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Topic – Minerals in Your Home

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Minerals in Your Home

Many building materials are made from minerals. Take a look at some common examples.

Bricks and Ceramic Tiles

Clay minerals are used to make bricks and tiles. Wet clay is easy to shape. Once it has been baked, it is very strong. Clay is also a good insulator. Clay helps to keep out the cold in winter and the heat in summer.

Mortar

Bricklayers spread mortar between bricks. Mortar holds the bricks together. Mortar contains clay minerals and other minerals such as gypsum. Mortar is sticky when wet and sticks to the bricks. When mortar dries, it adds strength to brick walls. Mortar also helps keep out water.

Drywall

Drywall is large panels used to build walls inside homes. Another name for drywall is gypsum board. The mineral gypsum is the main ingredient in drywall.

To make drywall, water and gypsum are mixed into paste. The paste is sandwiched between two long sheets of paper. After the paste hardens, the drywall is baked to make it even stronger. Then the drywall is cut into panels. Gypsum will not catch fire easily. Drywall adds strength and safety to a building.

Electrical Wiring

The mineral copper is used to make electrical wiring. Electricity flows easily through copper. Copper wire bends without breaking.

In the past, water pipes in homes were usually made of copper. But copper is now much too expensive to use for pipes. Plumbing in newer homes is made from less expensive materials.

Kitchen and Bathroom Taps

Your kitchen and bathroom taps are probably a silver colour. They are coated with a metal called chromium, which is often called chrome. Chromium comes from the mineral chromite. Chromium does not rust easily, so it is a good material to use in wet places.


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