Earth Sciences
Ceramics and Pottery

What exactly is clay?

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2009-05-25 23:35:56

Clay is a term used to describe a group of hydrous aluminum

phyllosilicate (phyllosilicates being a subgroup of silicate

minerals) minerals , that are typically less than 2 μm

(micrometres) in diameter. Clay consists of a variety of

phyllosilicate minerals rich in silicon and aluminum oxides and

hydroxides which include variable amounts of structural water.

Clays are generally formed by the chemical weathering of

silicate-bearing rocks by carbonic acid but some are formed by

hydrothermal activity. Clays are distinguished from other small

particles present in soils such as silt by their small size, flake

or layered shape, affinity for water and tendency toward high


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