Most minerals have the right to be characterized and classified by their distinct physical properties: hardness, luster, color, streak, details gravity, cleavage, fracture, and also tenacity.

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Hardness

The capability to resist being scratched—or hardness—is among the most helpful properties for identifying minerals. Hardness is determined by the capability of one mineral to scrape another. Federick Mohs, a German mineralogist, created a hardness range (table 5) making use of a collection of ten conventional minerals. The range arranges the mineral in bespeak of increasing hardness. Every higher-numbered (harder) mineral will scratch any type of mineral v a reduced number (softer).

A turbulent measure that mineral hardness can be do by assembling a kit of handy objects (table 6). A fingernail has a hardness ranging from 2 come 2.5, a coin is a small harder 보다 3, window glass varieties from 5.5 to about 6 in hardness, and a knife tongue is usually in the selection of 5 to 6.5.

HardnessMineralCommon field test
1TalcEasily scratched with a fingernail
2GypsumScratched through a fingernail (2.5)
3CalciteScratched by a coin (3)
4FluoriteDifficult to scratch by a pond (4); scratched easily by a knife (5)
5ApatiteDifficult to scrape with a knife (>5); barely scratches glass (5.5)
6FeldsparScratched by a steel paper (6.5); quickly scratches glass
7QuartzScratches a steel record and glass
8TopazDifficult to test in the field
9CorundumDifficult to test in the field
10DiamondDifficult to test in the field

Creating a Mineral Hardness test Kit

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A mineral hardness check kit deserve to be easily developed from usual household or hardware items (table 6). Parents should assist children do the kit. Wear safety glasses and also gloves when cutting class. All pieces in the hardness check kit must be contrasted to one one more and certain minerals with a known hardness.

Approximate HardnessItem
1Blackboard Chalk
2.5Fingernail
3Copper penny
4Common nail
5.5-6.5Pocket knife
5.5Window glass (2 inches square; usage caution making this scrape plate. Tape the edges of the glass with duct tape. You may have the ability to get this reduced at a neighborhood hardware store.)
6.5Steel record or tempered steel. Shot to find an old, damaged or worn level file

Luster

Luster is just how a mineral shows light. The terms metallic and nonmetallic define the an easy types of luster. Table 7 list the most common terms used to explain luster and an example of a corresponding mineral. Some minerals the don"t exhibition luster are referred to as "earthy," "chalky," or "dull."

Color

One that the most apparent properties that a mineral is color. Shade should be considered when identify a mineral, but should never ever be provided as the significant identifying characteristic.

Streak

Streak is the shade of the powdered mineral, i m sorry is usually an ext useful because that identification 보다 the color of the whole mineral sample. Rubbing the mineral top top a streak plate will develop a streak. A streak plate have the right to be make from the unglazed back side the a white porcelain restroom or kitchen tile. Part minerals won"t streak since they space harder than the streak plate.

Specific Gravity

Specific heaviness is the ratio in between the massive (weight) of a mineral and also the massive (weight) the an same volume of water. A mineral"s details gravity (SG) can be determined by separating its weight in waiting by the weight of an equal volume the water. For instance, quartz through a thickness of 2.65 is 2.65 time as heavy as the exact same volume of water.


Cleavage

The method in i m sorry a mineral breaks follow me smooth level planes is dubbed cleavage. This breaks occur along planes of weak in the mineral"s structure. However, if a mineral breaks along an irregular surface, it does not have actually cleavage.

Fracture

When a mineral breaks irregularly, the division are called fractures. The breaks deserve to be described as grainy, hackly (jagged), conchoidal (curved), or splintery.

Tenacity

How fine a mineral resists breakage is well-known as tenacity. Tenacity is described using these terms:

Brittle - Mineral crushes come angular pieces (quartz).Malleable - Mineral deserve to be amendment in shape without breaking and can be planarization to a thin sheet (copper, gold).Sectile - Mineral can be reduced with a knife into thin shavings (talc).Flexible - Mineral bends but doesn"t reclaim its shape once released (selenite, gypsum).Elastic - Mineral bends and regains its initial shape once released (muscovite and biotite mica).

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Other Diagnostic Characteristics

Other characteristics may be advantageous in identifying part minerals:

Transparency - Objects room visible once viewed through a mineral.Translucency - Light, but not an image, is sent through a mineral.Opaqueness - No irradiate istransfer , even on the thinnest edges.Taste - Taste can be used to assist identify some minerals, such as halite (salt).Acid reaction - object reacts to hydrochloric acid. The most differentiating characteristic of calcite is the it effervesces when hydrochloric mountain is applied. Dolomite mirrors a reaction on a freshly broken or powdered surface. Trial and error for calcite, limestone, or dolomite calls because that 10% hydrochloric acid, but solid white vinegar deserve to be substituted because that the acid.Magnetism - Magnetism is a differentiating characteristic of magnetite.Crystal shape - Cubic, rhombohedral (tilted cube), hexagonal (six-sided), etc. Part crystal forms are illustrated below.

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