Talc, also known as Talcum, is mainly comprised of hydrated magnesium silicate. Due to its platy structure, it is the softest material present across the globe which drives its popularity in the talcum powder industry. It is chemically inert, and thus neither explosive nor flammable.
Talc is obtained from an open pit mine where it involves drilling, blasting and partial crushing of the talc rock. Through a process of selective mining and sorting, highest grade ores are obtained. The partially crushed rocks undergo further processing to be reduced into finely crushed talc before removal of impurities are carried out by froth flotation or mechanical processing. During mining, great caution is taken to curb the risk of contamination of talc with other rock materials as it can lead to undesirable color and texture.
Talc powder acts as a carrier and filler to reduce the cost of detergents. It is also used in soap, occupying 5 to 40% of its composition by a binding agent to give the desired hardness. Talc is commonly used in detergents and personal care products as it is inert and harmless to skin.
It is used to stiffen thermoplastics, mainly polypropylene but also polyethylene and polyamide (nylon). Main applications used automotive parts, household appliances, and engineering plastics.
In the paint industry, talc is the most widely used extender mineral. We use it in exterior and interior architectural paints, semi-transparent and opaque wood stains. Talc increases smoothness, stability, improves coverage properties and fluidity of paint.
In the paper industry, talc plays an important role in three stages of papermaking: as a filler, to control pitch and stickles and in paper coating. Since some micro impurities will bring negative effect during the papermaking process, talc is used to absorb these micro impurities because it is hydrophobic. Besides that, high brightness of talc can substitute the usage of expensive whitening agents and helps to control gloss of the coat. Paper receives smoothness, yellow index, porosity, and opacity with the help of talc.
Talc is used as body talc and as filler in some cosmetic products such as soap, toothpaste, and detergents. Talc brings texture, stability, water resistance and skin adhesion to cosmetics. Owing to its chemical inertness lamellar structure, it is used as a perfume carrier in body talc.