Mica is a group of sheet silicate (phyllosilicate) minerals that includes several closely related materials having nearly perfect basal cleavage. The word mica is derived from the Latin word mica, meaning a crumb, and probably influenced by micare, to glitter.
Mica is widely distributed and occurs in igneous, metamorphic and s.edimentary regimes. Large crystals of mica used for various applications are typically mined from granitic pegmatites.
The mica group represents 37 phyllosilicate minerals that have a layered or platy texture. The commercially important micas are muscovite and phlogopite, which are used in a variety of applications. The crystalline structure of mica forms layers that can be split or delaminated into thin sheets usually causing foliation in rocks. These sheets are chemically inert, dielectric, elastic, flexible, hydrophilic, insulating, lightweight, platy, reflective, refractive, resilient, and range in opacity from transparent to opaque.
Wet-ground mica, which retains the brilliance of its cleavage faces, is used primarily in pearlescent paints by the automotive industry. Many metallic-looking pigments are composed of a substrate of mica coated with another mineral, usually titanium dioxide (TiO2). The resultant pigment produces a reflective color depending on the thickness of the coating. These products are used to produce automobile paint, shimmery plastic containers, high-quality inks used in advertising and security applications. In the cosmetics industry, its reflective and refractive properties make mica an important ingredient in blushes, eye liner, eye shadow, foundation, hair and body glitter, lipstick, lip gloss, mascara, moisturizing lotions, and nail polish.
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For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.