A mineral for Australia day – Brucite

What does it look like?

Video by jrrustad on You Tube.

What is it?

It’s Australia day! So while we here are enjoying our BBQ’s on the beach we can introduce you to a mineral called Bruce – Brucite! Apart from the name, it’s not a particularly Australian mineral, the largest deposits of this mineral are found in China and Russia.  Brucite is a layered structure of magnesium hydroxide.  The magnesium atoms in the video are yellow, and are surrounded by six oxygen atoms (which are red).   Each of these oxygen atoms has one hydrogen atom (pink) attached to it, which makes the overall formula of the structure Mg(OH)2. Brucite is used in a number of industries, but most notably it is often used as a fire retardant.  This is because when it is heated it breaks down and releases water.

Where did the structure come from?

This crystal structure of brucite was first determined by G Aminoff in 1921, it can be found in the American mineralogical database.

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