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Ball Clay

What is Ball Clay?

Ball clay

Ball clay, or ‘plastic clay’ is an extremely rare mineral, only found at a handful of locations around the world.  It is a kaolinitic clay that commonly consists of 20–80% kaolinite, 10–25% mica, 6–65% quartz as well as organic matter.

Geology

Ball clay is formed from the weathering and transportation by water of parent rocks that have been mixed through river action with other clays, sands, gravel and vegetation. Seams in the same deposit will vary in composition, depending on the quantity of the principal and accessory minerals.

Physical properties

  • High plasticity

  • Excellent workability

  • High unfired strength

  • Rheological stability

  • Controlled residue

  • Refractoriness

  • Ceramics
  • Ceramics

    • Combined with kaolin,  ball clays provide the cohesion and workability necessary for the creation of ceramic parts such as sanitaryware
    • Used with kaolin, feldspar and quartz in tableware and whiteware, ball clay confers high plasticity and a good white-fired color to the end product. 
    • In wall and floor tiles, ball clays are prized for their plasticity and bonding properties. 
    • In glazes and engobes they ensure a perfect finish. 
    • Electrical porcelain insulators contain plastic clays to provide insulation from high voltage currents.
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