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Kaolinite

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Formula:
Al2(Si2O5)(OH)4
Colour:
White to cream and pale-yellow, also often stained various hues, tans and browns being common.
Lustre:
Waxy, Pearly, Dull, Earthy
Hardness:
2 - 2½
Specific Gravity:
2.63 (Calculated)
Crystal System:
Triclinic
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

Approved, 'Grandfathered' (first described prior to 1959)
9.ED.05

9 : SILICATES (Germanates)
E : Phyllosilicates
D : Phyllosilicates with kaolinite layers composed of tetrahedral and octahedral nets
Dana 7th ed.:
71.1.1.2
15.8

15 : Silicates of Aluminum

Physical Properties of Kaolinite

Waxy, Pearly, Dull, Earthy
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:
2 - 2½ on Mohs scale
Hardness Data:
Measured
Tenacity:
Sectile
Cleavage:
Perfect
on {001}.
Fracture:
Irregular/Uneven, Conchoidal, Sub-Conchoidal, Micaceous
Density:
2.63 g/cm3 (Calculated)

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
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.007
Image 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:
Al2(Si2O5)(OH)4
IMA Formula:
Al2Si2O5(OH)4
Common Impurities:
Fe,Mg,Na,K,Ti,Ca,H2O

Crystallography of Kaolinite

Crystal System:
Triclinic
Class (H-M):
1 - Pedial
Space Group:
P1
Cell Parameters:
a = 5.13 Å, b = 8.89 Å, c = 7.25 Å
α = 90°, β = 104.5°, γ = 89.8°
Ratio:
a:b:c = 0.577 : 1 : 0.816
Unit Cell 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

Powder Diffraction Data:
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.

Type Occurrence of Kaolinite

Synonyms of Kaolinite

Other Language Names for Kaolinite

Basque:Kaolinita
Catalan:Caolinita
Cornish:Pri gwynn
Czech:Kaolinit
Estonian:Kaoliniit
Finnish:Kaoliini
French:Kaolinite
Hungarian:Kaolinit
Italian:Caolinite
Norwegian (Bokmål):Kaolinitt
Polish:Kaolinit
Serbian (Cyrillic Script):Каолинит
Simplified Chinese:高岭石
Slovak:Kaolinit
Swedish:Kaolinit
Traditional Chinese:高嶺石
Vietnamese:Cao lanh

Varieties of Kaolinite

Chrome-Kaolinite

A chromian Kaolinite

Chrome-Kaolinte

A chromian Kaolinite

Keramite (of Hunt)

Probably an impure Kaolinite, possibly dehydrated Halloysite

Parakaolinite

The hypothetical end-member of the Kaolinite-Serpentine series

Relationship of Kaolinite to other Species

Other Members of this group:
DickiteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
Greenalite(Fe2+,Fe3+)2-3Si2O5(OH)4
HalloysiteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
ManandoniteLi2Al4(Si2AlB)O10(OH)8
NacriteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
Odinite(Fe,Mg,Al,Fe,Ti,Mn)2.4((Si,Al)2O5)(OH)4
Serpentine SubgroupD3[Si2O5](OH)4 D= Mg, Fe, Ni, Mn, Al, Zn

Common Associates

Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
Quartz148 photos of Kaolinite associated with Quartz on mindat.org.
Chalcopyrite64 photos of Kaolinite associated with Chalcopyrite on mindat.org.
Pyrite35 photos of Kaolinite associated with Pyrite on mindat.org.
Siderite28 photos of Kaolinite associated with Siderite on mindat.org.
Azurite26 photos of Kaolinite associated with Azurite on mindat.org.
Marmatite24 photos of Kaolinite associated with Marmatite on mindat.org.
Sphalerite20 photos of Kaolinite associated with Sphalerite on mindat.org.
Aragonite18 photos of Kaolinite associated with Aragonite on mindat.org.
Calcite18 photos of Kaolinite associated with Calcite on mindat.org.
Orthoclase15 photos of Kaolinite associated with Orthoclase on mindat.org.

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping

9.ED.Clinochrysotile
9.ED.05DickiteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.05NacriteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.05Odinite(Fe,Mg,Al,Fe,Ti,Mn)2.4((Si,Al)2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.10HalloysiteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.10HisingeriteFe3+2(Si2O5)(OH)4 · 2H2O
9.ED.10Halloysite-7ÅAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.15AmesiteMg2Al(AlSiO5)(OH)4
9.ED.15AntigoriteMg3(Si2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.15Berthierine(Fe2+,Fe3+,Al)3(Si,Al)2O5(OH)4
9.ED.15Brindleyite(Ni,Al)3(Si,Al)2O5(OH)4
9.ED.15CaryopiliteMn2+3Si2O5(OH)4
9.ED.15ChrysotileMg3(Si2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.15CronstedtiteFe2+2Fe3+((Si,Fe3+)2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.15Fraipontite(Zn,Al)3((Si,Al)2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.15Greenalite(Fe2+,Fe3+)2-3Si2O5(OH)4
9.ED.15KellyiteMn2+2Al(AlSiO5)(OH)4
9.ED.15LizarditeMg3(Si2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.15ManandoniteLi2Al4(Si2AlB)O10(OH)8
9.ED.15Népouite(Ni,Mg)3(Si2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.15PecoraiteNi3(Si2O5)(OH)4
9.ED.15GuidottiiteMn2Fe3+(Fe3+SiO5)(OH)4
9.ED.20Allophane(Al2O3)(SiO2)1.3-2 · 2.5-3H2O
9.ED.20ChrysocollaCu2-xAlx(H2-xSi2O5)(OH)4 · nH2O
9.ED.20ImogoliteAl2SiO3(OH)4
9.ED.20Neotocite(Mn,Fe,Mg)SiO3 · H2O
9.ED.25BismutoferriteFe3+2Bi(SiO4)2(OH)
9.ED.25ChapmaniteFe3+2Sb3+(Si2O5)O3(OH)

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals Grouping

15.1AndalusiteAl2(SiO4)O
15.2KyaniteAl2(SiO4)O
15.3SillimaniteAl2(SiO4)O
15.4MulliteAl4+2xSi2-2xO10-x
15.5PyrophylliteAl2Si4O10(OH)2
15.6DickiteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
15.7NacriteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
15.9MetahalloysiteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
15.10HalloysiteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
15.11Allophane(Al2O3)(SiO2)1.3-2 · 2.5-3H2O

Fluorescence of Kaolinite

Not fluorescent in UV.

Other Information

Health Risks:
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

Kaolinite in petrology

An essential component of (items highlighted in red)
Common component of (items highlighted in red)

References for Kaolinite

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Ross, C.S., Kerr, P.F. (1930) The kaolin minerals. USGS Professional Paper 165-E: 151-176.
Brindley, G.W., 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., Langston, R.B. (1969) Anauxite and kaolinite structure identical. Clays and Clay Minerals: 17: 241-243.
Langston, R.B., Pask, J.A. (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. Journal of the American Ceramic Society: 60: 37-43.
Keller, W.D., Hsia Cheng, Johns, W.D., 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., Kinniburgh, D.G., Helmke, P.A., Jackson, M.L. (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., 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, R.V., Skinner, H.C.W., Foord, E.E., Mason, B., Rosenzweig, A. (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., 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., 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., Bish, D.L. (2014) Kaolin-group minerals: From hydrogen-bonded layers to environmental recorders. Elements: 10: 183-188.

Internet Links for Kaolinite

mindat.org URL:
https://www.mindat.org/min-2156.html
Please feel free to link to this page.

Localities for Kaolinite

Mineral and/or Locality  
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