Wollastonite

Infobox mineral
name = Wollastonite
category = Silicate mineral
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formula = Calcium silicate, CaSiO3
molweight =
color = white, colorless or gray
habit = rare tabular crystals - commonly massive in lamellar, radiating, compact and fibrous aggregates.
system = triclinic bar 1
twinning =
cleavage = perfect in two directions at near 90 degrees
fracture = splintery to uneven
mohs = 4.5 to 5.0
luster = vitreous or dull to pearly on cleavage surfaces
refractive = nα = 1.616 - 1.640 nβ = 1.628 - 1.650 nγ = 1.631 - 1.653
opticalprop = Biaxial (-)
birefringence = δ = 0.015 max
pleochroism =
streak = White
gravity = 2.86 - 3.09
melt = 1540 °C
fusibility =
diagnostic =
solubility = soluble in HCl, insoluble in water
diaphaneity = Transparent to translucent
other =
references = [http://www.mindat.org/min-4323.html Mindat] [http://webmineral.com/data/Wollastonite-1A.shtml Webmineral] [http://mineral.galleries.com/minerals/silicate/wollasto/wollasto.htm Mineral galleries]

Wollastonite is a calcium inosilicate mineral (CaSiO3) that may contain small amounts of iron, magnesium, and manganese substituting for calcium. It is usually white. It forms when impure limestone or dolostone is subjected to high temperature and pressure sometimes in the presence of silica-bearing fluids as in skarns or contact metamorphic rocks. Associated minerals include garnets, vesuvianite, diopside, tremolite, epidote, plagioclase feldspar, Pyroxene and calcite. It is named after the English chemist and mineralogist William Hyde Wollaston (1766-1828).

Some of the properties that make wollastonite so useful are its high brightness and whiteness, low moisture and oil absorption, and low volatile content. Wollastonite is used primarily in ceramics, friction products (brakes and clutches), metalmaking, paint filler, and plastics.

Despite its chemical similarity to the compositional spectrum of the pyroxene group of minerals - where magnesium and iron substitution for calcium ends with diopside and hedenbergite respectively - it is structurally very different, with a third SiO4 tetrahedron [Deer, Howie & Zussman (1966) "An Introduction to the Rock Forming Minerals", Longman 528pp + xii, ISBN 0-582-44210-9] in the linked chain (as opposed to two in the pyroxenes).

Production trends

In 2005, China was the top producer of wollastonite with at least 50% world share followed by India and the USA, reports the British Geological Survey.

In the United States, wollastonite is mined in Willsboro, New York and Gouverneur, New York. Deposits have also been mined commercially in North Western Mexico.

Uses

Wollastonite has industrial importance worldwide. It is used in many industries, mostly by tile factories which have incorporated it into the manufacturing of ceramic to improve many aspects, and this is due to its fluxing properties, freedom from volatile constituents, whiteness, and acicular particle shape.Deer, Howie and Zussman. Rock Forming Minerals; Single Chain Silicates, Vol. 2A, Second Edition, London, The geological society, 1997.] > It also can be used in paint, paper, and vinyl tile manufacture. In some industries, it is used in different percentages of impurities such as its use as, a fabricator of mineral wool insulation, or as an ornamental building material.Andrews, R. W. Wollastonite. London, Her majesty's stationary office, 1970.]

Composition

There are two main constituents that form the mineral wollastonite: CaO and SiO2. In a pure CaSiO3, each component forms nearly half of the mineral by weight percentage. The CaO has a weight percentage of 48.3 %, and the SiO2 has a weight percentage of 51.7%. In some cases, small amounts of iron (Fe), and manganese (Mn), and lesser amounts of magnesium (Mg) substitute for Calcium (Ca) in the mineral molecules. Wollastonite can form a series of solid solutions in the system CaSiO3-FeSiO3, or hydrothermal synthesis of phases in the system MnSiO3-CaSiO3.

Geologic Occurrence

Wollastonite usually occurs as a common constituent of a thermally metamorphosed impure limestone, it also could occur when the silicon is due to metamorphism in contact altered calcareous sediments, or to contamination in the invading igneous rock. In most of these occurrences it is the result of the reaction: CaCO3+SiO2=>CaSiO3+CO2. Wollastonite could also develop in a diffusion reaction skarn, it develops when limestone within a sandstone is metamorphosed by a dyke, which results in the formation of wollastonite in the sandstone as a result of outward migration of Ca.

tructure

Wollastonite crystallizes triclinically in space group Par1 with the lattice constants "a" = 7.94 Å, "b" = 7.32 Å, c = 7.07 Å; "α" = 90,03°,"β" = 95,37°,"γ" = 103,43° and six formula units per unit cell. [M. J. Buerger, C. T. Prewitt (1961): "The crystal structures of wollastonite and pectolite". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A., 47, 1884–1888.] Wollastonite was once classed structurally among the pyroxene group, because both of these groups have a ratio of Si:O = 1:3. In 1931, Warren and Biscoe showed that the crystal structure of wollastonite differs from minerals of the pyroxene group, and they classified this mineral within a group known as the pyroxenoids. It has been shown that the pyroxenoid chains are more kinked than those of pyroxene group, and exhibit longer repeat distance. The structure of wollastonite contains infinite chains of [SiO4] tetrahedra sharing common vertices, running parallel to the "b"-axis. The chain motif in wollastonite repeats after three tetrahedra, whereas in pyroxenes only two are needed. The repeat distance in the wollastonite chains is 7.32 Å and equals the length of the crystallographic "b"-axis.

Physical & Optical Properties

Wollastonite occurs as bladed crystal masses, single crystals can show an acicular particle shape and usually it exhibits a white color, but sometimes cream, grey or very pale green. The streak of wollastonite is white, and its hardness on mohs' scale ranges between 4.5-5. Its specific gravity ranges between 2.87-3.09. There are more than one cleavage planes for it, there is a perfect cleavage on {100}, good cleavages on {001}, and {¯102}, and an imperfect cleavage on {101}. It is common for wollastonite to have a twin axis [010] , a composition plane (100), and rarely to have a twin axis [001] . The luster is usually vitreous to pearly. The melting point of wollastonite is about 1,540˚C.

ee also

* List of minerals
* List of minerals named after people

References

External links

* [http://physchem.ox.ac.uk/MSDS/WO/wollastonite.html Oxford University MSDS sheet]


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