Meaning of Minerals

What are Minerals:

minerals are natural substances of inorganic originusually solid, that have a defined chemical composition, a homogeneous crystalline structure, and mostly flat surfaces.

Minerals arise from the union of simple chemical elements, such as gold, or from the combination of several elements, such as quartz, which is composed of silicon and oxygen. For this reason they can have different physical and chemical properties.

Their physical and chemical properties are variable based on the geological environment in which the minerals are formed, however, the main elements that compose them are: oxygen, aluminum, iron, silicon, magnesium, sodium, potassium and calcium.

Minerals are formed when a series of chemical elements that make up a molten rock, gases or some hot solution are cooled or evaporated, so these elements are rearranged or changed and crystals are formed. The minerals have a unique chemical structure.

These crystals can be affected by the pressure and temperature of a certain place, so the same mineral can present different appearances depending on the place where it is formed.

Minerals are formed naturally and not as a result of human activity.

There are more than 5,000 types of registered minerals and a large number of these can be found on the Earth’s surface in abundant quantities, which is why they are extracted and used for different purposes.

Physical properties of minerals

minerals

The properties of minerals are variable from their chemical structure and physical properties.

  • Brightness: It is the ability of minerals to reflect light. Adamantine, vitreous and earthy glitters, among others, can be distinguished.
  • Luminescence: Some minerals have the property of emitting light and this depends on their chemical composition.
  • Color: There are minerals of different colors. Minerals can be classified as idiochromatic (minerals of the same color, such as malachite), and allochromatic (their coloration is due to impurities, generally metals).
  • Stripe Color: It is the color of the powdered mineral, which may or may not be the same as the body.
  • Exfoliation: the atomic arrangement of minerals is what provides a flat surface for minerals. However, if there is a weakness in the surface structure it can still break on flat surfaces.
  • Fracture: refers to the appearance of a material after it has been broken, and that can be chipped, irregular, earthy, among others.
  • Tenacity: It is the resistance offered by the mineral to break or deform. Minerals can be brittle, ductile, elastic, flexible, or malleable.
  • Conductivity: refers to the ability of some minerals to conduct electrical current.
  • Magnetic properties: Some minerals have the ability to attract other materials.
  • Hardness: It is the resistance that the surface of a mineral opposes when scratched by another material, generally sharp.
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types of minerals

Minerals are classified as follows according to their chemical composition:

  • Silicates (the most abundant on Earth).
  • sulphides.
  • native elements.
  • halides or halides.
  • oxide and hydroxides.
  • nitrates and carbonates.
  • Borates.
  • Phosphates, arsenates and vanadates.
  • Organic compounds.

Uses of minerals

Minerals are widely used in different areas for the production of a large number of products such as medicines, paints, cosmetics, glass, jewelry, among others.

There are even minerals that can be used or consumed just as they are extracted from nature without going through an industrialized process, for example, salt or gypsum.

For its part, aluminum or iron are minerals that can only be used after undergoing a series of processes that allow their use.

See also Mining.

minerals and nutrition

Minerals are also essential for the well-being and health of people. Minerals, along with vitamins and proteins, are elements necessary for the proper functioning of our body and metabolic balance, for example, calcium, zinc, potassium or iron.

Minerals can be classified into macrominerals, microminerals and trace elements.

Currently there are many people who choose to consume more mineral foods because they are related to their purity and naturalness because they contain fewer chemical components that can negatively affect our body.

See also Nutrition.