TALC is more common than you think!

August 16, 2020

We all are familiar with the word TALC or TALCum Powder - a component used in many daily products, like cosmetics or makeup, soaps, paints & inks, in the foods we eat, rice and olive oil, paper for printing & writing and our household fixtures are also made up of TALC. However, most of us might not be aware of the fact that TALC is a mineral that emanates from different ores which can be blue, pale green, gray, pink, white, yellowish, or brownish-white to almost silver.

Wondering, how it turns into a pure white powder form?  Well! It's nothing but the crushing of TALC ore which turns into white powder commonly known as "TALCum powder."

Overview: TALC is the softest mineral on earth and has been utilized for a variety of applications. The mineral TALC is a hydrous magnesium silicate. A massive talcose rock is known as steatite, and an impure massive variety that has a soap-like texture is called soapstone.

Naturally, TALC is hydrophobic (does not absorb water), thus giving some of its favorable water-resistant characteristics. TALC also has heat resistance characteristic which is worthy for plastic products and withal for ceramic fixtures.

The leading TALC producing countries having top grades of TALC are China, India, Brazil, the United States, South Korea, France, Japan, and Finland. Numerous other countries are minor producers of TALC with low quality.

Application: As we said, TALC is used in a wide variety of products that we see every day. It is an important ingredient as a filler and whitener in paint, inks & coating, a filler, pitch control agent and brightening agent in high-quality papers, a primary ingredient in many types of cosmetics, a filler, and extender in plastic and many other products. Let's learn about applications of TALC in each industry:

Plastics: TALC imparts a variety of benefits to polypropylene, for instance, higher stiffness, heat resistance, and improved dimensional stability. In automotive components like an under-the-hood, dashboard, bumper interiors and exterior trim, household appliances, and white goods. In polypropylene food packaging applications, TALC is a highly effective reinforcing filler.

  • Paper Making: Majorly papers are produced from the pulp of organic fiber such as from woods, rags, or other fibers. In papermaking, TALC is used in both uncoated and coated rotogravure papers where it improves the opacity, brightness, and whiteness of the paper. Talc can also enhance the paper's ability to absorb ink which improves printability and also reduce ink scuff in offset papers.

  • Paint, Inks, and Coatings: In the interior and exterior decorative paints, they act as extender pigments to improve viscosity and gloss adjustment. TALC's platy shape makes the paint easier to apply and improve the suspension of solids in the can and helps the liquid paint adhere to a wall without sagging, also enhances cracking resistance and matting. TALC also brings benefits to inks, jointing compounds, putties, and adhesives.

Ceramic: TALC is used as filler in ceramic such as bathroom fixtures, ceramic tiles, pottery, sanitary ware, and dinner ware. When used as a filler in ceramics, talc can improve the firing characteristics of the green ware and therefore the strength of the finished product.

Personal Care (Cosmetic & Soap): Talc's softness allows it to be applied and removed without causing skin scraping, due to which TALC has been valued for many years as a body powder. Today it also plays an important role in many cosmetic products, providing the silkiness in blushes, powder compacts and eye shadows, foundations and the luster of beauty creams. Soap manufacturers also use TALC to enhance skincare performance.

Rubber: TALC reduces the viscosity of rubber compounds, thereby facilitating the processing of molded parts. In sealants and gaskets, they provide good compression resistance, while in pharmaceutical stoppers, they create a barrier against liquids. In cables, TALC functions as insulators and in tire manufacture, it makes excellent processing aids.

Agriculture and Food: TALC is an effective anti-caking agent, dispersing agent and die lubricant and hence helps animal feed and fertilizer plants to function more efficiently. TALC also is used as an anti-stick coating agent in many popular foods including chewing gum, boiled sweets, cured meats, and rice polishing. In olive oil production, as a processing aid, it increases yield and improves the clarity of the oil.

Now you must agree with me that TALC is common, I would say one of the major elements across all the industries. Nevertheless, TALC in these industries plays its characteristics which help to manufacturer the end products. With these different properties and characteristic comes with different grade of TALC like whiteness, fineness, oil absorption, retention ratio and other. TALC grade is also depending upon the formulation used by a manufacturer in the industry. It has a wide range of grades and most comes for paint and soap is TALC 400mesh with whiteness more than 90%, of course, it includes other parameters but this would assistance to identify the industry segment.

Industry Trend: Nowadays, progressions in technologies used in automobiles has increased demand for lightweight automobile component have led manufacturers of vehicles to replace metal components in automobiles with plastic and composite parts. These lightweight plastic parts are made from talc- reinforced polypropylene, which enhances their performance and durability.

However, TALC not having the same demand across all industries. Like in the pulp & paper industry has been growing at a slow pace across the globe due to digitization, which has reduced the demand for graphic papers.

The potential applications of talc are virtually infinite, and continuous R&D activities in the talc industry are expected to help in discovering new applications. Hence, there is high scope for the development of innovative grades of talc for use in all major industries.


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