic Society: 82: 2841-2848.

Farmer, V.C. (2000) Transverse and longitudinal crystal modes associated with OH stretching vibrations in single crystals of kaolinite and dickite. Spectrochimica Acta: A56: 927-930.

Frost, R.L., Fredericks, P.M., Kloprogge, J.T., and Hope, G.A. (2001) Raman spectroscopy of kaolinites using different excitation wavelengths. Journal of Raman Spectroscopy: 32: 657-663.

Balan E, Delattre S, Guillaumet M, Salje E K H (2010): Low-temperature infrared spectroscopic study of OH-stretching modes in kaolinite and dickite. American Mineralogist 95, 1257-1266.

Balan, E., Calas, G. and Bish, D. L. (2014): Kaolin-group minerals: From hydrogen-bonded layers to environmental recorders. Elements 10, 183-188.

Internet Links for Kaolinite

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  • Raman and XRD data at RRUFF project
  • American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database
  • Kaolinite details from Handbook of Mineralogy (PDF)
  • Mineral Dealers:
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  • Localities for Kaolinite

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