talc powder

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Talcum powder
 
The structure of talc is composed of Si2O5 sheets with magnesium sandwiched between sheets in octahedral sites.
  • Talc is used in many industries, including paper making, plastic, paint and coatings, rubber, food, electric cable, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and ceramics. A coarse grayish-green high-talc rock is soapstone or steatite, used for stoves, sinks, electrical switchboards, crayons, soap, etc. It is often used for surfaces of laboratory table tops and electrical switchboards because of its resistance to heat, electricity and acids. Talc finds use as a cosmetic (talcum powder), as a lubricant, and as a filler in paper manufacture. It is used to coat the insides of inner tubesand rubber gloves during manufacture to keep the surfaces from sticking. Talc, with heavy refinement, has been used in baby powder, an astringent powder used to prevent diaper rash. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents not use baby powder because it poses a risk of respiratory problems, including breathing trouble and serious lung damage if the baby inhales it. The small size of the particles makes it difficult to keep them out of the air while applying the powder. Zinc oxide-based ointments are a much safer alternative.
  • It is also often used in basketball to keep a player's hands dry. Most tailor's chalk, or French chalk, is talc, as is the chalk often used for welding or metalworking.
  • Talc is also used as food additive or in pharmaceutical products as a glidant. In medicine, talc is used as a pleurodesis agent to prevent recurrent pleural effusion or pneumothorax. In the European Union, the additive number is E553b.
  • Due to its low shear strength, talc is one of the oldest known solid lubricants. Also a limited use of talc as friction-reducing additive in lubricating oils is made.
  • Talc is widely used in the ceramics industry in both bodies and glazes. In low-fire art-ware bodies, it imparts whiteness and increases thermal expansion to resist crazing. In stonewares, small percentages of talc are used to flux the body and therefore improve strength and vitrification. It is a source of MgO flux in high-temperature glazes (to control melting temperature). It is also employed as a matting agent in earthenware glazes and can be used to produce magnesia mattes at high temperatures.

ISO standard for quality (ISO 3262)

TypeTalc content min. wt%Loss on ignition at 1000 °C, wt %Solubility in HCl, max. wt %
A 95 4 – 6.5 5
B 90 4–9 10
C 70 4–18 30
D 50 4–27 30
  • Patents are pending on the use of magnesium silicate as a cement substitute. Its production requirements are less energy-intensive than ordinary Portland cement (at a heating requirement of around 650 °C for talc compared to 1500 °C for limestone to produce Portland cement), while it absorbs far more carbon dioxide as it hardens. This results in a negative carbon footprint overall, as the cement substitute removes 0.6 tonnes of CO2 per tonne used. This contrasts with a positive carbon footprint of 0.4 tonne per tonne of conventional cement.
  • Talc is used in the production of the materials that are widely used in the building interiors such as base content paints in wall coatings. Other areas that use talc to a great extent are organic agriculture, food industry, cosmetics, and hygiene products such as baby powder and detergent powder.
  • Talc is sometimes used as an adulterant to illegal heroin, to expand volume and weight and thereby increase its street value. With intravenous use, it may lead to pulmonary talcosis, a granulomatous inflammation in the lungs.