Q:

What household items contain minerals?

A:

Quick Answer

Camera film, talcum powder, fertilizer and pencil lead are examples of household items containing minerals. Most solid, inorganic substances around the home are either made from minerals or extracted from minerals.

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Full Answer

Wall clocks contain the minerals pentlandite and quartz, used in the spring and the time-keeping element of the clock, respectively. Safety matches contain sulfur and stibnite. Kitchen stoves contain the minerals hematite, chromite, galena, copper and cinnabar. Paper is often made with clays containing mica, talc and barite to roughen the surface, and is colored white using pigments made from rulite and ilmenite.

Pencils are often mistakenly thought to contain lead, but, in fact, contain the mineral graphite. Graphite is a soft and malleable allotrope of carbon, so it is mixed with clay to harden it and give it form. The larger the ratio of graphite to clay, the darker and softer the lines of the pencil become. Flowerpots are made from clay minerals that are shaped while wet and fired in a kiln.

For a compound to qualify as a mineral, it must be naturally occurring and have a fixed chemical formula. There are over 4,900 known types of mineral, as of 2015, 4,660 of these being officially approved by the International Mineralogical Association.

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