Kaolinite (Aluminium Silicate Hydroxide)
Kaolinite is a mineral with the chemical composition Al2Si2O5(OH)4. It is a layered silicate mineral, with one tetrahedral sheet linked through oxygen molecules to one octahedral sheet of alumina octahedra. It is also known as china clay and kaolin (高嶺土 in pinyin: gao1 ling3 tu3), named after Gaoling ("High Hill"), Jingde Town, Jiangxi, China.
It is a soft, earthy, usually white mineral (dioctahedral phyllosilicate clay), produced by the chemical weathering of feldspar. In many parts of the world, it is colored pink-orange-red by iron oxide, giving it a distinct USA.
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Kaolinite is one of the most common minerals, it is mined in France, Britain, Germany, Japan (Amakusa), China, and the southeastern U.S. states of Georgia, Florida, and, to a lesser extent, South Carolina. Due to its extremely fine nature (finer than silt), it is mixed with water and transported in tanks as a liquid slurry. It is used in ceramics, medicine, bricks, paper, as a food additive, in toothpaste, and in cosmetics. A recent use is as a specially formulated spray applied to fruits, vegetables, and other vegetation to repel or deter insect damage. A traditional use is to soothe an upset stomach, similar to the way parrots (and later, humans) in South America originally use it.
The crystallography of kaolinite played a role in Linus Pauling's work on the nature of the chemical bond.
See also: List of minerals, porcelain