Kaolin is a soft white mineral which has a large array of uses. It is most commonly found in the form of kaolin clay, a fine clay which was originally produced in China, which is why this clay is sometimes referred to as “China clay.” Among the many uses for this mineral are the paper industry, medications, skincare products, porcelain, and cosmetics. Sources of this mineral can be found all over the world, including the United States, China, Brazil, Australia, and parts of Eastern Europe.
The name comes from the Chinese “Gaoling,” a reference to a mountain which provided a source of the raw mineral. The Chinese used this mineral to produce their famously fine porcelain, and when European explorers were introduced to Chinese ceramics, many of them remarked on the delicate quality of Chinese ceramic work. This was made by possible by kaolin, a material that Europeans were not familiar with, and European ceramicists spent centuries trying to replicate the techniques used in China to produce porcelain.
Kaolin is one of main materials that calcine in rotary kiln or grinding in ball mills.