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Hardnesa 2 can scratched with the finger nail; 3, can be cut by knife; 4,are
scartched rather easily; 5 are scartched by with some diffculity; those or hardness
6 and over are not scartched minerals, or of hardness points (which are conicalshaped pieces of the standart minerals set in brasss rods) is useful for testing the
harder minerals.
Considered in relationship to crystal structure. Hardness is the resistance of the
structure to mechanical deformation. The following correlation have been found
between hardness and crystal structure. Hardness is greater : (1) the smaller the
atoms or ions; (2) the greater their valency or charge; (3) the greater the density.
The effect of ionic size can be most clearly seen in an isomorphous group, where
the structure is the same in all species . thus the calcite group cmprises carbonates
divalent metal ranging and ionic size from Ca(0.99) to Mg (0.66 ); hardnes
increases with decreasing ionic size, from 3 for calcite 4 2

for magnesite.

Another good example is furnished by marked contrast between hematite,

Fe203(h=6), and corundum, Al2O2(h=9)
The effect of valency or charge can be most clearly seen by comparing
compounds with the same structure, and the ionic siz, thus soda niter (HaNO3)
and calcite have the same structure, and ionic size of Ca and Na are very similar;
the hardnes o soda niter is to and that of calcite is 3. A greater difference exitsts
between the isomophous mineral niter KNO3 (h=2) and aragonite (h=4), because
here there is not only defference in charge between pottasium and calcium but
also a considerable difference in ionic radius (K =1.33 , Ca2=0.99 ).
The effect of density of packing is well seen in the relationship between density
and hardness of different polymorphs. Example are calcite (G=2,71, h=3) and

aragonite (G=2.93, h=4) quartz (G=2.65, H=7) and tridymite (G=2.26, h= 6 2 ).
The same correlation between hardness and density exists between hardness and
packing index, the greater the packing index the greater the hardness. Thus a
packing index greater than 6 generally means a hardness 7 or more.
Sience the bonding of a crystal structure is usually different in different diretion,
the hardness of a mineral may be expected to very somewhat crystallographic
direction. Even in substances crystallizing in isometric system the strenght of
bonding ans hence the hardness of a mineral may not be the same in all direction.
Such variation in generally quite small, although occasionally it may be
considerable. Thus one the {100} cleavage surface of kyanite the hardness is 4

in the direction of the a axis and 6 2

in the direction the b axis. A

property of diamond that is of great practical importance is the superior hardness

of the {111} surface. The{111} surface in diamond crystal is the hardest surface
know to man, and this characteristic coupled with the {100} cleavage

Magnetic properties
Only a few minerals are ferromagnetic, that is, strongly attracted by a
simple bar or horseshoe magnet of these the commonest are
magnetite Fe3O4, pyrhotite Fe1-nS, and a polymorph of Fe 2O3,
maghemite. Sometimes specimens of magnetite and maghemite are
themselves natural magnets and will atract iron filing and when
suspended will orient themselves with the long axis of the specimen
pointing magnetic north and south ; such spesimen are called
lodestone, and they were used in the earliest forms of compasses.

All mineral are, however, affected by magnetik field, although spesical

equipment may be diamagnetic, those which are slghtly attracted are
said to be paramagnetic. Ferromagnetic substances form a subgroup of
paramagnetic substances. All iron-bearing minerals are
paramagnetic,but also iron-free minerals, such as berly, can be
Magnetic separations, which use an electromagnet to produce a high
intensity magnetic field, have considerable application, both in the
research laboratory in ore dressing plants, for the separation of pure
concentrates from mixtures of minerals. Sensitive instruments can not
only separate paramagnetic minerals from diamagnetic minerals but
also separate two paramagnetic minerals from each other(from
example, biotite from hornblande).
The magnetic properties of minerals are utilized in geophysical
prospecting by magnetometer, an intrument allows variation in the
earths magnetic field to be measured and plotted on map. Such

magnetic surveys are valuable for locating ore bodies, in detecting

change in rock type, and in tracking formations with specific magnetic
properties. One adventage of magnetometric surveys is that they can
be rapidly and aesily carried out from an aircraft.
Electrical properties
With regard to electrical properties, minerals can be divided into two
groups, the conductors and the nonconductor, although all degrees of
conductivity exist. The conductor are those minerals with the metallic
type of bonding, and they comprise the native metals and some of the
sulphides ; they are far less numerous than the noncondutors. Eletrical
conductivity, like optical and magnetic properties, varies with
crystallographic direction in anisotropic substances; for example, the
conductivity of hematite is twice as great in directions at right angkes
to the c axis as it is in directions parallel to the c axis.
In some nonconducting minerals it is possible to induce electrical
charges by changes in temperature (pyroelectricity) or direct pressure
Pyroelectricity was first observed in gem tourmaline crystals brought
from ceylon by dutch treders, who noticed that a crystal dropped in
warm ashes attracted ash particles at one end only. Pyroelectricity can
occur in those substaces belonging to crystal classes with polar
symmetry axes. The end of the axis which becomes positively chargerd
on heating is known as the analogous pole, the opposite end the
antilogous pole.
Pyroelectricity can be demonstrated by dusting a cooling crystal with a
mixture of powdered sulphur and red lead (Pb3O4), the particles of
which have been electrified by blowing them through a silk screen (a
rubber bulb with two layers of silk stocking over the mouth makes a
simple and satisfactory dusting device). The negatively charged
sulphur will be attracted to the positively charger end of the crystal,
and the positively charged red lead to the negatively charged end.

The property of Pyroelectricity was discovered by the brothers Pierre

and Jacque Curie in 1881, when they observed that quartz crystals
subjected to properly directed pressure developed positive and
negative charges at the ends of the a axes. In the following year G.
Lippmann suggested that such chystals would become mecanically
deformed if they were subjected to an electrical field and this was
confirmed by the Curie. The effect remained a laboratory curiocity until
world war i, when experiments were made in transmitting and
detecting underwater sound waves by means of quartz plates. The
application of piezoelectricity to radio followed soon after ; here an
alternating electrical field generated by a vacuum tube radio circuit is
applied across a quartz plate, properly cut and mounted and so
dimensioned thart one of its natural frequencies of mencanical
vibration concides with the resonant frequency of the circuit, and the
frequency of transmission or reception is thereby stabilized and
precisely controlled (Fig. 4-5). Theoretically, any substance lacking a
center of symmetry is piezoelectric ; in practice, however, in many
such substances the effect is very weak, and of all materials quartz is
the most generally usable because of its chemical and phisical
stability, high elasticity, and availability. However, the last quality was
greatly strained during world war 11, when the annual production of
quartz oscillator plated in the United State increased from about
50,000 in 1939 to over 28,000,000 in 1944 ! A trenmendos search was
made for suitable quartz crystal , and much experimentation was
carried out on the growing of large quartz crystals in the laboratory .
Static electricity, produced by rubbing some nonconductors with silk of
fur, has been observed in amber for many centuries. Comparatively
few minerals

Chap 4. The physics of minerals
Show this effect.it is curious that many gamstone show this property after being
cut and polished but not in the rough state.

Surface Properties.
Minerals show marked differences in the properties of their surfaces. One
such property of great technical significance is called wettability- the relative
ease with surface can be coated with water. According to this property, minerals
can be divided into two groups: lyophile minerals are those which areeasily
wetted, and lyophobe minerals are those which are not easily wetted. Naturally
there are all degrees of wettability between extremely liyphile and extremely
lyophobe minerals. Minerals with ionic bonding are generally lyophile, those with
metallic or covalent bonding are lyophobe.

This difference in surface properties has been applied for many years in
the separation of diamonds drom accompanying heavy minerals such as garnet.
Diamond-bearing rock is crushed, and a concentrate of the diamonds and other
heavy minerals is separated by mechanical means. This concencrate is then
washed over tables coated with thick grease. The lyophile minerals such as garnet
are readily wetted and washed away, but the lyophobe diamonds are not wetted
and stick in the grease, from which they are easily recovered.
The principal application of differences in surface properties is, however,
in the ore dressing technique known as flotation. Flotation is used primarily for
the separation of sulphide minerals from gangue minerals, and individual sulphide
minerals from mixtures. In general, the sulphide minerals are lyophobe, the
gangue minerals (quartz, calcite etc.) lyophile. The finely crushed ore is mixed
with water, to which are added small amounts of oil (which is attracted to and
covers the sulphide grains and a foam-producing compound. Air is then blown
through the mixtures, and the foam that is produced carries with it the sulphide
minerals, while the gangue sinks. Variations in the type and amount of oil, the
foaming agent, and other conditions enable selective flotation, whereby a complex
ore containing several different sulphide minerals can be completely separated
into its phases. Flotations techniques are now available that enable separations
even of lyophile minerals from each other.

Radioactivity in minerals is linked with the presence of uranium and
thorium. (A fiew other elements, such as potassium and rubidium, also show weak
radio-activity that is detectable with sensitive instruments.) Uranium and thorium
atoms disintegrate spontancously at a constant rate unaffected by the temperature,
the pressure, or the nature of the compound in which they occur. Disintegration is
accompanied by three types of radiation: alpha radiation which consists of

positively charged helium nuclei (alpha-particles); beta radiation, which consists

of negatively charged electrons ; and gamma radiation, which is a from of x-rays.
Radioactivety can readily be detected by the radiation pruduced ,either by its
effect on photographic film (figure 4-6) or by means of a Geiger counter or

Figure 4-6. photograph (a) and autoradiograph (b) of uraninite in feldspar, from
pegmatite at Grafton , New Hampshire. In the photograph the uraninite is black;
in the autoradiograph it is white. (courtesy the american museum of natural
The ultimate product of the disintegration of uranium an thorium is lead, as
indicated by the following equations :

Pb 206 + 8He4


Pb 207 + 7He4


Pb 208 + 6He4

The rate of these reactions is known, and hence the age of a radioactive
mineral can be calculated if the amounts of uranium , thorium, and lead are
determined and if the mineral contained no primary lead and has not been affected
by alteration and leaching. Fresh specimens of radioactive minerals are therefore
of great scientific value for the information they can provide on geologycal age.
The development of automic energy has resulted in a world-wide search
for radioactive minerals (especially uranium minerals, since thorium is not yet
used). The ease with which these minerals can be detected by scintillometers and

Geiger counters has greatly simplified the search. One result has been the
discovery of many new uranium minerals and the thorough investigation of many
poorly known species.