A crystal for after a shower – Talc

What does it look like?

The layers in talc - Attribution: NIMSoffice at en.wikipedia

The layers in talc – Attribution: NIMSoffice at en.wikipedia

What is it?

Most of the reasons that we puff ourselves with talc after our showers are a result of its crystal structure.  Produced by metamorphic processes, talc is made up of magnesium silicate layers that stack up on each other.  It feels silky and soft because of the layering in the structure.  The weak bonds between the layers able the material to move softly over our skin.  Then it also sucks up water because the interfaces of those layers are looking to suck up water where they can.

Where did the structure come from?

Though there was much earlier work on talc, and other similar layered silicates, however this paper by Rayner and Brown from 1972 reviewed these described a number of other structural details.

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