Heinrich, E. William Formerly, Department of Geology and Mineralogy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
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A rare pegmatitic mineral with composition LiAlSi4O10. Its economic significance is markedly disproportionate to the number of its occurrences. It is the only basic raw material suitable for production of a group of materials known as crystallized glass ceramics (melt-formed ceramics). These extremely fine-grained substances, formed by controlled nucleation and crystal growth, are based on a keatite-type structure (stuffed silica derivative). Among the desirable properties of such submicroscopic aggregates are their exceedingly low thermal expansion and high strength, making them suitable for use in cooking utensils and telescopic mirror blanks.
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