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It is of interest to note that of the some one and one-half million tons of kaolin produced annually in the United States, approximately 56% is used in the paper industry. In paper-making, kaolin is utilized as a pulp filler as well as for coating. Filling adds weight, opaqueness, and whiteness; coating gives high gloss. Some newspapers have a kaolin content of about 2%, while magazines with a relatively high gloss contain on the average of 30%. With the advent of high-speed coating equipment, the production of paper clays increased to the extent that it has nearly doubled in the past ten years.
Rubber products consume about 16% of the kaolin, with a major portion of the remainder going into such products as linoleum, paints, inks, leather, refractories, and pottery.
List of uses in "The Hensbarrow Granite District", the first detailed account of the china clay industry, written by the distinguished Cornish geologist J. F. Collins, F.G.S. in 1878:
The first use to which china clay was applied in the West of England was, as already stated, the manufacture of porcelain and this is still popularly believed to be its sole use. This is, however, by no means the case, probably not more than one-third of the clay now being produced being so used.
Large quantities are used for "bleaching", i.e filling for the spaces between the threads of calicoes and other cotton goods and also as a material for giving weight to cotton yarn; and still larger quantities are used by papermakers to give "body" to their papers, especially to printing papers.
The manufacture of alum, sulphate of alumina and ultramarine uses up large quantities annually, besides which small quantities are used by manufacturing and colour makers, photographers and others. It has also been used, not avowedly however, as a "body" in the composition of some artificial manures, the utilisation of sewage and even in the adulteration of flour.
Should the present low prices be maintained its use will no doubt be still more largely extended in directions as yet unsuspected.
Early 20th Century
J. Allen Howe's "Handbook of kaolin, china clay and china stone" was published in 1914 and listed the following uses:
China clay in ceramic manufacture, porcelain; bone china; earthenware; white tile body; graniteware; white stoneware; glazes.
Paper manufacturing (note: some 60% of output was being used by the paper industry by the early 20th Century)
Miscellaneous, paint; plaster; alum; ultramarine; whitewash; drugs; soap and face powder; wine clarification; polishing powders; lead pencils.
Mid 20th century
List of uses published in the "Technical Salesman's Handbook" issued by E.C.L.P. & Co. Ltd in 1954:
Paper and board, coating clays; fillers; brush coating clays; machine coating clays.
Ceramics (excluding refractories), bone china; hard porcelain (including tiles, tableware, sanitary and electrical porcelain); fine earthenware; earthenware (lower grade); earthenware (sanitary); porous wall tiles; electrical porcelain (England); semi-vitreous china (American); semi-vitreous porcelain (American); hotel china (American); household china (American); belleek (American); glazes (mill additions and frit additions); porcelain enamels; radiants.
Paint and distemper
Cosmetics, insecticides, dusting and medicinal
Miscellaneous, soap; cleaners; inks; fuses; pencils; grinding wheels; welding rods; boiler coverings; asbestos; dyes; accumulator cases; lubricants (extrusion).
Paper. Kaolin performs two quite separate functions in papermaking. As a filler or loading, it is incorporated within the body of the paper, both reducing its overall cost and improving its printing properties. It is also a coating pigment, enhancing the surface properties of the paper, such as brightness, smoothness and gloss, thus allowing the accurate reproduction of colour printing.
Type of paper
Printing and writing paper
Newsprint Typical kaolin content (%)
up to 10
up to 30
up to 8
Ceramics. Kaolin was originally used in the manufacture of whiteware ceramics. The amount of kaolin used for this purpose is now greatly exceeded by that used in the paper industry. The ceramic and refractories industries remain a major market, accounting for nearly one million tonnes of kaolin in Western Europe.
The major markets for English kaolins in the whiteware ceramic industry are tableware, vitreous-china sanitaryware, wall tiles (in the UK), electrical porcelain and glazes. In addition, kaolin and calcined clay are used for refractory applications.
Paint applications. Water based decorative paints: gloss; semi-gloss and silk; exterior matt - smooth and textured; interior matt; primers.
Solvent based decorative paints: gloss; semi-gloss and eggshell; matt; undercoats; primers.
Protective and OEM coatings: metal primers; furniture lacquers; domestic appliance finishes; electrophoresis coatings; coil coatings; traffic markings; printing inks.
Rubber applications. Kaolin is incorporated into both natural and synthetic rubber compounds and is the rubber industry's most widely used non-black filler with reinforcing properties:
Cable insulations; cable sheath; hose; extrusions; belting; footware; pharmaceutical; seals; general mouldings; plant lining; domestic mouldings; latex; tyres/inner tubes.
Plastics applications. Kaolin has many uses as a filler in plastics:
Speciality films; PE master batch; PE cables; PE film; pPVC cables; pPVC extrusions; pPVC plastisols; PP mouldings; polyamide mouldings; PBT/PET mouldings; unsaturated polyester; urea formaldehyde; phenol formaldehyde.
Metakaolin for the building and construction industry. A high quality pozzolanic material which is blended with Portland cement in order to improve the durability of concrete and mortars.
White cement. In the production of white cement, iron is a deleterious component which can be avoided by using kaolin, an alumino silicate with a very low iron content.
Glass fibre. The preferred raw material for introducing alumina to glass compositions for glass fibre manufacture is kaolin.
Agricultural industries. The caking or setting of granular fertilisers (prills), is a serious problem since the caked mass must be broken down into its individual particles before it can once again become a free-flowing product. Kaolin, some of which is amine-coated, acts a non-stick coating to the fertiliser prill. As colour is of no significance, cheaper grades can be used.
Other industries. Pharmaceutical applications; quality leather; textiles; inks, dyes, adhesives, crayons and pencils; toothpastes and cosmetic applications; chemicals industry.
Into the future
Some of the uses listed below are already commonplace while others are innovative and in the development stage.
Plastic film. Video and audio tapes, where clays are used as anti-blocking agents.
Laundry products. Washing powders and detergents.
Decorative concrete. Mortars and renders.
Mark-resistant polypropylene for automotive use
Thermoset mouldings for baths, shower trays, etc.
Water treatment systems
Biotechnology. Ability of lightweight high-strength ceramic materials to support micro-organisms
Gamma di caolini 'Diamond' per l’industria ceramica
ARTICOLI SANITARI Goonvean è il maggior fabbricante di caolino per l’industria britannica di articoli sanitari. Prodotti di qualità e atti allo scopo caratterizzano la vasta gamma d’argille disponibile dalla nostra azienda. Le argille bianche Goonvean per articoli sanitari sono molto popolari in tutto il mondo grazie alla costante plasticità, reologia, ed elevato tasso di colata che le contraddistinguono.
PORCELLANA I nostri caolini cornici sono usati in tutto il mondo per porcellane dure. Eccezionalmente bianchi e robusti, a basso contenuto di ferro ed alto di potassa, soddisfano le esigenze imposte dalla più moderne tecniche, come a pressatura isostatica.
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