What Is the Softest Material on the Hardness Scale?


Quick Answer

The softest material on the hardness scale is talc, which registers a rating of 1. The hardness scale, known as Mohs hardness scale, was devised and named after the German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs.

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Full Answer

One of the defining characteristics of minerals is hardness. This property pertains to the ability of a mineral to scratch another material. All minerals are compared with respect to the 10 standard minerals used by Mohs. In a scale from 1 to 10, the minerals include talc, gypsum, calcite, fluorite, apatite, orthoclase, quartz, topaz, corundum and diamond. Talc, which is primarily composed of magnesium silicate, can easily be scraped using a copper penny or fingernail. Diamond, meanwhile, is the hardest known substance that exists in nature.

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