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Spodumene

Formula: Li2O.Al2O3.4SiO2 or LiAl(Si2O6)

OxideAnalysisFormula
Li2O8.01%1.000
Al2O327.41%1.000
SiO264.59%3.998
Oxide Weight372.07
Formula Weight372.07
If this formula is not unified correctly please contact us.
DENS - Density (Specific Gravity) 2.60
GSPT - Frit Softening Point 1421C M

The name is from the Greek spodos, meaning burnt to ash. Spodumene is a silicate mineral often referred to as lithium feldspar. Its mineral form is characterized by hard needle-like grains of brilliant white color. It is used in ceramics as a source of lithia.

Lithia is a very powerful flux, especially when used in conjunction with potash and soda feldspars. As one of only a few natural lithium source materials, spodumene is a valuable component in glass and ceramic/enamel glazes (Li2O reduces thermal expansion, melting temperature and viscosity of the glaze melt).

Spodumene is only slightly soluble (in contrast to lithium carbonate). Because spodumene is a natural combination of silica, alumina and lithia it melts better than a chemically equivalent mixture of lithium carbonate, kaolin and silica. Since almost all raw glazes contain kaolin and silica it is normally fairly easy to juggle recipe ingredients in a ceramic chemistry calculation program to introduce spodumene to replace lithium carbonate. Spodumene can also be substituted for part of the feldspar complement in a recipe without disturbing overall chemistry too much (other than substituting Li2O for KNaO).

Some types of spodumene do contribute to the formation of bubbles in the glaze slurry. You can wash spodumene before use to alleviate this issue (mix it well in plenty of hot water, allow to settle overnight, pour off the water the next day and dry it).

Spodumene is a little more readily fusible than petalite since it is higher in lithium.


Spodumene ore: Typically refiners want 6% or more LiO2 content.

Spodumene Kunsite

Spodumene ore

Spodumene can bubble when mixed with water.

Spodumene can bubble when mixed with water.

This is what happens when some spodumenes are mixed with water. They generate foam and bubbles. This is disruptive in glazes and can be alleviated by washing the spodumene before use.

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By Tony Hansen

XML for Import into INSIGHT

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <material name="Spodumene" descrip="" searchkey="" loi="0.00" casnumber="66057-55-4"> <oxides> <oxide symbol="Li2O" name="Lithium Oxide, Lithia" status="" percent="8.010" tolerance=""/> <oxide symbol="Al2O3" name="Aluminum Oxide, Alumina" status="" percent="27.410" tolerance=""/> <oxide symbol="SiO2" name="Silicon Dioxide, Silica" status="" percent="64.590" tolerance=""/> </oxides> </material>


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