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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
  • Rubber
  • 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.
  • Rubber

    Kaolinitic clay (Ball Clay) is the most cost-effective functional filler option for rubber compounds when color sensitivity is not an issue. Kaolinitic clay is a secondary mineral that is available with technical properties similar to both hard and soft kaolin. As a result, kaolinitic clay imparts similar physical properties in elastomeric compounds.

For more information, please visit Imerys Ceramics.